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by Ellison Cooper
Minotaur, July 2019
368 pages
ISBN: 1250173868

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Ellison Cooper's mystery BURIED, the second in her series featuring FBI neuroscientist Sayer Altair, opens with a terrifying jolt and continues to lead the reader through a series of suspenseful and horrifying plot twists. When off-duty FBI agent Max Cho falls into a pit in Shenandoah National Park, his accident uncovers a stash of human bones. We learn that this beautiful Virginia park is honeycombed with caves and old mines. Altair is called in, along with park rangers, and the difficult forensic task of identifying the bodies begins. It is not at first clear how many separate bodies the bones represent, nor how long they have been hidden.

After much investigation, it becomes clear that certain of the bones are decades old, while others have been placed in the cave very recently. Kyle Nelson, chief of the Rockfish Gap police, is concerned that the bones may be those of his sister, missing for many years, and the investigators try to find out what might have happened to her. Meanwhile, Altair and FBI Assistant Director Janice Holt, her boss, are being investigated by Congress. It appears that powerful people are out to get them both. To add to Altair's problems, she is becoming uncomfortably concerned about the subject of her on-going research study. She has been interviewing psychopaths to discover what makes them act as they do. Her most recent interviewee has surprised and then frightened her by revealing that he knows all about her life and history, information that no one else knows or should have access to.

As the tale unfolds, a number of characters fall under suspicion. Altair is not sure whom she can trust, as attempts are made on her life and the victims of the on-going crime seriesówomen and babiesóbecome and more imperiled as we read the gruesome descriptions of how these captives are tortured.

Ellison has constructed a plot that leaves the reader breathless, as events pile up and the perpetrator remains elusive. The real culprit is eventually revealed, and it is someone we may not have suspected, someone with a terrifying personal history.

ß Anne Corey is a writer, poet, teacher and botanical artist in New York's Hudson Valley.

Reviewed by Anne Corey, July 2019

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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