The eleventh Scarpetta novel, in which the Chief Medical Examiner is under a Grand Jury investigation for murder. She knows she's being framed and she no longer knows who she can trust...Physically and psychologically bruised by her encounter with the killer Chandonne, Dr Kay Scarpetta has to leave her home in the hands of the police team investigating the attack. She finds shelter with an old friend, Anna Zenner, but it is not the haven of security she needs when she discovers that Anna has been sub-poenaed to appear before a Grand Jury which is investigating Scarpetta for murder. Kay knows she is being framed and she also knows she can trust no-one. Meanwhile it appears that Chandonne killed a woman in New York before his murderous spree in Virginia, but when Scarpetta looks more closely into that case with the NY prosecutor Jaime Berger, proof of his guilt is far from certain -- in fact she begins to believe that he may not be the perpetrator of any of the crimes he is accused of. As she follows the forensic trail to the real killer she gradually realises that someone has been spinning a web for years with the aim of entrapping her. Who is it, and why are they so desperate to be rid of her?
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Patricia Cornwell's legendary crime fiction creation, Virginia's Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta, has logged a host of fans among mystery readers and, within the bounds of her fictional world, an equally impressive tally of individuals intent on causing her grievous physical or psychological harm.
The 11th Scarpetta novel, The Last Precinct, doesn't add any new names to the second roster. Instead, in a sweeping narrative gesture toward retrospection (less-than-fervent fans might whisper "or stagnation"), the novel depends largely on ground already covered in its predecessors, Black Notice and, to a lesser extent, Point of Origin. All the familiar faces--friend and foe--are here: police captain Marino, Kay's niece Lucy, the so-called Werewolf murderer, and (in memoriam) Kay's lover Benton Wesley and his killer, Carrie Grethen. Kay, who nearly killed the Werewolf in self-defense as Black Notice came to a close, now finds herself the target of a corrupt police investigation that will dredge her darkest secrets from the deepest corners of her past.
Torn between a desire to clear her name and the instinct of a wounded animal to turn against even its would-be rescuers, Kay sifts through the forensic evidence that seems to link Chandonne to other horrific events in her past, up to and including Wesley's murder. Physical analysis, however, will not be enough to right her up-ended world. Instead, Kay must rely on the strategic support of her niece, cofounder of the Last Precinct (an odd, ill-defined organization that is, in the words of its motto, "where you go when there is nowhere left"), and on her willingness to examine her own fears, misconceptions, and anything-but-altruistic motives. The most important setting in this novel is not the morgue--it's the living room where Kay's therapist forces her to address (you guessed it) "unresolved issues."
The novel's focus on Kay's emotional evolution does not, unfortunately, mask the leaps of illogic that pepper the plot's murky stew. More disturbing than these occasional lapses, however, is the feeling that Cornwell has written herself into a corner. The Scarpetta of The Last Precinct is a far cry from the irritably independent woman of previous books. Her often over-inflated musings are more tiresome than tantalizing. Cornwell's impressive track record makes this excursion a bit disappointing, but that same record means that loyal fans will race to acquire the book anyway and that the odds of her returning to her usual stellar form next time are (hurrah!) favorable. --Kelly FlynnFrom the Publisher:
12 1.5-hour cassettes
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Book Description Harpercollins Publishers, 2003. Compact Disc. Book Condition: Brand New. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # zk000715481X