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From Barnes & NobleOur Review
A Violent Present and a Haunting Past
Patricia Cornwell's thrilling latest, The Last Precinct, begins just after last year's megaselling Black Notice concludes. In Black Notice, Cornwell's famous chief medical examiner, Kay Scarpetta, narrowly escapes from a savage French serial killer named Jean-Baptiste Chandonne. What Scarpetta doesn't realize is that, although the freakish, werewolflike Chandonne is now in police custody, she is still under his control.
In The Last Precinct, the tables are turned when Kay is suspected in the nauseatingly gruesome murder of Deputy Police Chief Diane Bray. Before she can begin to save what she holds dearest (her reputation), she must battle some demons of her own; only then can she be objective enough to find the clues needed to clear her own name and make sure the monster who tried to kill her can never kill again.
As the clues begin to pile up, Kay discovers that Bray's murder, among others, goes far deeper than anyone realized. The scope of the Chandonne crime family's power also becomes evident. As always, Scarpetta depends on cop Pete Marino and her niece, Lucy, but Scarpetta also finds herself forced to trust Jaime Berger, a prosecutor from New York, when she learns her biggest lesson: No one can be trusted when dealing with a family that uses money and murder to get anything -- and anyone -- they want.
While Kay is moving forward with her investigation, she begins to receive crank phone calls from someone claiming to be Benton Wesley, Scarpetta's one true love, who died over a year ago. Kay is now forced to painfully return Benton to the forefront of her consciousness; somehow his murder ties into Kay's current situation and the clues she is now discovering. But the surprising connections don't end there: Pete Marino's own son, whom he disowned years ago, is also suddenly part of the picture.
There is one thing Cornwell makes clear in this brisk, cleverly constructed thriller, which even lays claim to an archaeological dig in the historic Jamestown colony: The past does not always remain in the past. Considering the way the serial killer is apprehended at the very beginnings of The Last Precinct, it's amazing that Cornwell is able to keep the suspense so high as her seemingly simple story slowly unfolds into deep complexity. The Last Precinct always remains two steps ahead until the fingernail-biting finale; there's no question that Cornwell has earned herself another bestseller.