When the mutilated and dismembered bodies of eighteen women are discovered in a mass grave in Shanghai, Li is sent to establish if the corpses relate to an unsolved murder in Beijing, and finds the most horrifying catalogue of killings ever uncovered in the Middle Kingdom. Once more, Margaret's mercurial relationship with Li threatens their professional collaboration. Margaret, having just suffered the heartbreak of burying her father, arrives in Shanghai to find her partnership with Li threatened by another woman. Born in the Year of the Tiger, Mei-Ling seems to have her claws firmly fixed in Li. How can Margaret, a mere "foreign devil,” compete with Mei-Ling, deputy head of Shanghai's serious crime squad? But when it becomes clear that the murdered women have been subjected to "live" autopsies, the three realize they are tracking a monster. And the closer they get to this ruthlessly cold-blooded killer, the closer they come to realizing their own personal nightmares.