cover image Cut to the Bone

Cut to the Bone

Ellison Cooper. Minotaur, $27.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-17389-8

In Thriller Award finalist Cooper’s exhilarating third outing for FBI agent and neuroscientist Sayer Altair (after 2019’s Buried), Sayer heads up a challenging, high-profile investigation into a hijacked bus carrying 24 high schoolers returning from a STEM fair in Washington, D.C. When a 17-year-old girl’s body is found on the grounds of the National Academy of Sciences, she’s identified as one of the missing students. The ritualized staging of the corpse, carefully placed on the celestial map at the Einstein Memorial and surrounded by a circle of nine baboon figurines and a large axe, persuades Sayer it’s the work of a serial killer. The suspense mounts as the tally of victims rise, and the remaining hostages on board the bus plot an escape. Meanwhile, fake witnesses, misinformation, and false identities undermine Sayer’s hunt for the missing teens, and a shocking revelation tests her strength of character. The sharp, intricate story, full of chills and unexpected twists, will keep readers guessing to the end. Fans will hope to see a lot more of this smart, capable lead. Agent: Amy Tannenbaum, Jane Rotrosen Agency.