Postmortem by Patricia Cornwell
The novel opens up as Dr. Kay Scarpetta, Chief Medical Examiner for the state of Virginia, recieves an early-morning call from Sergeant Pete Marino, a homicide dectective at the Richmond Police Department. She meets him at the scene of a women's gruesome strangling, the latest in a string of unsolved murders in Richmond. The killer leaves behind few clues; among them are a mysterious substance that sparkles under laser light, traces of DNA, and the newest clue, an usual smell. Scarpetta and Marino work with FBI profiler Benton Wesley to attempt to piece together a profile of the killer. Some evidence seems to point to the fourth victims husband, but Scarpetta doens't believe it, despite Marino's insistence. Although they have some DNA, DNA profiling is a relatively new technique so there is no DNA database to compare the DNA to. Meanwhile in her personal life, Scarpetta must deal with the presenfde of her ten year old neice, Lucy, as well as an uncertain romanic relationship with the local Commonewealth's attorney. During the investigation, a series of news leaks about the murders appear to be coming from a source within the medical examiner's office. The leaks threaten Scarpetta's position, especially after she is forced to admit that someone has hacked her office database. The need to finding the killer increases as the killings become closer together, and more violent. The fifth victim, is the sister of the local investigative reporter Abby Turnbull. Believing the killer thrives on media attention and hoping to expose him by making him angry, Scarpetta, Wesley and Turnbull decide to release a news story that suggests that the killer has a distinctive body odor due to a rare metabolic disease and implies that the killer may be mentally disordered. While attempting to find a link between the five murders, Scarpetta discovers that all five victims had recently called 911, and realizes the killer chooses his victims based on their voices. As she looks deeper, she realizes who the killer must be. However, she doesn't know that the news story has angered the killer so much, that she may before the sixth victim.
1). Throughout the novel Scarpetta reveals how difficult it is for her to spend time with Lucy, on top of revealing that she doesn't have time to have a husband or kids of her own because her job is so demanding. Would you ever consider a career that could keep you from creating a family of your own?
2). Scarpetta's frustration for the lack of evidence and the increasing killings is obvious throughout the novel. Have you ever been extremely frustrated with something you can't figure out? What was this situation and how did you eventually figure it out?