Dr Kay Scarpetta is called to investigate a fire where arson is suspected, at the home of a wealthy media magnate who just happened to have been out of town. A body of a woman is discovered in the ruins of the house, and by chance it is in a good enough state for some useful post-mortem analysis to reveal that she was killed before the fire started. As this investigation progresses, a psychopath who Scarpetta previously helped put behind bars escapes, and is most likely going to attempt some kind of revenge.
This book was read by Lorelei King, who read Guardian Angel. Both books are written in the first person, so her reading put me off a bit for a while, because I couldn't get that other tiresome character out of my head.
I think I've read a Scarpetta book before and liked it so was a bit disappointed with this one. Perhaps it would have helped if I'd read the book in which the aforementioned psychopath was caught (I'm assuming there was one). But this story rumbled along without getting particularly exciting or interesting. Maybe it would have been better if the book had focused on the post-mortem analysis, and I'm sure there would be scope for arson investigation to be interesting, but instead it turned into a rather pedestrian serial killer plot, with a loony ghoul who cut peoples faces off before incinerating the evidence.
Rather strangely, there was no direct confrontation between Scarpetta and the killer: at the end of the book she works out who's the culprit, who appears to get his come-uppance, but in a way that makes you think "aha, I bet that that was some sort of bluff; there's going to be an epilogue where the killer springs out when least expected.". But there wasn't. Maybe that'll happen in the next book. But I'm not really inclined to read it and find out.
Completed : 18-Nov-2005 (audiobook, read by Lorelei King)