Patricia D. Cornwell, Author . Putnam $27.95 (512p) ISBN 978-0-399-15516-1

At the start of bestseller Cornwell's plodding 16th thriller to feature Dr. Kay Scarpetta (after Book of the Dead ), the forensic pathologist—who recently relocated to Belmont, Mass., with her forensic psychologist husband—is called to Manhattan's Bellevue Hospital for reasons that don't become clear until she gets there. Oscar Bane, who voluntarily committed himself to Bellevue while denying he brutally murdered his girlfriend, refuses to speak to anyone except the high-profile Scarpetta. Bane, Scarpetta discovers, is obsessed with her. Meanwhile, someone masquerading as Scarpetta is lurking in cyberspace and supplying an online gossip site with dirty secrets about the doctor. For help on the murder case, Scarpetta turns to her computer whiz niece and a macho former colleague whose shocking actions in Book of the Dead severely damaged his relationship with Scarpetta. With a plot full of holes and frustrating red herrings, this entry falls short of the high standard set by earlier volumes in this iconic series. (Dec.)

Reviewed on: 11/24/2008
Release date: 12/01/2008
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