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From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

On the same day she receives a mystifying video e-mail about an American anthropologist missing in Canada, Kay Scarpetta retrieves a woman's body from Massachusetts Bay (after disentangling it from a massive sea turtle) and testifies at the trial of a billionaire industrialist accused of murdering his missing wife. Disparate cases tend to connect in crime fiction, and soon Scarpetta with her chief investigator, Pete Marino, temporarily sidelined is searching for what her husband, FBI profiler Benton Wesley, believes to be a serial killer. Unfortunately, one of the cases doesn't quite fit the pattern. And then there's Scarpetta herself, now feeling both her age and some friction in her marriage. She's gazing appreciatively at younger men, including her newly hired deputy at the Cambridge Forensic Center, Dr. Luke Zenner, while Wesley admits that his younger female partner is in love with him and has tried to lure him to bed. Which distracts Scarpetta when the killer, inevitably, targets her. Cornwell's forensics are fine, but she still seems to be struggling to recover the freshness and verve that formerly distinguished the Scarpetta series. Longtime fans may not be bothered, but others may find reading this more a duty than a pleasure. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: As the twentieth entry in the Kay Scarpetta series, this is bound to be promoted heavily. Shortcomings aside, it extends the personal stories of a handful of characters whom fans have followed for years.--Leber, Michele Copyright 2010 Booklist