Leaving behind her private forensic pathology practice in Charleston, South Carolina, Kay Scarpetta takes up an assignment in New York City, where the NYPD has asked her to examine an injured patient on Bellevue Hospital's psychiatric prison ward. The handcuffed and chained patient, Oscar Bane, has specifically asked for her, and when she literally has her gloved hands on him, he begins to talk-and the story he has to tell turns out to be one of the most bizarre she has ever heard. The injuries, he says, were sustained in the course of a murder...?hat he did not commit. Is Bane a criminally insane stalker who has fixed on Scarpetta? Or is his paranoid tale true, and it is he who is being spied on, followed and stalked by the actual killer? The one thing Scarpetta knows for certain is that a woman has been tortured and murdered-and more violent deaths will follow. Gradually, an inexplicable and horrifying truth emerges: Whoever is committing the crimes knows where his prey is at all times. Is it a person, a government? And what is the connection among the victims? In the days that follow, Scarpetta, her forensic psychologist husband, Benton Wesley, and her niece Lucy, who has recently formed her own forensic computer investigation firm in New York, will undertake a harrowing chase through cyberspace and the all-too-real streets of the city-an odyssey that will take them at once to places they never knew but also much, much too close to home.
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by Patricia Cornwell
"All the continuing characters in the Scarpetta series work together in New York City to solve several murders with weird pathology. Medical examiner Kay Scarpetta needs help from her husband, Benton, ex-FBI profiler; her computer geek niece, Lucy; a female prosecuting attorney; and Marino, Kay's estranged former police associate. Some of these folks, like Marino and bit players, are voiced distinctively; some, like Benton, are not. Kate Reading's talent is enlivening long (maybe overlong) conversations and injecting emotions into characters and relationships. Suspect Oscar Banes, a dwarf, is wounded in body and spirit. Mysterious Internet postings about Kay are venomous. A pathology report is read stiffly. And a celebratory lunch at Elaine's brings everyone together to close on an overall good performance. J.B.G. (c) AudioFile 2009, Portland, Maine"
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