It is almost midnight on Halloween. Firefighters following up yet another hoax call to Druids Altar, a local beauty spot high on Harden Moor, discover the body of Shayla Richards, a young black girl. The post-mortem shows that Shayla was suffocated and sexually assaulted; photographs of her body at the crime-scene suggest a ritual sacrifice.
DI John Handford and DS Khalid Ali soon discover that Shayla's past is anything but straightforward. Over a year before her death, she accused a teacher of a sexual attack while in school. Although the teacher was suspended, the case collapsed when it came to trial.
The murder investigation is never going to be easy and the police find themselves caught between factions who insist the dead girl had been a compulsive liar. Yet events take a more sinister turn when Handford discovers his prime suspect seems to be a man without a past. In fact, he doesn't even seem to exist...
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