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#1 New York Times bestselling author Patricia Cornwell returns with the remarkable twenty-fourth thriller in her popular high-stakes series starring medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta.

In the quiet of twilight, on an early autumn day, twenty-six-year-old Elisa Vandersteel is killed while riding her bicycle along the Charles River. It appears she was struck by lightning—except the weather is perfectly clear with not a cloud in sight. Dr. Kay Scarpetta, the Cambridge Forensic Center’s director and chief, decides at the scene that this is no accidental Act of God.

Her investigation becomes complicated when she begins receiving a flurry of bizarre poems from an anonymous cyberbully who calls himself Tailend Charlie. Though subsequent lab results support Scarpetta’s conclusions, the threatening messages don’t stop. When the tenth poem arrives exactly twenty-four hours after Elisa’s death, Scarpetta begins to suspect the harasser is involved, and sounds the alarm to her investigative partner Pete Marino and her husband, FBI analyst Benton Wesley.

She also enlists the help of her niece, Lucy. But to Scarpetta’s surprise, tracking the slippery Tailend Charlie is nearly impossible, even for someone as brilliant as her niece. Also, Lucy can’t explain how this anonymous nemesis could have access to private information. To make matters worse, a venomous media is whipping the public into a frenzy, questioning the seasoned forensics chief’s judgment and "a quack cause of death on a par with spontaneous combustion."

Edition Language:English
Format Type:ebook
Number of Pages:400 pages

    Chaos Reviews

  • Liz Barnsley
    Oct 19, 2016

    Ok I've marked it as read but I've only read about 15% not even quite that. I don't know what this is but its nothing like a story. Garbled nonsense. It took me ages to work out what was actually HAPP...

  • Roman Clodia
    Oct 07, 2016

    This is chaotic, indeed, and needs some serious work to turn it into anything near an exciting read. There’s very little plot and lots of rambling so that we don’t have a dead body till 20% throug...

  • Beth Wills
    Nov 16, 2016

    I do not understand the folks who say this is fast-paced, suspenseful, engrossing...Argh. Seriously I may not even be able to finish it. Chapters and chapters of filler, of back story, of internal mon...

  • L.A. Starks
    Jan 15, 2017

    Patricia Cornwell's entire Kay Scarpetta oeuvre deserves reading, including this book. No one else writes with such verve and authority about the tales the dead tell in the autopsy suite.That said, th...

  • Jean Poulos
    Dec 04, 2016

    I keep asking myself why do I bother to continue to read this series. Cornwell has gotten into a typical pattern and the ending is easy to figure out. On the other hand, the forensic detail is most in...

  • Skip
    Jan 10, 2017

    Interestingly, to me at least, I finished Book #24 for the Alex Cross and Kay Scarpetta series within a matter of days of each other. While I am forced to reiterate my ongoing diatribe about Cornwell'...

  • Monnie
    Nov 21, 2016

    Perusing other reviews of this book, the 24th in the author's series featuring medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta, I was a bit surprised to see a few naysayers. Yes, I agree the story moves along slow...

  • Cardmaker
    Dec 31, 2016

    I think it's time for Patricia Cornwell to hang up her pen. This story is excruciatingly slow and the title describes the author's mindset while she was writing it. Cornwell has always loved describin...

  • Stephanie
    Dec 14, 2016

    This is the most disappointing, tedious, nothing-happening book I have ever read by a seasoned mystery author. If I could give it zero stars, I would.I will not belabor this review with a plot summary...

  • Nanosynergy
    Dec 15, 2016

    What saves this book for me is the forensic investigation and the science. What makes me roll my eyes (yet again) is the on-going conspiracy plots against Scarpetta and her extended family. Tiresome a...

About Patricia Cornwell

Patricia Cornwell

Patricia Cornwell sold her first novel, Postmortem, in 1990 while working as a computer analyst at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond, Virginia. Postmortem, was the first bona fide forensic thriller. It paved the way for an explosion of entertainment featuring in all things forensic across film, television and literature. Postmortem would go on to win the Edgar, Creasey, Anthony,