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9780062021885 First the kiss . . . then the blood. Sara Linton, pediatrician and medical examiner in Heartsdale, Georgia, knows only too well the horrors that can hide behind closed doors in a small community. But when a Saturday night argument between teenagers at the local skating rink leads to deathâ€”and a subsequent autopsy reveals evidence of ritualistic self-mutilation and long-term abuseâ€”she realizes that true evil is closer than she imagined. Aided by her ex-husband, police chief Jeffrey Tolliver, and Detective Lena Adams, still traumatized by her brush with a maniac, Sara's investigation is frustrated at every turn by the cold silence of the family and friends of the slain girl. But the truth cannot be hidden forever, as Sara inexorably peels back the many layers of an inhuman outrage that goes far beyond mere murder. For an ominous cloud has settled over the young daughters and sons of Heartsdaleâ€”and those who would protect them must act quickly before all innocence here is devoured.