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by Lori Andrews

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Dr. Alexandra Blake's new job puts her at the forefront of her industry. As a geneticist at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Washington, D.C., Alex is charged with finding a vaccine against bioterrorism. But the institute's new director, bitter over losing a bid to head the FBI, decides to refocus the institute toward crime solving. Soon Alex is forced to


Dr. Alexandra Blake's new job puts her at the forefront of her industry. As a geneticist at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Washington, D.C., Alex is charged with finding a vaccine against bioterrorism. But the institute's new director, bitter over losing a bid to head the FBI, decides to refocus the institute toward crime solving. Soon Alex is forced to put her research on hold and cover forensics on a gruesome series of murders.

Across the country, women near military bases are turning up dead, their corpses covered in strange tattoos. The more Alex studies the case, the more disturbing questions she has about the killer's motives. And when a new headline-making murder strikes particularly close to home, suddenly everyone around Alex—her boss, the Feds, even her congressman boyfriend—becomes suspect. Now it's up to her to succeed where forensics fail, and Alex will risk everything to trace the enemy…or die trying.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
At the start of this uneven debut thriller from Andrews, a lawyer and biotechnology expert with a high media profile, geneticist Alexandra Blake is working on developing a vaccine against infectious diseases for the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) in Washington, D.C., when her unit is drafted to deal with a serial killer targeting military bases. Blake's professional life gets even more complicated after her new boyfriend, David Thorne, a maverick Texas congressman, becomes a suspect in the murder of Ted Devon, the ex-husband of Thorne's ex-lover, Gloria Devon (a former senator just named as the FBI's first female director). Flat, sometimes simplistic prose ("Alex guessed that if your job was to help run the country, nothing was too big or small to think about") and Blake's unconvincing transformation into an action heroine suggest that the author is still learning her craft. Hopefully, Andrews will do a better storytelling job in the sequel. Author tour. (June) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In her first attempt at fiction, biotechnologies and genetics expert Andrews writes about what she knows. Geneticist Alexandra Blake has accepted a two-year appointment at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) in the hopes of finding the genetic origin of the Spanish Flu. When the case of a serial killer is transferred to the AFIP, she is named forensic expert. At first reluctant to be dragged away from her research, Blake quickly becomes engrossed in finding the killer-until the killer decides she has gotten too close. Writing in a breezy style that is neither too technical nor too gory, Andrews succeeds in creating a likable character, though Blake's transformation from geeky geneticist to forensic warrior seems a bit speedy. Several other plot lines detract from the main story rather than enhance it. Andrews is no Patricia Cornwell or Kathy Reichs, but given time to hone her craft, she may provide readers with another gutsy forensic female to enjoy for years to come. Recommended for popular fiction collections, especially where forensic thrillers are in demand.-Nanci Milone Hill, Nevins Memorial Lib., Methuen, MA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A suspenseful first novel from biotechnologist and nonfiction author Andrews (Body Bazaar, 2001, etc.) offers within a workmanlike plot an insiders' look into the armed-services pathology lab. A serial killer is on the loose, strangling and raping women and then tattooing their breasts, until the death of one high-profile victim, and friend of President Bradley Cotter himself, drives the government into action. The Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) handles forensics work for the military, and its arrogant new head, Colonel Jack Wiatt, assigns geneticist Dr. Alex Blake to head the "Tattoo Killer" team. Thirty-something, "beguiling" but not intellectual, the child of a Vietnam vet killed in action, Alex is a dedicated sequencer of DNA, but resentful of being forced to take on the strangler case. Alex is at loose ends after struggling through an unraveled relationship, and fed up with the sexism that seems to be endemic to her line of work. But she forges on and employs her detective powers, discovering, for instance, that the killer used a cherry-flavored condom; more difficult is demonstrating to Wiatt that she is a team player. In fact, Alex spends much of her time testifying in front of a congressional committee defending the beleaguered AFIP, where she meets the handsome bachelor congressman from Texas, David Thorne, himself on the rebound from his failed relationship with an older, divorced senator. On a hunch, Alex suggests that the armed-forces genetic pool be tested against a specimen from the killer, and the result points to Admiral Kenneth Mason, who turns out to have the same creepy tattoo on his breast. But while the DNA isn't exact, it is overlapping-meaning a relativemight be involved. Andrews attempts to bring out the human story behind Alex's work-developing her friendship with colleague Barbara and her deaf teenaged daughter, Lana-though the author is more skillful at handling the political and technical aspects of her story, such as backroom wheeling-and-dealing in the Rayburn House Office Building. Dedicated readers may relish exploring this unusual branch of the military, but not necessarily the impersonal story in which it's couched.

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Dr. Alexandra Blake Novels Series
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
6.41(w) x 9.54(h) x 1.01(d)

Read an Excerpt


By Andrews, Lori

St. Martin's Minotaur

Copyright © 2006 Andrews, Lori
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0312352700

Chapter One

The click of the key card eased his late-night entrance into the Wilmont Suite at the Au Contraire Resort in San Diego. Built three years earlier for the spa crowd, the castle-towered resort was now a favorite of high-end business travelers. The same discretion that attracted wealthy stars who were drying out, slimming down, or simply ducking their spouses appealed as well to deal makers who wanted to negotiate potential takeovers---or choose a new CEO---outside journalists' glare or brokers' speculation.

Wisps of moonlight illuminated the room through the beveled glass that led to the suite's private garden. He set down his faded cotton duffel bag next to her monogrammed Louis Vuitton hatbox, right inside the door. As he passed the antique coatrack, the scent of her perfume radiated from the embroidered burgundy shawl hanging from one of the pegs.

The door to the bedroom was ajar, and he stood in the entryway for a moment, tongue darting over his top lip. The tousled sheet that covered her sleeping body dipped below one breast, exposing its compact shape and tender nipple. Her short dark hair spiked in all directions, punk rock--style. Quite a contrast to the buttoned-up photo of her in last month's Forbes.

The hum of the ceiling fan disguised his approach.He began to pull the sheet gently back. She stirred slightly but didn't awaken. He bent over her, staring intently at her face as a tiny furrow creased her forehead. A bad dream perhaps?

He dipped his head down and lightly licked her inviting nipple. The furrow vanished. Then he raked his top teeth gently over the nipple and her eyes squinted open.

Her mouth formed a scream, but his hands were quicker. Within seconds, he slid his fingers behind her neck, thumbs positioned in front. He rocked the weight of his body forward with 180 pounds of pressure on her fragile windpipe. A small thwack, like the sound of a light being extinguished, signaled that he'd crushed her trachea. Her head fell violently to the side and he began to whistle.

He returned to the living room for his duffel bag, threw it on the bed next to her, and unzipped it. The Crystal Method song didn't lend itself to whistling. Few techno songs did. But he continued forming the discordant notes. Accustomed to being alone, he'd stopped noticing that his tastes were far different from most people's.

With a strong tug, he unpeeled the sheet, exposing her entire body. He looked intently over her, cataloging each slope and nook of her frame. Her wrists were exceedingly thin, he thought, and her earlobes asymmetrical.

Once he had memorized her form, he took an antibacterial wipe from the bag and cleaned off the breast he had licked.

Then he began his work.

Copyright © 2006 by Lori Andrews


Excerpted from Sequence by Andrews, Lori Copyright © 2006 by Andrews, Lori. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

LORI ANDREWS is a nationally renowned expert on law and genetics, and was listed as one of the 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America by the National Law Journal. The director of the Institute for Science, Law, and Technology at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Lori is also an award-winning journalist and nonfiction author who is a frequent guest on "Oprah," "Nightline," "60 Minutes," and "CBS Morning News,"among other media outlets. She lives in Chicago. Visit her website at www.loriandrews.com.

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