A foreign ship arrives in Richmond, Virginia, amongst its cargo an unidentified body...
While Lucy Farinelli goes undercover in Miami to bring down a notorious criminal cartel, Dr Kay Scarpetta and Pete Marino discover a body in a cargo ship recently arrived from Belgium at Virginia's Deep Water Terminal in Richmond. Scarpetta's post mortem reveals neither a cause of death nor an identification. So the victim's personal effects and an odd tattoo take Scarpetta on a hunt for information that eventually leads her and Marino to Interpol's headquarters in Lyon. At first the highly confidential information they receive seems incredible, a bizarre trail of conspiracy and deceit, but inexorably the facts reveal a web of privileged and criminal arrogance which puts Dr Kay Scarpetta directly in harm's way, and places her and those she holds most dear at mortal risk.