Although this is the third book from the Kay Scarpetta series, this is my first review in this blog, since I read the first two in a French translation and reviewed them on my blog in French (www.parlons-bouquins.com). It turns out this is the best of the three I have read so far…

Dr. Kay Scarpetta has been baffled by four related cases, that occurred over two years, in which young couples disappeared and turned up dead months afterwards. First their cars were found, and later the corpses, already badly decomposed, turned up in neighboring woods. Unfortunately, because of the state of the bodies, Kay was unable to determine the cause of death in each case, which did not simplify the investigation.

As the daughter of Pat Harvey, the National Drug Policy Director, disappears on a Labor Day with her boyfriend, the pressure to find answers increases, but Kay’s and Marino’s efforts are hampered by Benton Wesley and the whole FBI behind him. Some clues are not shared with Kay, bodies are tampered with, etc. As Kay wonders what the FBI could be covering up, she meets her journalist friend, Abby Turnbull, who has a very paranoid behavior. She is writing a piece on the couple murders and pretends that she is being spied on…

As she is trying to find a clue to the identity of the mysterious couples killer, Kay must also discover why she must keep her autopsy reports from the family of the victims for as long as possible. On a personal level, she is trying to deal with the fact that she still misses her ex-boyfriend Mark, who asked to be assigned in Colorado to put some distance between them.

As I said, this is my favorite Kay Scarpetta novel so far. The suspense is maintained throughout the book, the story is believable, and (this is what I like with the TV series CSI, for instance), Patricia Cornwell subtly shows how forensic sciences can sometimes yield false or inconclusive results in the absence of other data. I was just surprised by the intervention of the psychic (I would prefer to stick with a scientific investigation), and this is the second book out of three in which Cornwell mention psychic things such as people’s "auras", which I have a hard time believing in. On second thoughts, since Cornwell gets her inspiration from her professional experience, maybe she mentioned the recourse to a psychic because it is a frequent reality in these kinds of investigations… Like with other series (the Lynley/Havers series from Elizabeth George comes to  mind) I am becoming fond of the characters, and I am looking forward to read about them again in the next installment…

Rating: 4/5