Now freelancing from south Florida, Dr. Kay Scarpetta returns to her old haunts in Richmond, Virginia, only to encounter a host of baffling and unwelcome surprises as she investigates the death of a fourteen-year-old girl.
The new police chief of Richmond, Virginia, Judy Hammer struggles to cope with her grief over the death of her husband, political turmoil, and police corruption, as she and her deputy chief, Virginia West, and rookie Andy Brazil work to clean up a city in trouble
Attracting unwanted attentions when she is mandated to research the four-hundred-year-old murder of a Jamestown, Virginia, settler, Kay Scarpetta finds enemies among those she is sworn to protect.
Angered over the governor's order on speed traps, the eccentric inhabitants of the Isle of Tangier, off the coast of Virginia, declare war on their own state, and it is up to Judy Hammer, the new superintendent of the state police, to stop the crisis.
Florida is full of human predators, and they all give Dr Kay Scarpetta the opportunity and the means to do what she does best - persuading the dead to speak to her. And in Boston, Benton Wesley is working on a secret case involving convicted killers.