- The Devil's Bones: A Body Farm Novel
- Carved in Bone: A Body Farm Novel (Body Farm Novels) and
- Flesh and Bone: A Body Farm Novel
In the book, Dr. Leonard Novak is found dead, frozen in the icy water of the swimming pool at his home near the Oak Ridge, Tennessee, nuclear research facility. The elderly Novak was, back in the day, a leader of the Manhattan Project, the World War II program to develop the first atomic bomb.
This is not simply a slip-and-fall at the pool, however. It turns out that Novak was killed by small but lethal chunk of radioactive material. This chunk inside Novak is so hot that it injures the team conducting Novak's autopsy. From here the mystery takes off as Bill Brockton investigates this unusual murder, trying to find the source of the radiation that killed Novak and injured his colleagues. Solving this puzzle requires him to return to the days of the Manhattan Project in Tennessee, and uncover the impact of those past events on the present day.
Oak Ridge is a real place and we know, of course, how the Manhattan Project and World War II played out. What this book adds is interesting detail about what happened in 1940s Tennessee, who were the people who worked on the Project, and what were the mores of that period. In Bones of Betray, Jefferson and Bass use the murder-mystery format to pull all of this together into a nice read.