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In the summer of 1990, Dr. Bill Brockton--a bright, ambitious young forensic scientist--is hired by the University of Tennessee to head, and to raise the profile of, the school's small Anthropology Department. Six months later, the ink on his contract barely dry, Brockton is called to a gruesome crime scene in a rural area to identify a corpse and determine how the woman died. But the case--one of Brockton's first murder investigations in Tennessee--could also prove to be his last when he runs afoul of both the county sheriff and an angry mob intent on administering their own swift, rough brand of "justice." With his back to the wall, Brockton is forced to think fast, talk faster, and hope for a miracle.