As Virginia's chief medical examiner, Scarpetta uses state-of-the-art forensic science and some sleuthing on the side in an attempt to track down the man (or woman) behind the serial murders of 5 young couples who have gone missing at highway rest areas. It's clear that these murders are connected and the killer's 'calling card', the jack of hearts, is found at each site of the couples' disappearance.
Later, decomposed bodies begin to be discovered and Scarpetta is hot on the trail using her laboratory microscope to discover who is behind the murders. It is interesting to note that the crimes depicted in this novel were 'inspired' by real life murders that occurred in and around Richmond. Crimes that the author was obviously very familiar with.
This is the third book in Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta series and it is a great page-turner. Cornwell uses not only her personal experience as a crime reporter and work in a forensic lab to great advantage, she also offers mystery fans new insights into her complicated, and very intriguing, characters.
Read our biography of Patricia Cornwell.