Buried Deep (4th entry in The Retrieval Artist Series) by Kristine Kathryn Rusch was originally published in 2005. My paperback copy has 372 pages. This is a solid continuation of the series that mixes science fiction with a mystery. There was a time in the middle of the novel that I wanted Rusch to get on with the story, which seemed to be momentarily slowed down, but it soon picked up and rushed on to a satisfying conclusion. Rating: 4.
Synopsis from cover:
Forensic anthropologist Aisha Costard has been summoned to Mars to examine skeletal remains recently discovered beneath a building erected by the Disty aliens. The bones belong to a human woman who vanished thirty years ago with her children. She is believed to be one of the Disappeared, outlaws wanted for crimes against alien civilizations.To investigate the mystery of the skeleton, Aisha turns to Retrieval Artist Miles Flint. Following the trail back three decades and seeking the whereabouts of the victims missing children, Miles discovers a deadly secret that could threaten the stability of the entire solar system..."
"By the time Sharyn Scott-Olson had reached the crime scene, she already knew something was seriously wrong." first sentence
"The Disty had fled, and that made a shiver run through Scott-Olson. She knew the Disty didn't like death....Disty believed that dead bodies contaminated the environment - not just for the moment those bodies touched the ground, but for all time." pg. 1
"What she knew about Mars could be placed in a three page pamphlet, and two of those pages would have been wrong." pg. 12
" 'They'll kill you?' Costard asked.
'It's a risk,' Scott-Olson said. 'We've touched the body. We've been contaminated by it. We're useless to them.'
Costard felt a surge of anger. Someone should have told her. 'I think I'll just take the next shuttle to Earth. I am not volunteering for this.'
'It's too late,' Scott-Olson said, 'You already have.' " pg. 19
"The Disty had given Costard clearance so that she could settle the major contamination case. But they had warned her that they would come for her if she tried to run. They would hunt her down, even if she disappeared." pg. 38
"Flint suspected there were a lot more statements like the last, statements that, taken in context, praised DeRicci. But Bowles only took snippets of what had obviously been a long interview, interspersed them with video reports and confidential memos about DeRicci's job performance....The whole thing made DeRicci sound like the biggest failure to ever join the Armstrong Police Department." pg. 45