Emily Steiner, an 11-year-old in rural North Carolina, has been found dead, and it appears to be the work of serial killer Temple Gaunt. However, when Scarpetta, Marino and Wesley go to the town to investigate, things are not as they seem. Scarpetta’s niece, Lucy, is in training for the FBI, but it appears that she has broken into and sabotaged some of their highly classified computer stuff. Scarpetta wants to believe that Lucy is innocent, however the evidence seems strong.
Whilst I giggle at the obsolete nature of the computer talk, I really enjoyed this subplot. Lucy is a great character and if she were not in Scarpetta’s life, Scarpetta would have almost no personal relationships outside of work. The idea that their personal and professional lives are starting to overlap could have been a problem except that the relationship has been well and truly set up.
The twists involved in this were excellent – whilst it quickly became obvious that the key suspects were innocent, it took quite some time to reveal who the guilty party was.