The new Kay Scarpetta novel from the world's #1 bestselling crime writer. Determined to find out what happened to her former deputy chief, Jack Fielding, murdered six months earlier, Kay Scarpetta travels to the Georgia Prison for Women, where an inmate has information not only on Fielding, but also on a string of grisly killings. The murder of an Atlanta family years ago, a young woman on death row, and the inexplicable deaths of homeless people as far away as California seem unrelated. But Scarpetta discovers connections that compel her to conclude that what she thought ended with Fielding's death and an attempt on her own life is only the beginning of something far more destructive: a terrifying terrain of conspiracy and potential terrorism on an international scale. And she is the only one who can stop it.
Deputy Chief Virginia West likes and respects her boss, Hammer, but with an increasing number of visiting businessmen being murdered in her city by a maniac with a penchant for painting his victims bright orange, she finds it hard to accept Hammer's edict that a rookie reporter should ride on patrol with her to better relations with their citizens. Her worst fears are confirmed when the reporter, Brazil, presses the button to activate the boot-release rather than the siren on their first outing. He's not the only blight on her life right now: her cat's angsty, her hormones are misbehaving, her opposite number in the uniformed division is behaving like a jackass, the radio despatcher is determined to trip her up, the D.A. is in the middle of a hot battle with the trial schedule. And orange coloured corpses keep turning up on her patch.
Virginia Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta is called in to autopsy the body of convicted murderer Ronnie Waddell after his execution. Several days after the execution, a young boy is discovered murdered in the fashion of Waddell's earlier killings, with Waddell's prints near the body. Scarpetta, along with FBI Agent Benton Wesley and Detective Pete Marino, try to discover how a dead inmate could have possibly committed another murder after his death. As the story progresses she seeks the assistance of her 17-year-old niece Lucy after she discovers a strange folder on her computer.
Chaos breaks loose when the governor of Virginia orders that speed traps be painted on all streets and highways, and warns that speeders will be caught by monitoring aircraft flying overhead. But the eccentric island of Tangier, fourteen miles off the coast of Virginia in Chesapeake Bay, responds by declaring war on its own state. Judy Hammer, newly installed as the superintendent of the Virginia State Police, and Andy Brazil, a state trooper and Hammer’s right hand and confidant, find themselves at their wits’ end as they try to protect the public from the politicians—and vice versa—in this pitch-perfect, darkly comic romp.
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Virginia Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta has a bloody puzzle on her hands: five headless, limbless cadavers in Ireland, plus four similar victims in a landfill back home. Is a serial butcher loose in Virginia? That's what the panicked public thinks, thanks to a local TV reporter who got the leaked news from her boyfriend, Scarpetta's vile rival, Investigator Percy Ring. But the butchered bodies are so many red herrings intended to throw idiots like Ring off the track. Instead of a run-of-the-mill serial killer, we're dealing with a shadowy figure who has plans involving mutant smallpox, mass murder, and messing with Scarpetta's mind by e-mailing her gory photos of the murder scenes, along with cryptic AOL chat-room messages. The coolest innovation: Scarpetta's gorgeous genius niece, Lucy, equips her with a DataGlove and a VPL Eyephone, and she takes a creepy virtual tour of the e-mailed crime scene.
Unnatural Exposure boasts brisk storytelling, crackling dialogue, evocative prose about forensic-science sleuthing, and crisp character sketches, both of familiar characters like Scarpetta's gruff partner Pete Marino and bit players like the landfill employee falsely accused by Ring. Plus, let's face it: serial killers are old hat. Cornwell's most vivid villains are highly plausible backstabbing colleagues like Ring, who plots to destroy Lucy's FBI career by outing her as a lesbian. Some readers object to the rather abrupt ending, but, hey, it's less jarring than Hannibal's, and it's the logical culmination of Cornwell's philosophy about human nature. To illuminate the novel's finale, read Cornwell's remarks on paranoia in her Amazon.com interview. --Tim Appelo
FOUR EXTRAORDINARY NOVELS FEATURING KAY SCARPETTA
From the world's #1 bestselling crime writer PATRICIA CORNWELL
"When it comes to forensic sciences, nobody can touch Cornwell." -"The New York Times Book Review"
"Cornwell has created a character so real, so compelling, so driven that this reader has to remind herself regularly that Scarpetta is just a product of an author's imagination." -"USA Today"
"The Last Precinct" Patricia Cornwell takes her readers deeper into Kay Scarpetta's heart and soul than ever before, as she discovers that the so-called Werewolf murders may have extended to New York City-and into the darkest corners of her past.
"Blow Fly" Kay Scarpetta agrees to investigate a cold case in Louisiana-the baffling murder of a woman with a history of blackouts and violent outbursts. Then she receives news that chills her to the core: Jean-Baptiste Chandonne-the vicious and unrepentant Wolfman, who pursued her to her very doorstep-has asked to see her...
"Predator" Investigating the disappearance of two sisters in Florida, Dr. Kay Scarpetta follows clues that twist and turn, leading her into the psychopathic depths of a jailed serial killer's mind...
"The Book of the Dead" The Book of the Dead is the morgue log, the ledger in which all cases are entered by hand. For Kay Scarpetta, however, it is about to acquire a new meaning.
Soon after relocating to Charleston, S.C., to launch a private forensics lab, Scarpetta is asked to consult on the murder of U.S. tennis star Drew Martin, whose mutilated body was found in Rome. Contradictory evidence leaves Scarpetta, the Italian carabinieri and Scarpetta's lover, forensic psychologist Benton Wesley, stumped.
But when she discovers unsettling connections between Martin's murder, the body of an unidentified South Carolina boy and her old nemesis, the maniacal psychiatrist Dr. Marilyn Self, Scarpetta encounters a killer as deadly as any she's ever faced.
In Blow Fly, Kay Scarpetta stands at the threshold of a new life after her work as Virginia's Chief Medical Examiner has come to a jarring end. At the close of The Last Precinct, she knew she would have to leave Richmond if she were to find any peace. She feared that she was about to be fired by the governor. More alarming, she was hounded in the media and in the courtroom, for what some claimed was her involvement in the murder of a deputy police chief. So Scarpetta packed up her belongings and set out for the warmth and solace of the Florida sun.
She is settling into a new life as a private forensic consultant and is deep into a case that has left colleagues in Louisiana profoundly disturbed. A woman is found dead in a seedy hotel, dressed to go out, keys in her hand. Her history of blackouts, and her violent outbursts while under their spell, offer more questions than clues about the cause of her death. Then Scarpetta receives news that chills her to the core: Jean-Baptiste Chandonne - the vicious and unrepentant Wolfman, who pursued her to her very doorstep - asks to see her. From his cell on death row, he demands an audience with the legendary Dr. Scarpetta. Only to her will he tell the secrets he knows the authorities desire: the evidence that will bring a global investigation to a swift conclusion. Scarpetta, her niece Lucy, and her colleague Detective Pete Marino are left to wonder: After all the death and destruction, what sort of endgame could this violent psychopath have in mind? And could this request be somehow related to the Louisiana case?
Her friends and family by her side, Scarpetta must unravel a twisting conspiracy with an international reach and confront theshock of her life - a blow that will force her to question the loyalty and trust of all she holds dear.
Dr. Kay Scarpetta, now freelancing from South Florida, returns to the city that turned its back on her five years ago. Richmond, Virginia's recently appointed chief medical examiner claims that he needs Scarpetta's help to solve a perplexing crime. When she arrives, however, Scarpetta finds that nothing is as she expected: Her former lab is in the final stages of demolition; the inept chief isn't the one who requested her after all; her old assistant chief has developed personal problems that he won't reveal; and a glamorous FBI agent, whom Scarpetta dislikes instantly, meddles with the case.
Deprived of assistance from colleagues Benton and Lucy, who are embroiled in what appears to be an unrelated attempted rape by a stalker, Scarpetta is faced with investigating the death of a fourteen-year-old girl, working with the smallest pieces of evidence --- traces that only the most thorough hunters can identify. She must follow the twisting leads and track the strange details in order to make the dead speak --- and to reveal the sad truth that may be more than even she can bear ...
On the day after Christmas, Scarpetta make her special pizza pie and Detective Pete Marino creates his "cause-of-death eggnog" (he uses corn liquor), while Lucy Farinelli (a special agent with ATF and Scarpetta's only niece) goes on a long run in the snowy suburbs of Richmond, Virginia. The next day, Scarpetta flies to Miami to spend a few days with her querulous mother and Sindbad, her Siamese cat. In Richmond, Lucy entertains her friends, all from various federal law enforcement agencies; and Marino first apprehends and then befriends Jimmy Simpson, a ten-year-old boy who had been snowballing his house. In the final scene of the novelette, all the characters (including Jimmy's mother, who seems to catch Marino's eye) gather in Scarpetta's warm house on a cold night to enjoy her famous stew.This book -- a special "gift" from Cornwell to her readers -- is the perfect holiday gift, and gives the reader insights into her best-known characters that cannot be found in any other work. It is illustrated with photographs that suggest the locales and activities of her characters, and it includes the ingredients for all the dishes described in the story.
Judy Hammer has accepted the challenge of Richmond, Virginia's police department to try and reverse the escalating crime statistics in the city. She brings with her Deputy Chief Virginia West and Andy Brazil, now a full-time police officer. They find a lot of things they are all too familiar with - teenage gangs, a rash of robberies at cash dispensers, street corner drug-dealing, racial tensions, too many people with too many guns and a cardiac inducing lack of parking spaces. They also meet resentment from the established police force and over-high expectations from the city's institutions. Then a computer virus crashes the police computer, freezing their screens with a design of blue fish, and the same blue fish appears on the statue of Jefferson Davis, which a graffiti artist has turned into a black basketball player and a gang called the Pikes claim it is their symbol, which also has links to the robberies. In an incredibly fast-moving police procedural Patricia Cornwell takes her readers on a roller-coaster ride of action and emotion.
Christmas has never been a particularly good time for Dr Kay Scarpetta. Although a holiday for most, the festivities always seem to heighten the alienation felt by society's violent fringe; and that usually means more work for Scarpetta, Virginia's Chief Medical Examiner and consulting forensic pathologist for the FBI.
The body was naked, female, and found propped against a fountain in a bleak area of New York's Central Park. Her apparent manner of death points to a modus operandi that is chillingly familar: the gunshot wound to the head, the sections of skin excised from the body, the displayed corpse - all suggest that Temple Brooks Gault, Scarpetta's nemesis, is back at work.
Calling on all her reserves of courage and skill, and the able assistance of colleagues Marino and Wesley, Scarpetta must track this most dangerous of killers in pursuit of survival as well as justice - heading inexorably to an electrifying climax amid the dark, menacing labyrinths of the New York subway.
1 New York Times bestselling author Patricia Cornwell returns with the remarkable twenty-fourth thriller in her popular high-stakes series starring medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta.
In the quiet of twilight, on an early autumn day, twenty-six-year-old Elisa Vandersteel is killed while riding her bicycle along the Charles River. It appears she was struck by lightning—except the weather is perfectly clear with not a cloud in sight. Dr. Kay Scarpetta, the Cambridge Forensic Center’s director and chief, decides at the scene that this is no accidental Act of God.
Her investigation becomes complicated when she begins receiving a flurry of bizarre poems from an anonymous cyberbully who calls himself Tailend Charlie. Though subsequent lab results support Scarpetta’s conclusions, the threatening messages don’t stop. When the tenth poem arrives exactly twenty-four hours after Elisa’s death, Scarpetta begins to suspect the harasser is involved, and sounds the alarm to her investigative partner Pete Marino and her husband, FBI analyst Benton Wesley.
She also enlists the help of her niece, Lucy. But to Scarpetta’s surprise, tracking the slippery Tailend Charlie is nearly impossible, even for someone as brilliant as her niece. Also, Lucy can’t explain how this anonymous nemesis could have access to private information. To make matters worse, a venomous media is whipping the public into a frenzy, questioning the seasoned forensics chief’s judgment and "a quack cause of death on a par with spontaneous combustion."
Ruth Bell Graham is known as the wife of evangelist Billy Graham. It was Ruth who influenced Billy, as his most trusted life-partner. In Ruth, a Portrait, we meet this fascinating and remarkable woman. Brimming with anecdotes, this is a breathtaking journey, with stops at many of this century's epoch-making events.
The childhood years of the future Mrs. Billy Graham were spent light-years away--in the China of the 1920s and 1930s. The daughter of medical missionaries, she and her family were caught in a crucible of unspeakable hardship; in addition to pestilence and plague, there was the unstable political and military turmoil surrounding the Nationalist government, the Communists, and the Japanese invaders. These hazardous realities shaped Ruth Bell and her family, a family inured to difficulties, but buoyed up by their deep belief in God's abiding will.
Virtually raised by the Grahams, the author is a repository of Ruth Bell Graham's stories and has seen firsthand the spirit of this courageous woman. Patricia Cornwell not only gives readers a full, rounded, and intimate portrait of Ruth Bell Graham, but also insight into the life of the Graham family and particularly Billy Graham.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
From the world’s number-one bestselling crime writer comes the extraordinary new Kay Scarpetta novel.
Massachusetts Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta has just returned from working one of the worst mass murders in U.S. history when she’s awakened at an early hour by Detective Pete Marino.
A body, oddly draped in an unusual cloth, has just been discovered inside the sheltered gates of MIT and it’s suspected the identity is that of missing computer engineer Gail Shipton, last seen the night before at a trendy Cambridge bar. It appears she’s been murdered, mere weeks before the trial of her $100 million lawsuit against her former financial managers, and Scarpetta doubts it’s a coincidence. She also fears the case may have a connection with her computer genius niece, Lucy.
At a glance there is no sign of what killed Gail Shipton, but she’s covered with a fine dust that under ultraviolet light fluoresces brilliantly in three vivid colors, what Scarpetta calls a mineral fingerprint. Clearly the body has been posed with chilling premeditation that is symbolic and meant to shock, and Scarpetta has reason to worry that the person responsible is the Capital Murderer, whose most recent sexual homicides have terrorized Washington, D.C. Stunningly, Scarpetta will discover that her FBI profiler husband, Benton Wesley, is convinced that certain people in the government, including his boss, don’t want the killer caught.
In Dust, Scarpetta and her colleagues are up against a force far more sinister than a sexual predator who fits the criminal classification of a �spectacle killer.” The murder of Gail Shipton soon leads deep into the dark world of designer drugs, drone technology, organized crime, and shocking corruption at the highest levels.
With unparalleled high-tension suspense and the latest in forensic technology, Patricia Cornwell once again proves her exceptional ability to surprise—and to thrill.
A farmhouse destroyed by fire
A body amongst the ruins
Dr Kay Scarpetta, Chief Medical Examiner and consulting pathologist for the federal law enforcement agency ATF, is called out to a farmhouse in Virginia which has been destroyed by fire. In the ruins of the house she finds a body which tells a story of a violent and grisly murder.
The fire has come at the same time as another even more incendiary horror: Carrie Grethen, a killer who nearly destroyed the lives of Scarpetta and those closest to her, has escaped from a forensic psychiatric hospital. Her whereabouts is unknown, but her ultimate destination is not, for Carrie has begun to communicate with Scarpetta, conveying her deadly - if cryptic - plans for revenge.
Chillingly mesmeric in tone, labyrinthine in structure, Point of Origin is Patricia Cornwell at her most dazzling.