“The Lost Goddess” by Tom Knox, published by Viking.
Category – Mystery/Thriller
This novel has two different stories that merge into one.
In France, Julie Kerrigan, on an archaeology dig, finds a skull with a hole bored in its forehead. She brings this find to the attention of her mentor Ghislaine Quoinelles. Instead of becoming excited about the find he claims the find is worthless. Several days later Ghislaine is found dead. Julie, feeling her find is a major find starts to investigate.
In Southeast Asia, American photographer Jake Thirby, looking for a story becomes involved with Chemda Tek. Chemda is Cambodian but was educated in the United States as a lawyer. She is working on the Plain of Jars looking for her and Cambodia’s past history. Jake and Chemda find themselves in a race of life and death through the countries of Cambodia and Laos. Chemda and Julie discover that their finds are being kept secret by the authorities. There is a dark mystery to the skulls and the holes that have been drilled into them. Julie’s finds take her into a now decrepit laboratory in Russia that has been doing experiments on apes and humans. The Russians, in need of money, sold their findings to China. China, in turn, seems to have kept the experiments going but with more success. Scientists who have worked on this experiment have either died or marked for death.
Both stories come together in Communist Tibet where Julie, Chemda, and Jake not only learn of the experiments but are shocked as to who was involved and why the experiments were carried out.