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Kay Scarpetta is starting over with a unique private forensic pathology practice in Charleston, South Carolina. And the death of a sixteen-year-old tennis star will usher in a string of murders more baffling—and terrifying—than any that have come before.
Dr. Kay Scarpetta plunges into the murky depths of a ship graveyard to recover the very human remains of Ted Eddings, an investigative reporter. Together with her niece Lucy and police captain Pete Marino, Scarpetta will follow the scents of death and violence to the heart of sinister darkness. *San Francisco Chronicle
View our feature on Patricia Cornwell’s Scarpetta. From America’s #1 bestselling crime writers comes the extraordinary new Kay Scarpetta novel. Leaving behind her private forensic pathology practice in Charleston, South Carolina, Kay Scarpetta accepts an assignment in New York City, where the NYPD has asked her to examine an injured man on Bellevue Hospital’s psychiatric prison ward. The handcuffed and chained patient, Oscar Bane, has specifically asked for her, and when she literally has her gloved hands on him, he begins to talk—and the story he has to tell turns out to be one of the most bizarre she has ever heard. The injuries, he says, were sustained in the course of a murder . . . that he did not commit. Is Bane a criminally insane stalker who has fixed on Scarpetta? Or is his paranoid tale true, and it is he who is being spied on, followed and stalked by the actual killer? The one thing Scarpetta knows for certain is that a woman has been tortured and murdered—and more violent deaths will follow. Gradually, an inexplicable and horrifying truth emerges: Whoever is committing the crimes knows where his prey is at all times. Is it a person, a government? And what is the connection between the victims? In the days that follow, Scarpetta; her forensic psychologist husband, Benton Wesley; and her niece, Lucy, who has recently formed her own forensic computer investigation firm in New York, will undertake a harrowing chase through cyberspace and the all-too-real streets of the city—an odyssey that will take them at once to places they never knew, and much, much too close to home. Throughout, Cornwell delivers shocking twists and turns, and the kind of cutting-edge technology that only she can provide. Once again, she proves her exceptional ability to entertain and enthrall. Watch a Video
Florida is full of human predators, and they all give Dr Kay Scarpetta the opportunity and the means to do what she does best - persuading the dead to speak to her. And in Boston, Benton Wesley is working on a secret case involving convicted killers. It is a project which gives Scarpetta deep disquiet, as does the behaviour of her niece, Lucy, who is spending too much time in cheap bars looking for casual pick-ups. The Academy is called when a woman's body is found in Boston. She has been tortured, sexually abused, her body tattooed with handprints. The same sort of handprints Lucy had seen on the flesh of her latest pick-up. Meanwhile, Scarpetta and Marino are investigating the disappearance of a family in Florida, called in by a concerned neighbour, but as they search and find the tell-tale signs of abduction rather than disappearance, they also discover that someone had assumed the identity of the caller, and she is now dead. They've been set up, and it becomes clear that someone is tracking their every move.
Under cover of night in Richmond, Virginia, a human monster strikes, leaving a gruesome trail of stranglings that has paralyzed the city. Medical examiner Kay Scarpetta suspects the worst: a deliberate campaign by a brilliant serial killer whose signature offers precious few clues. With an unerring eye, she calls on the latest advances in forensic research to unmask the madman. But this investigation will test Kay like no other, because it's being sabotaged from within and someone wants her dead.
After her resignation as Virginia's Chief Medical Examiner and the horrifying events which threatened her life in The Last Precinct, Kay Scarpetta has abandoned her elegant home in Richmond and is quietly living in Florida, beginning to get some balance back in her life and slowly establishing herself as a private forensic consultant. But her past won't let her rest, and her grief for Benton Wesley continues to grow, not diminish, as does the rage within Lucy, her niece. Then the architect of her changed fortunes contacts her from his cell on death row: deformed, blinded by Scarpetta's own actions, incarcerated in Texas strongest prison, Jean-Baptiste Chardonne still has the ability to terrify. But, unkown to Scarpetta, there are other forces behind the wolfman's apparent actions, invisibly shepherding her and those closest to her towards eliminating those who threaten them all. And it is all orchestrated by the one man in her life who knows every nuance of her soul. Visit the author's website at www.patricia-cornwell.com
A psychopath with an intimate knowledge of death has an even more intimate knowledge of Kay Scarpetta-and many different plans to kill her.

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