Kay Scarpetta #19
This was another very good offering from Patricia Cornwell. It is more like the earlier Scarpetta novels in that it revolves most heavily around the mystery and the science and is less concerned about the lives, loves and psychoses of the main characters. I’ve read the previous eighteen books in this series and have the twentieth on the to-be-read list. I recommend it highly, although if you have never read a Scarpetta novel, I’d suggest picking up one or more of the early ones to get a feel for the recurring characters first.
This book starts out with Kay actually functioning as a private citizen as opposed to her normal roles as a very public person. But she soon begins to realize that the trip she has chosen to take was not really her own idea. She has been manipulated into a position by people taking advantage of how well they know her.
She finds herself at the Georgia Prison for Women, visiting with an inmate who slips her a note as the visit is ending. Kay realizes at once that she has been set up but goes along with the written request to call Jamie Berger, a former colleague and friend, from a pay phone largely because she wants an explanation. Kay is good and angry and wants to know what is going on.
She arrives at Jamie’s place later that day and does not find Jamie there, but is greeted by Pete Marino. It seems Jamie has discovered that an inmate on death row at the prison is actually innocent. And she is going to revive her flagging career by getting the woman released. The cloak and dagger nonsense used to get Kay to the prison and into the area forensic lab was deemed necessary by Jamie and Marino because the real murderers were not all apprehended and could be a danger to them all.
As Kay follows the evidence from the 2002 murders of an entire family, she begins to realize that Jamie is absolutely right about the wrong woman having been convicted. And Kay stumbles upon the missing link, nearly getting herself killed in the process of determining who the real killers were.
The bad guys are apprehended, the good guys put their bags into Lucy’s helicopter and fly back to the Northeast to pick up their lives, loves and psychoses.