A grave containing the skeleton of ten year-old Amy Linton - missing for eight years - is found in Galleyhill Wood in Essex, and then Head of Forensics, Paul Toadstone, finds more skeletons in the same grave, and more graves in the woods. A reporter, who might have kwn something about the dead children, is gruesomely murdered, and the newspaper where he worked is destroyed by fire. Parish and Richards slowly begin to collect the evidence and put the pieces of the puzzle together, but there are other players in this game. John Linton wants revenge on the person who killed his daughter and destroyed his life; Alex Knight wants to escape from an unwanted life with MI6, but to do that she must kill Parish; and a shadowy organisation will do anything to remain a secret. As the body count rises, the Chief brings in two additional detectives to help them; Richards' love life goes from bad to worse; Parish begins the search for his parents; and the detectives must mourn the death of two friends.