BOOK OF THE DEAD
The first name in forensic mystery, Cornwell brings back her most complicated protagonist in a darkly powerful book, written with scalpel sharpness. Readers may feel uneasy with the undercurrent
of jagged emotions, especially now
that she's moved away from first-person narration, but should be totally absorbed as the author peels back another layer from her multidimensional cast.
As a serial killer moves between the United States and Italy, Kay Scarpetta and her team try to piece together the clues -- which include e-mails with pictures of other victims -- to find the brutal slayer of an American tennis pro. Even returning from Italy to her new private forensics lab in Charleston, S.C., with forensic psychologist Benton Wesley's engagement ring on her finger doesn't ease the strain of their relationship, and it creates new problems with longtime co-worker Peter Marino.
Adding to Scarpetta's problems is the discovery of a connection between the tennis pro murder, the unidentified body of a small boy and the manipulations of an emotionally disturbed psychotherapist who hates her. (PUTNAM, Nov., 416 pp., $26.95)