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Publisher's Summary

Leaving behind her private forensic pathology practice in Charleston, South Carolina, Kay Scarpetta accepts an assignment in New York City, where the NYPD has asked her to examine an injured man on Bellevue Hospital's psychiatric prison ward. The handcuffed and chained patient, Oscar Bane, has specifically asked for her, and when she 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...that 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 between 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, and much, much too close to home.

Throughout, Cornwell delivers shocking twists and turns, and the kind of cutting-edge technology that only she can provide. Once again, she proves her exceptional ability to entertain and enthrall.

©2008 Patricia Cornwell (P)2008 Penguin Audiobooks

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  • Overall

Don't waste your money

Slow, boring plot. The Cornwell of old is gone. I have been a big fan of hers for years, but its time to move on.

37 of 39 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Karen
  • Oceanport, NJ, United States
  • 02-24-09

Unbelievably Boring

I hadn't read a Patricia Cornell book in several years, just lost interest and got involved with other authors. I was looking for a nice long mystery download, and thought I'd try an author I was already familiar with. I kept waiting for something even slightly compelling to happen, and even through the "climax" of the story (utterly predictable), it was one long snooze. So disappointing, the book was just formulaic and boring from beginning to end. And why get "little people" involved? How was that relevant? Ihe "Shrew" character was confusing, I nothing seemed to connect to anything else , everyone seems way too forgiving of an attempted sexual assault, the book was a mess. I think Cornwell has completely run out of passion and fresh ideas, and possibly had a hefty mortgage payment coming up. What a disappointment and waste of a selection.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Suzn F
  • Fletcher, VT, US
  • 01-21-09

Marino Mellow?

Another Scarpetta story that was a fun mystery. I was engaged throughout, I liked the plot. However, I have a few complaints which would warrant a 3.5 from me if I could. I found the annoying "subliminal" "scary" background organ sounds, (who thought that was a good idea?)so distracting.
I am also so tired of the main characters' enormous egos with their constant petty bickering; I find that predictable, banal and bothersome.
Otherwise entertaining book/ kept my interest.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Joan
  • Swamp Yankee
  • 11-03-09

Lucy's Voice??

Along with the other listeners, I cannot believe the hash that was made of the voices on this recording. Most shocking to me was Lucy, who sounded as if she was a 350lb chronic smoker with a beard..what was that about??? If that's how the director thought (or the reader thought) lesbians should be portrayed, well, then Ms. P I pray you have fired them with prejudice..since they are. The plot was thin, at best and I find Kay's constant struggle with Lucy's gayness and with Benson's job to be really a bit old at this point. Time to go back and get to work. The only positive thing I can say is that Marino finally developed beyond his hate/hate relationship with himself and the people who care about him, so I can hope we do not have to delve into that can of worms again. I have been a fan since day one and would really like to see a return to the days when we were not involved in a soap opera, and the "bad guys" weren't cut out characters from "Mystery-Writer's Book of Bad Guys for Idiots" Come on Ms. P. I am buying one more, and then I will bid you a sad sad adieu.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


I like most of Scarpetta's stories, but this one has long boring dialogue. I couldn't continue, just wasted a credit.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Scott
  • Wellston, OK, United States
  • 01-23-09

Horrible Reader

This may have been a good book, but was so poorly read I lost my way many a time; and I listen to 3 books a week on average. So poor in fact this is my first review ever of a book I have listened to. Save your money and buy the actual book if you are a fan.

16 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

please go back to basics

I LOVE Patricia Cornwell, but I am so tired of the trend her books are taking. If Kay Scarpetta is her alter ego, Ms. Cornwell is a little self-absorbed. No really, are all evil mastermind criminals intent on destroying a certain medical examiner for no apparent reason? Are you feeling persecuted for some reason, Ms. Cornwell. Please make your books about the science and the people, and not about some paranoid fantasy come true. But I nonetheless enjoy revisiting many of your characters. Just try to get back to basics and pull your writing back from the edge of the land of make believe.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Jury is out on this one for me

This was my first Scarpetta novel and maybe my last. I think what irritated me most aside from the narration was the closeness of the names Benton/Berger - Marino/Morales - it made it tedious listening. The villain was relatively straightforward to spot. Overall I felt it was really spoiled by the narration.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Scarpetta Taking a Down Turn

I was disappointed with this one. Too much lesbian focus to suit my heterosexual taste for Benton and Scarpetta's 'finally together' mode. Plot was nice enough, but the culprit I could see almost immediately....hope the next one out is better....

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Michael
  • Silver Spring , MD, USA
  • 02-02-09


I had never read or listened to a Scarpetta novel before, nor will I again. The story is total nonsense; the forensic facts that are thrown in to make the story interesting are totally transparent, but interesting. The accents of the characters are really phony and unenjoyable. I am only listening to the end because I paid for it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful