It's Christmastime in Richmond, Virginia, but no one seems merry--least of all Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta, back for her 10th outing as a crime-solving coroner. Actress Kate Reading also returns, reading her third unabridged audio for Patricia Cornwell's death-drenched series. This one finds Scarpetta still recovering from the murder of her lover and in a generally foul mood as an investigation of a badly decomposed body leads her to INTERPOL, and eventually, Paris. Series regulars Police Detective Pete Marino, recently demoted, and niece Lucy are in equally cantankerous states of mind, resulting in more blue language than Cornwell regulars may be used to. Reading proves she's up to the task, maintaining multiple distinct voices and highlighting the occasional humor in the overwhelmingly dark novel. A London-based stage actress, she captivates the listener without careening into melodrama. (Running time: 12.5 hours, 8 cassettes) --Kimberly Heinrichs
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
It's like a splash of cold water on a hot day to be plunged, after the irritating third-person satire of Cornwell's last novel, Southern Cross (1998), back into the bracing narration of medical examiner Kay Scarpetta. As in the nine Scarpettas past (Point of Origin, etc.), here it's not the novel's events, startling as they are, that propel the story so much as the deep-hearted responses of Kay, as real a hero as any in thriller fiction, to the "evil"Aher wordAthat threatens. Evil wears several faces here, from petty to monstrous. Most insidious is the office sabotageAinsubordination, thefts, fraudulent e-mailsAthat's making the grieving Kay look as if she's lost her grip since her lover's murder in Point of Origin. More destructive are the overt attempts by calculating Richmond, Va., deputy police chief Diane Bray to ruin Kay's career as well as that of Kay's old friend, Capt. Pete Marino. Then there's the wild rage at life that's consuming Kay's niece, a DEA agent. FinallyAthe plot wire that binds the sometimes scattered plotAthere are the mutilation killings by the French serial killer self-styled "Loup-Garou"Awerewolf. The forensic sequences boom with authority; the brief action sequences explode on the pageAin the finale, overbearingly so; the interplay between Kay and Marino is boisterous as always, and there's an atmospheric sidetrip to Paris and an affecting romantic misadventure for lonely Kay. A thunderhead of disquietude hangs over this compulsively readable novel, sometimes loosing storms of suspense; but to Cornwell's considerable credit, the unease arises ultimately not from the steady potential for violence, but from a more profound horror: the vulnerability of a good woman like Kay to a world beset by the corrupt, the cruel, the demonic. One million first printing; $750,000 ad/promo; Literary Guild, Doubleday Book Club and Mystery Guild main selections; unabridged and abridged audio versions; foreign rights sold in eight countries.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to the