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1 rating: 4.0
A book by Patricia Cornwell

At the start of bestseller Cornwell's plodding 16th thriller to feature Dr. Kay Scarpetta (afterBook of the Dead), the forensic pathologist—who recently relocated to Belmont, Mass., with her forensic psychologist husband—is called to … see full wiki

Author: Patricia Cornwell
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
Publisher: Putnam Adult
1 review about Scarpetta

"We don't know what it is not to feel haunted."

  • Dec 6, 2008
  • by
The meat of the Kay Scarpetta novels is in the forensic details, the technological advances of criminal investigation through the intimate examination of crime scenes. And Kay Scarpetta is the best in her field, called to New York City by her husband, Denton Wesley, for a consult with the possible suspect in a heinous ritual murder. A little person, Oscar Bane has insisted he be examined by none other than the famous Scarpetta, a featured expert on CNN. The couple's New Year's Eve plans thwarted by Oscar Bane's demands, Scarpetta flies to NYC for the consultation, conducting a thorough examination of Dane's recent injuries as he anxiously describes an out-of-control paranoia, a certainty that he is being watched and followed, that `they' know everything he does. Benton's psychological evaluation corroborates Scarpetta's conclusion that Oscar is not mentally ill, but in the grip of a profound fear that may or may not be valid. It was Oscar who found his cruelly murdered girlfriend, Terri bridges, the last to see her and therefore a person of interest.

Toss in a liberal supply of characters and you have a fascinating mix of professionals whose personal lives have infringed on their work: high-profile New York prosecutor Jaime Berger; Pete Marino, a former detective and close friend of Scarpetta's until an unfortunate event that sunders the relationship; Scarpetta's niece, Lucy, who owns a company that specializes in cyber-sleuthing and personally conducts classes in extreme self-defense. Together, these people constitute the sharpest minds in their fields; but the ritualistic murder confuses everyone as they attempt to resolve the case before the public panics. It doesn't help that an online gossip site, Gotham Gotcha, is posting slanderous articles about Dr. Scarpetta, hindering her ability to do her job effectively. And then there is the ubiquitous detective, Mike Morales, early on the crime scene, caustically irreverent, but often right. Either Oscar is a liar and manipulator or there is another, more devious killer at large, one with a frightening taste for violence and cruelty.

As Scarpetta examines contradictory evidence in the light of advanced forensic techniques, Lucy hacks her way into a network of secrets, a diabolical series of fraudulent emails, uncovering a sinister plot to ruin Scarpetta's reputation, spread disinformation over the internet and turn a fan into a disgruntled foe. With Terri's murder and another that follows, Cornwall plunges into the dark side of human pathology, explores social boundaries and brings two old friends face to face with their failures. Characters I found rather unlikable at first redeem themselves in a final, brutal confrontation that delivers justice to a madman; still, the company is rather rich, notoriety and reputation affording them an elegant lifestyle that sharply contrasts with the cases that occur in a messy criminal environment. As exotic as modern forensics, this thriller pays off unexpectedly in a final deadly reckoning. Luan Gaines/ 2008.

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