The Burying Point, an Unmissable Crime Thriller by Derik Cavignano

The Bottom Line: Cavignano’s second Ray Hanley thriller is a brilliant and unmissable dance with the devil. Salem witch lore has rarely been as terrifying as it is in The Burying Point.

As The Burying Point opens, Boston Police Ray Hanley arrives at the scene of what seems like an almost-perfect crime. The body of a young woman has been buried in a freshly dug grave just hours before she would have been covered by its intended occupant forever. Moments after emerging from the grave to retrieve the decomposing body (Cavignano’s ability to evoke dread and claustrophobia in scenes like this is second to none), Ray is summoned back to the precinct for a more pressing matter.

Ray soon finds himself paired up with detective Elena Martinez to investigate the disappearance of Cassie Barnes, a troubled teenager from Salem who has gone missing after leaving for work at a local cafe. Could she have simply run away? Possibly, but Cassie’s ex-boyfriend, Alex, a much older public defender, is considered a suspect due to his recent breakup with her. 

The investigation soon yields a host of provocative discoveries that point to something far more complex. The mother of one of Cassie’s friends – institutionalized after a mental breakdown – reveals that the girls may have been involved in the occult, including attending rituals at a local Wiccan store. The detectives also discover a series of tunnels beneath Salem, where they find an underground church used by a cult for black masses. Could they also be used for human trafficking or other criminal activities?

Cavignano’s long-awaited follow-up to The Art of Dying does not disappoint. In Ray, we have a truly haunted detective who somehow remains grounded despite suffering PTSD on a prior case. While he’s seen plenty of things that seem to be beyond human comprehension, he’s not yet jaded enough to be unflappable. That’s important given what Cavignano throws his way, including ghost hunters, rumors of organ harvesting, a Eucharist made from human flesh – and a planned Halloween ceremony that may involve human sacrifice. 

In Martinez, Cavignano develops a vulnerable yet capable partner whose run-ins with co-workers and intriguing personal life adds depth to the series’ universe. Let’s hope Cavignano brings her back for another case.

Scroll to Top