Waking to sirens in the night is hardly unusual for Samantha Owens.

No longer a medical examiner, she doesn't lose sleep over them, but a routine police investigation in her neighborhood has her curious. When her homicide detective friend, Darren Fletcher, invites her to look over the evidence, she jumps at the chance and immediately realizes the crime scene has been staged. What seems to be a clear case of murder/suicide—a crime of passion—is anything but. The discovery of toxic substances in hidden vials indicates that something much more sinister is at play… 

As Fletch and Sam try to understand what and who they are dealing with, they are summoned to a meeting at the State Department. High-level officials are interested in what they know and seem to be keeping secrets of their own. It's up to Sam and Fletch to uncover what lies behind the deception as the threat of bioterrorism is exposed, and her boyfriend, Xander Whitfield, may be in the line of fire. 

Unsure who to trust, Sam and Fletch find themselves up against very powerful people at every stage in the investigation. No one is who they appear to be and with every minute that passes, the danger escalates. It's Sam's most complex case yet and the terrifying reality is beyond anything she could have imagined.


  • Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Nominee, Best Suspense/Thriller

  • Romantic Times Top Pick!

  • Booklist starred review

Audio Extras


More Information

  • Publisher: MIRA books

  • Original release date: 5/26/2014

  • Formats: Print, eBook, audiobook

  • Audiobook narrator: Joyce Bean


"The novel is a genuine page-turner from the very beginning. Ellison clearly belongs in the top echelon of thriller writers who base their stories on forensics. . . . Don’t leave this one behind."
Booklist, starred review

"Ellison just keeps getting better and better! This new addition to her Dr. Samantha Owens series further develops the ensemble of complex characters who play off each other nicely. This would make a fine beach read, except with the fast pace and thrills — the action all takes place in about 24 hours — you might never make it into the water."
Romantic Times Top Pick!

"Captivating . . . the cliffhanger conclusion will eagerly leave fans anticipating the next installment."
– Publishers Weekly

"The fourth Samantha Owens novel moves from forensics to international bioterrorism, and the results are breathtaking! Thriller fanatics craving an action-packed novel of intrigue will be abundantly rewarded." 
– Library Journal

"Fans of Patricia Cornwell will appreciate Ellison’s brand of high intrigue paired with a medical- examiner slant . . . Ellison, whose national reputation has been growing for years, is sure to win more new fans and critical acclaim with her latest thriller."
Chapter 16

"Another fast-paced thriller from Ellison!" 
– Suspense Magazine