DCI Paniatowski's team are increasingly convinced that the girl found dead in the woods is the victim of a ritual killing, carried out by a secret society which has been established in the very heart of Whitebridge. Their problem is that without Paniatowski there to back them up, they find it impossible to persuade the ambitious DCI 'Rhino' Dixon that treating it as a mere domestic murder will get them nowhere. And so Meadows, Crane and Beresford find themselves out on a limb - cutting corners, ignoring procedure, and running the very real risk that their careers could be brought to an abrupt and dramatic end. Meanwhile, Monika herself knows not only who the killer is, but also that he is stalking Louisa, her beloved daughter. But as she is one of the killer's victims too, and is lying in a coma -- hearing everything, but unable to move or speak -- there is nothing she can do about it!