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The eighth book in the Kay Scarpetta series, from No. 1 bestselling author Patricia Cornwell.
'America's most chilling writer of crime fiction' The Times
A sadistic serial killer, the weapon a deadly virus . . .
Dublin, Ireland and Richmond, Virginia: separated by thousands of miles - linked by murder. For Dr Kay Scarpetta a lecture stint in Ireland provides the perfect opportunity to find out if the murders on both sides of the Atlantic are indeed connected. Five dismembered, beheaded bodies were found in Ireland five years ago - now four have been discovered in the States.
But the tenth corpse in Virginia is different. There are vital discrepancies, and an indication that the elderly victim was already seriously ill. A copy-cat killing. Ghoulish, perhaps, but not unusual. And then abject terror grips Scarpetta and her colleagues when the next body is found. The circumstances of death broadcast a clear and horrifying message: the killer is armed with the most lethal weapon on earth - smallpox.
Praise for the groundbreaking series:
'One of the best crime writers writing today' Guardian
'Devilishly clever' Sunday Times
'The top gun in this field' Daily Telegraph
'Forget the pretenders. Cornwell reigns' Mirror
'The Agatha Christie of the DNA age' Express
In this return to the luridly fascinating world of Dr. Kay Scarpetta, Cornwell delivers the goods her fans love best. Moving from serial dismemberment to a high-tech virus that threatens a pox-like epidemic, this eighth appearance (following last year's Cause of Death) of the compulsive forensics pathologist who is Virginia's Medical Examiner and a consultant to the FBI ranges from Dublin to Richmond, Va., making stops at a tiny barrier island in the Chesapeake Bay and the government's huge biological defense facility in Dugway, Utah. Tours of Graceland in Memphis and Atlanta's Center for Disease Control are added before the closing in London. The dismembered corpse of an elderly woman found in a Virginia landfill doesn't quite fit the profile of earlier dismemberments; also puzzling is the pattern of pustules found on the torso. As Scarpetta follows the forensics clues, she faces the unscrupled ambitions of a slick FBI agent; the difficulties encountered by Lucy, her beloved niece, computer genius and a lesbian; her own exposure to the unidentified, sometimes fatal virus (and subsequent quarantine); and the turbulent ambivalence of her feelings for