Kay Scarpetta is back home in Virginia and resuming her long prior role of Chief Medical Examiner in Virginia, but things are very different now. She’s inheriting the staff of the prior ME, and it quickly becomes clear that some hold an allegiance to him, to her detriment.
As Kay is wrapping up a long day in the office with plans to head home to Lucy’s birthday party, her secretary stops her and tells her she needs to meet with a local investigator. Upon doing so she learns of a missing woman, a scientist working on classified work for the government, and Marino’s reclusive neighbor, may in fact be the body that is in the morgue now – the unknown victim of a homicide near the railroad tracks from several days ago.
Much has changed in the lives of those around her – Marino has married Kay’s sister Dorothy, and Lucy has returned home after her own personal tragedy, with all making the move back to Virginia w/ Kay & Benton Wesley. With her new position still so tenuous, Marino feels she needs some support, and Kay dubs him her Forensic Operations Specialist, thereby giving him access to case information and the opportunity to investigate once more.
As Kay continues her attempts to positively ID the body in the morgue, a similar case from the recent past catches her attention. Initially classified as a drowning by her predecessor, a review of the case hints strongly at homicide. This case was swept under the rug – but why?
Then Kay and Benton are summoned to the White House to meet with the President over a disaster unfolding in a top-secret lab in space, which is purported to be some type of attack by the surviving astronaut – but the visuals sent from a rescue team are not congruent with the description of events.
As Kay and her crew slowly put the pieces together, they discover a cunning team set to steal secrets from the US – but Kay also discovers that danger is much closer to home than any of them could have imagined…
I have been reading Patricia Cornwell’s Scarpetta novels since I was a teenager and I was delighted to be offered this sneak preview! This novel was as good as it gets, although I did feel like the wrap up and ending, while satisfying, just came on so abruptly that one still feels like something is missing. A great read, otherwise!!
I received this book as an Advance Reader Copy from #Netgalley & William Morrow & Custom House, in exchange for an objective review.