medical examiner, Dr.
Kay Scarpetta, is back in Richmond, VA, where she was once the chief. Kay is surprised that the new M.E., Dr. Joel Marcus, wants her assistance reviewing the autopsy of 14-year-old Gilly Paulsson, who apparently died from flu complications.
Kay's investigation is mired in suspicious complications: Gilly's mother sadistically seduces Kay's sidekick, former cop Pete Marino, and odd trace evidence is found on a construction worker killed while demolishing the former M.E. office.
In a gripping subplot, Kay's niece Lucy investigates the attempted murder
of her employee, Henri. Kay's lover, Benton, goes to Aspen with Henri to
try to uncover the truth, while Lucy
discovers that her South Florida
home has had a security breach and
her life may be in danger.
This master of intrigue will keep
you glued to the pages of this fast-paced, smoothly plotted novel, in
which seemingly unrelated events become clues as the pieces of this
puzzle fall into place. With the ever-increasing popularity of television
forensic shows, Cornwell's following should be at an all-time high. (Sep.,
435 pp., $26.95)