It’s Dr. Kay Scarpetta’s birthday, and she’s about to head to Miami for a vacation with Benton Wesley, her FBI profiler husband, when she notices seven pennies on a wall behind their Cambridge house. Is this a kids’ game? If so, why are all of the coins dated 1981 and so shiny they could be newly minted? Her cellphone rings, and Detective Pete Marino tells her there’s been a homicide five minutes away. A high school music teacher has been shot with uncanny precision as he unloaded groceries from his car. No one has heard or seen a thing.
In this 22nd Scarpetta novel, the master forensic sleuth finds herself in the unsettling pursuit of a serial sniper who leaves no incriminating evidence except fragments of copper. The shots seem impossible, yet they are so perfect they cause instant death. The victims appear to have had nothing in common, and there is no pattern to indicate where the killer will strike next. First New Jersey, then Massachusetts, and then the murky depths off the coast of South Florida, where Scarpetta investigates a shipwreck, looking for answers that only she can discover and analyze. And it is there that she comes face to face with shocking evidence that implicates her techno genius niece, Lucy, Scarpetta’s own flesh and blood.
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Rick Cahill was never convicted of his wife's murder, but he was never exonerated either. Not by the police. Not by the media. Not even by himself. Eight years later, police suspicion and his own guilt remain over his responsibility in his wife's death. When he meets Melody Malana, a beautiful yet secretive TV reporter, he sees a chance to love again. When she is arrested for murder and asks Rick for help, the former cop says no, but the rest of him says yes and he grasps at a chance for redemption. But Rick's attempt to help turns terribly wrong, and he becomes a suspect in the murder and the target of a police manhunt. On the run, Rick encounters desperate people who'll kill to keep their pasts buried. Before Rick can save himself and bring down a murderer, he must confront the truth about his own past and untangle his feeling for a woman he can never fully trust.