Patricia Cornwell's novels about Kay Scarpetta, forensic pathologist and nemesis of arrogant criminals, have long since become one of those series which admirers buy automatically, knowing and liking what they are going to get. For once, Scarpetta is learning, as well as lecturing, as she finds herself involved with a series of deaths by fire, and a killer who has learned to make her job difficult. The series' running villainess, the charming malign Carrie Grethen, once the lover of Scarpetta's niece, has escaped from custody with vengeance on her mind. Cornwell's own troubles of recent years find an echo in Carrie's media offensive--Holmes never had to cope with Moriarty writing to The Times
to say that it was all a frame-up...
As always, the strong point of Patricia Cornwell's books is less the plotting than the exposition of technical details. She has the gift of fascinating with apparent trivia--just what are the metal shavings and clumps of ash caught in the victims' hair?--that turn out to lead in to the stuff of nightmares. Cornwell's reinvention of the forensic thriller combines expertise with anger at the inventiveness of human evil. --Roz Kaveney
“Imitators now abound, but – pathologically speaking – nobody does it like Cornwell”
“the best of Cornwell’s novels”