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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Cornwell is back, and in a big way! Kay Scarpetta has never been so sharp and on top of things, and murder has never been more foul. Patricia Cornwell returns to familiar ground with another Kay Scarpetta novel, sure to delight fans of her previous novels as well as to draw in a whole slew of new readers. This is top-notch blockbuster fiction, wrapped up with strong character development and superb suspense. A treat for readers, Cornwell's fiction manages to combine the best of both the thriller and mystery genres, and here, with "Point of Origin" she rockets into the stratosphere with her best work yet.
Kay Scarpetta, to those unfamiliar with Cornwell's most complex and intriguing character, is the Chief Medical Examiner for the state of Virginia. Operating out of Richmond, Scarpetta receives an extremely threatening letter from a disturbed woman named Carrie Grethen. Readers familiar with Scarpetta's previous dealings in Cornwell novels will recognize Carrie from THE BODY FARM. Carrie Grethen is currently in a psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane. In her letter, she indicates that both Kay Scarpetta and possibly her niece Lucy are somehow bound up in one of Carrie's twisted schemes. To recap for Scarpetta newcomers, Lucy was Carrie's lover before Carrie's true psychopathic nature reared its ugly head. Kay ended up killing Carrie's partner-in-crime, Temple Gault, and not a night goes by that she doesn't relive that moment. Carrie may be incarcerated, but she has managed to touch Scarpetta's life in a creepy way, and Carrie's threatening letter only adds to herdistress,arriving right before Kay and her lover Benton Wesley are due to go off for their first vacation together in more than a year. Benton knows it spells trouble, but Kay ignores the implication of the letter.
Just before she's about to take off with Wesley to Hilton Head, Kay is called in on an emergency case. Up north, in Warrenton, Virginia, a horse farm has just burned to the ground. Racehorses worth millions died in the blaze, and the media mogul Kenneth Sparke also may have perished in the fire. But when Kay arrives, joined by Lucy, there is more at the scene of the crime than dead animals. Someone was burned, fully clothed, in the shower of the rich man's house. A young woman, glass seared into her flesh, is the only human corpse recovered.
But as the story progresses, other surprises are in store for Kay. Kenneth Sparke is alive and well, apparently having no knowledge of why anyone would destroy his ranch, although he suspects it was a racially motivated attack. After the arson investigation is under way, Kay hears the news that Carrie has escaped from the psychiatric hospital. Kay's first concern is for her lover. She reaches Wesley by phone on Hilton Head Island, worried that Carrie will try to hunt him down there because of his involvement in bringing her to justice. As the plot twists tighter and tighter, terrifying and shattering secrets are revealed, and Kay finds herself on the trail of a truly nightmarish psychopathic killer.
Patricia Cornwell is at the top of her form with POINT OF ORIGIN. The suspense is high wire, a taut, haunting story of family, love, and murder. No one does it better than Cornwell in the thrills department, and Kay Scarpetta proves, once again, to be the smartest, classiest woman in fiction. Patricia Cornwell has another hit on her hands.