When the body of a man is discovered in woodlands outside Manchester, a ten-year missing-persons investigation can finally be filed away. But this was no ordinary death: gagged, bound and buried alive, he was the victim of a sophisticated and sadistic killer. And there is something else that has the National Crime Agency puzzled. A single character carved into a nearby tree.
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A violent attacker is on the loose. His calling card: a tattoo on his victims' skin. With no witnesses and no evidence left at the crime scenes, it will take all of the National Crime Agency's resources to track him down. At the head of the investigation, codenamed Operation Juniper, Senior Investigator Joanne Stuart knows that the clock is ticking. The time between abductions is decreasing and the perpetrator grows ever more brazen. She fears it won't be long before his assaults turn deadly.