The clues to a series of remorseless killings go up in smoke—and only Kay Scarpetta can find them in this #1 New York Times bestseller from Patricia Cornwell.
“Sears its way into the psyche…Ablaze with Cornwell’s finest, scariest writing.”—Atlanta Journal Constitution
The devastating fire tore through the horse farm, destroying everything it touched. Picking through the wreckage, Dr. Kay Scarpetta uncovers human remains—the work of an audacious and wily killer who uses fire to mask his brutal murders. And when Scarpetta learns that her old nemesis, Carrie Grethen, has escaped from a hospital for the criminally insane and is somehow involved, the investigation becomes personal. Tragedy strikes close to home. And Scarpetta must match Grethen’s every move with one of her own to douse the inferno of evil that threatens everyone around her...
Includes an Introduction by the Author
Cornwell fans who relish her Kay Scarpetta stories for the postmortem findings will welcome this tale of twisted minds and the gory havoc they cause. Acronym fans will also be pleased. This tale opens with the complete destruction by fire of a Virginia horse farm, the owner of which was said to be in London. As consultant to the FBI and the ATF's NRT (that's the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms' National Response Team), Scarpetta joins the investigation on site and discovers some remains of a young woman in the master bath. Although the origin of the fire remains a mystery, research turns up two similar unsolved incidents from years earlier, female victims who were dead before the accompanying conflagration. Another fire disguising another murder, and the escape of Carrie Grethen, evil woman partner of Scarpetta's now dead archenemy Temple Gault, from a New York City hospital for the criminally insane, ups Scarpetta's anxiety level about both her beloved, brilliant niece, Lucy, who was seduced by Grethen in The Body Farm, and her lover, psychological profiler Benton Wesley. A third fire covers a third personally devastating death before Scarpetta is able to finger Grethen's new diabolical partner and survive a harrowing finale in a helicopter. Although Cornwell repeatedly tells us how anxious, strung out or devastated Scarpetta feels in the face of Grethen's evil threats, there's very little dramatization of these powerfully emotional conditions. The author is convincing mainly in the delivery of chilling forensic details. One million first printing; $750,000 ad/promo; Literary Guild, Doubleday Book Club and Mystery Guild main selections; simultaneous Putnam Berkley audio.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Point of Origin
I don’t want to give any spoilers
To P. Cornwell,
The book was great, THAT ONE THING that happened to THAT ONE PERSON.
otherwise, I loved the book.
Point of origin
Great read. Had a hard time putting it down. Recommend this book to all who enjoy suspense.