“Walk Softly When You Carry the Dead”

Top forensic dentist Dr. David Sweet, OC, is all too familiar with the tragic aftermaths of violent crimes and natural disasters. And, more than once, he has been forced to confront his own mortality. Yet this gifted and compassionate scientist is as positive as they come.

It’s well after midnight when a young waitress steps off the bus and walks toward her apartment. Behind her, unheard and unseen, a man emerges from the shadows. Clamping a powerful hand over her mouth, he grabs the woman and forces her at gunpoint into his car. Then he drives to a secluded area on the outskirts of town where he viciously assaults her and dumps her body in the slow‑running waters of a nearby creek. A few hours later, an early‑morning jogger spies the woman’s body submerged in shallow water near the edge of the creek.

The police find a phone and a shoe that they suspect belong to the victim, but she has been beaten beyond recognition. They need to confirm her identity so they can trace her last hours and get on the killer’s trail before it grows cold. The killer has also provided a vital clue: when attacking the woman, he bit her left shoulder so hard that the pattern of his teeth is branded in her flesh.