'As his eyes adjusted to the light, what appeared at first to be a can of ivory-coloured sticks proved to be a can of disarticulated bones, some long and thin, flared out delicately at the ends, others roundish, like irregularly-shaped stones, and still others short, with conical tips.
They were of course the bones of a human hand. If he'd counted, he'd have found twenty-seven of them - eight carpals, five metacarpals and fourteen phalanges.' Although officially retired, ex-Special Agent Pender can't ignore a plea for help from an old friend - especially when there's an all expenses paid trip to the Caribbean attached.
Julian Coffee, St Luke's chief of police, needs Pender's help to track down a serial killer known as the 'Machete Man' because of his habit of cutting off the right hand of his victims.
Pender is about to discover the strangest and most baffling case of his long career.