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Not sure how many-th in Patricia Cornwell's books about Kay Scarpetta this is, but like all the others, I couldn't put it down.
Yes, there are deaths, with unexplained evidence, there's the usual psycho lingering around, (well, not Temple Gault, but a psycho, you KNEW what I meant, didn't you?) There's also Lucy behaving in her usual reckless Lucy manner, driving Kay mad, there are things happening to keep Kay and Benton apart, as usual, there's Pete being down-to-earth , and still secretly worshipping the ground Kay walks upon, (after 15 years, why hasn't Kay figured it out, she figures everything else out.) Oh! And this one has a "loony" inside the investigating circle causing mayhem, as there have been in some past novels.
Saying all that, it is fresh, and unexpected.

Florida is full of predators, from the animals who thrive in its humid heat to the humans who stalk the air-conditioned malls, and they all give Dr Kay Scarpetta, now Director of Forensic Science and Medicine at the National Forensic Academy, the oportunity and the menas to do what she does best - persudading the dead to speak to her.

In the icy chill of Boston, Benton Wesley is working on a secret project involving convicted killers, one of whom appears to confess to an even higher number of murders than the authorities had known about. It is a project that gives Scarpetta deep disquiet, as does the behaviour of her niece, Lucy, who is spending too much time drinking and indulging in casual pick-ups in cheap bars.

The Academy is called in to assist in the discovery of a young woman's remains in Massachusetts. She has been tortured, sexually abused, her body tattooed with hand-prints. The same sort of hand-prints Lucy had seen on the flesh of her latest pick-up. Meanwhile Scarpetta and Marino are investigating the disappearance of a family in Florida. A neighbour had appealed to them directly, insisting that the local police were not taking the case seriously. But as they search and find the tell-tale signs of abduction rather than disappearance, they also discover that someone had assumed the identity of the caller, and now she is dead. They've been set up. And it becomes terrifyingly clear that somebody is tracking their every move.

With her unique combination of high-powered story-telling and formidable forensic knowledge. Patricia Cornwell has again created a novel that is intriguing, chilling and forcefully readable.

As usual there are red herrings strewn throughout.


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