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Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Suspense
Forensic pathology rocketed into popularity with the success of Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta series, and forensic scientists of all specialties have since become popular detectives. DARK ALCHEMY features Dr. Sylvia Strange, a forensic psychologist in pursuit of her second serial poisoner in this series.
Sylvia is lured back from retirement to formulate a profile of a killer whose poisons are homemade neurotoxins. The wrinkle: The FBI already know, or suspect, who the killer is, but want the support of a psychological profile to prep them for the interrogation process.
Sylvia is once again teamed with Ed Sweetheart, an enigmatic freelance profiler whose true motives, and true feelings for Sylvia, are never clearly revealedwhich is the problem overall. While Lovett goes into great, sometimes excruciating, detail regarding the scientific aspects of genetically manufactured poisons, she coyly refuses to divulge the inner workings of either Sweetheart or the two killers. The final chapters are confusing and unsatisfying. (Mar., 320 pp., $24.00)
Reviewed By: Kim Colley
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Published: March 2003