“When it comes to the forensic sciences, nobody can touch Cornwell.”
—New York Times Book Review
From the Ancient Greek (χάος or kháos)
A vast chasm or void. Anarchy. The science of unpredictability.
On a late summer evening in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Dr. Kay Scarpetta and her investigative partner, Pete Marino, respond to a call about a dead bicyclist near the Kennedy School of Government. It appears that a young woman has been attacked with almost superhuman force.
Even before Scarpetta’s headquarters has been officially notified about the case, Marino and Scarpetta’s FBI agent husband, Benton Wesley, receive suspicious calls, allegedly from someone at Interpol. But it makes no sense. Why would the elite international police agency know about the case or be interested? It soon becomes apparent that an onslaught of harassment might be the work of an anonymous cyberbully named Tailend Charlie, who has been sending cryptic communications to Scarpetta for over a week.
Even Lucy, her brilliant tech-savvy niece, can’t trace who it is or how this person could have access to intimate information. When a second death shocks Scarpetta to her core, it becomes apparent she and those close to her are confronted with something far bigger and more dangerous than they’d ever imagined.
In bestseller Cornwell's uneven 24th Kay Scarpetta novel (after 2015's Depraved Heart), the forensic pathologist investigates the bizarre death of 23-year-old Brit Elisa Vandersteelis, who was riding her bicycle in a Cambridge, Mass., park when she suffered a fatal electrical burn that looks like a lightning strike but isn't. Meanwhile, Scarpetta's FBI agent husband, Benton Wesley, is called away on matters of national security, which turn out to involve the sudden death of Gen. John Briggs, a long-time friend of Scarpetta's and one of the backers of her Cambridge Forensic Center. Electricity seemed to play a role in his death, too, making Scarpetta believe there's a connection. Of course, whenever there's a series of suspicious deaths, the specter of Carrie Grethen, Scarpetta's nemesis, isn't far from her thoughts. Coupled with threats she's been receiving from the mysterious Tailend Charlie, these new deaths appear to fit Carrie's MO. Lots of cutting-edge forensic detail and some revelatory character moments help compensate for a plot with only occasional flashes of narrative energy.
It was good
Kind of a bore
I usually love the Scarpetta series books. This one was almost boring, too descriptive of things that just didn’t matter. It seemed like a long way to go to get to the heart of the matter, DNA
I usually really enjoy Patricia Cornwall, but I feel like she phoned this one in. Disappointed.