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Author Patricia Cornwell

Preloved, hardcover first edition 2005.

Dust jacket is worn and folded in places.

Florida is full of predators, from the animals who thrive in its humid heat to the humans who stalk the air-conditioned malls, and they all give Dr Kay Scarpetta, now Director of Forensic Science and Medicine at the National Forensic Academy, the opportunity and the means to do what she does best - persuading the dead to speak to her.

In the icy chill of Boston, Benton Wesley is working on a secret project involving convicted killers, one of whom appears to confess to an even higher number of murders than the authorities had known about. It is a project that gives Scarpetta deep disquiet, as does the behaviour of her niece Lucy, who is spending too much time drinking and indulging in casual pick-ups in cheap bars.

The Academy is called in to assist in the discovery of a young woman's remains in Massachusetts. She has been tortured, sexually abused, her body tattooed with handprints. The same sort of handprints Lucy had seen on the flesh of her latest pick-up. Meanwhile, Scarpetta and Marino are investigating the disappearance of a family in Florida. A neighbour had appealed to them directly, insisting that the local police were not taking the case seriously. But as they search and find the tell-tale signs of abduction rather than disappearance, they also discover that someone had assumed the identity of the caller, and she is now dead. They've been set up. And it becomes terrifyingly clear that somebody is tracking their every move.

With her unique combination of high-powered storytelling and formidable forensic knowledge, Patricia Cornwell has again created a novel that is intriguing, chilling and forcefully readable.

Predator ~ Patricia Cornwell

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