Synopses & Reviews
In this long-awaited prequel to his New York Times
bestselling series, Jefferson Bass turns the clock back to reveal the Body Farm's creation—and Dr. Bill Brockton's deadly duel with a serial killer
In the summer of 1992, Arkansas governor Bill Clinton and Tennessee senator Al Gore begin their long-shot campaign to win the White House. On a sweltering hillside in Knoxville, Dr. Bill Brockton, the bright, ambitious young head of the University of Tennessee's Anthropology Department, launches an unusual—some would call it macabre—research facility, unlike any other in existence. Brockton is determined to revolutionize the study of forensics to help law enforcement solve homicides. But the scientist's plans are derailed by a chilling murder that leaves him reeling from a sense of déjà vu. Followed by another. And then another: bodies that bear an eerie resemblance to cases from Brockton's past.
The police chalk up the first corpse to coincidence. But as the body count rises, the victims' fatal injuries grow more and more distinctive—a spiral of death that holds dark implications for Brockton himself. If the killer isn't found quickly, the death toll could be staggering. And the list of victims could include Brockton . . . and everyone he holds dear.
"The serviceable eighth Body Farm novel (after 2012's The Bones of Avignon) from the writing team of Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson is a prequel. Forensic anthropologist Bass created the world's first facility to study the decomposition of human corpses, and his fictional alter ego, Dr. William Brockton, is about to do the same in 1992 in Tennessee. Brockton, who's been frustrated by his inability to help law-enforcement pinpoint the time of death, believes that analysis of exactly how long it takes cadavers to disintegrate by using 'bugs like a time-since-death stopwatch' can do just that. Meanwhile, a sadist named Satterfield is severing the limbs of his female victims, an m.o. that matches that of a murderer Brockton pursued two years earlier in Alaska. The writing sometimes gets away from the authors ('the razor-tipped arrow penetrated his chest, and his heart opened in a bloom of crimson to receive its thrust'), and plot surprises are the exception rather than the rule, but series fans will be pleased. Agent: Giles Anderson, Anderson Literary Agency. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Jefferson Bass is the writing team of Jon Jefferson and Dr. Bill Bass. Dr. Bass, a world-renowned forensic anthropologist, is the creator of the University of Tennessee's Anthropology Research Facility, widely known as the Body Farm. He is the author or coauthor of more than two hundred scientific publications, as well as a critically acclaimed memoir about his career at the Body Farm, Death's Acre. Dr. Bass is also a dedicated teacher, honored as U.S. Professor of the Year by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. Jon Jefferson is a veteran journalist, writer, and documentary filmmaker. His writings have been published in the New York Times, Newsweek, USA Today, and Popular Science and broadcast on National Public Radio. The coauthor of Death's Acre, he is also the writer and producer of two highly rated National Geographic documentaries about the Body Farm.