Storyteller extraordinaire Patricia Cornwell continues to bring spine- tingling terror and terrific suspense to her bestselling series featuring the incomparable Kay Scarpetta. Fans won't be disappointed with this latest installment.

After a brief period of blessed silence, psychopathic serial killer Temple Gault picks Christmas Eve to strike once again. This time his victim is a nameless homeless woman in Central Park.

Dr. Kay Scarpetta, Chief Medical Examiner of Virginia and consultant for the FBI, and Police Captain Pete Marino are quickly called to the scene. There is no question this killing is the work of Gault, but Kay somehow feels that this particular victim is significant and that it is vital to track down her identity.

Gault is not finished springing surprises, as he soon demonstrates by infiltrating the top secret Crime Artificial Intelligence Network (CAIN). Kay's computer genius niece Lucy helped design the program and with her help they may be able to track him.

While the FBI is stalking Gault, he is stalking Kay. Gault's fixation on her has grown over the years and both Pete and FBI Chief Benton Wesley fear he may bring their dangerous dance to a deadly close.

Can they piece together the facts that will lead them to Gault? Will this be the final confrontation?

(Aug., 416pp., $24.00)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith