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In the quiet of twilight, on an early autumn day, 26-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 10th poem arrives exactly 24 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".
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Tracey Klemen on 05-09-17
Could not get through this book
I am a huge Patricia Cornwell - Scarpetta series fan but I could not get through the rest of this book after listening to the first two hours of it.
The narrator had Kay Scarpetta sounding dense, snotty, irritated and like she had a stick shoved up her behind from the first chapter. There was zero warmth, humour or real humanity in the portrayal of Dr. Scarpetta in this rendition. Marino sounded like a buffoon with a stereotypical accent and I could not get past the repetitive nattering at one another before even getting to the crime scene.
The lead into the main plot dragged on and on but did not create suspense and urgency, only irritation. Sadly this narrator did not do Kay or any of the other very human characters who I have grown to love over the past 15 years justice. I'm turned off and won't turn on again. My least favourite of all of Patricia Cornwells novels and I was done with it before it got started.