With this novel, bestselling author Patricia Cornwell created one of crime fiction’s most compelling heroines: gutsy medical examiner Kay Scarpetta. Cornwell’s gift for combining cutting edge criminology with nerve-shattering suspense makes this book a true modern classic. Under cover of night in Richmond, Virginia, a human monster strikes, leaving a gruesome trail of stranglings that has paralyzed the city. Medical examiner Kay Scarpetta suspects the worst: a deliberate campaign by a brilliant serial killer whose signature offers precious few clues. With an unerring eye, she calls on the latest advances in forensic research to unmask the madman. But this investigation will test Kay like no other, because it’s being sabotaged from within—and someone wants her dead.