Pairs are getting murdered or at least disappeared in the wilds east of Richmond, and Kay Scarpetta starts having to look for consistencies and commonalities in otherwise seemingly unconnected crimes. When the daughter of a well-known political figure (a rising star in the Republican party) goes missing along with her boyfriend, and when that disappearance may or may not have anything to do with a local CIA training facility, we add the legal and criminal intrigue of previous books to the political ones here. It’s more Virginia feeling of the book, where Virginia (for my whole lifetime) lives in the shadow of Washington DC.
For the first time in three book, Cornwell resists the temptation to put homophobic slurs in more than one of her characters’ mouths. Even her perennial anti-gay cop is more muted this book. That means the book is more readable and less inciting on this and it means I enjoyed it more. A reminder to myself that the reason I keep persisting in reading these book is that they are based around where I live, and for someone who always gets excited when places I’ve lived get mentioned in media, it’s a little satisfying here.
“When you’re going through something like this, you don’t know what you’re doing, even if you think you do. And no one can really understand what it’s like unless they’ve suffered the same thing. You feel isolated. You go places and people avoid you, are afraid to meet your eyes and make conversation because they don’t know what to say. So they whisper to each other … You feel as if you’re living inside a cave. You’re afraid to be alone, afraid to be with others, afraid to be awake, and afraid to go to sleep because of how awful it feels when morning comes. You run like hell and wear yourself out. As I look back, I can see that everything I’ve done since Henna died was half crazy.”