Complex layers and divided loyalties make this who-can-you-trust tale nightmare deliciously chilling.

Medical examiner Maura Isles thinks she's seen just about everything—until a corpse opens its eyes in front of her.

The anonymous young woman is rushed from the morgue to the hospital, where—as fate and plot devices would have it—homicide detective Jane Rizzoli is just about to give birth to her first child.

As Maura checks on the mystery woman, she discovers her non-corpse struggling with a security guard. During the scuffle, the guard is killed and Maura is briefly taken hostage. In the end, the young woman takes six hostages, including Jane, who is in labor.

Now, to save his wife and child, (and her best friend) a certain hunky FBI agent will need all his negotiation and investigative skills. Washington is claiming the woman is part of a Chechen terrorist organization, but our agent has his doubts—especially when the dead "guard" turns out to be a hit man. And now, as if being taken hostage by your undead corpse and trying to give birth, are not traumatic enough on their own, Jane and Maura are forced to fight for their very lives.

(Aug., 352 pp., $24.95)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith