Dust: Scarpetta (Book 21)
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With unparalleled high-tension suspense and the latest in forensic technology, Patricia Cornwell once again proves her exceptional ability to surprise—and to thrill—in this electrifying Kay Scarpetta novel.
A body, oddly draped in an unusual cloth, has just been discovered inside the sheltered gates of MIT, and it’s suspected the identity is that of missing computer engineering grad student Gail Shipton, last seen the night before at a trendy Cambridge bar. It appears she’s been murdered, mere weeks before the trial in her $100 million lawsuit against her former financial manager, and Massachusetts Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta doubts it’s a coincidence. She also fears the case may have a connection with her computer genius niece, Lucy.
In Dust, Scarpetta and her colleagues are up against a force far more sinister than a sexual predator who fits the criminal classification of a “spectacle killer.” The murder of Gail Shipton soon leads deep into the dark world of designer drugs, drone technology, organized crime, and shocking corruption at the highest levels.
was dressed in it after she was dead. It has what appears to be the same residue that fluoresces in UV. It’s all over the fleece, and the blood pattern on it is inconsistent with her injuries and the way she would have bled out.” I unbutton the fleece all the way and turn her partially on her side, her body leaning heavily against my Tyvek-covered thigh. Livor has begun to form on her back but is far from set. When I press my finger into her flesh it easily blanches, the same way it does when
what everyone was doing,” he elaborates but not happily or with the gratification that I feel as the facts are made plain, “and apparently he got a call at four fifty-seven this morning from a number that has blocked caller ID. None of Double S’s sixteen phone lines including the ones here in the house accept blocked calls.” Inside drawers I find wooden boxes of steak knives and a variety of cooking tools, potholders, and dishcloths. There are takeout menus for local pizza and Chinese but I
distinctive alto voice with its strong Massachusetts accent that makes me think of the Kennedys. “What time did you finish yesterday?” Marino asks. “She left my firm around four p.m. and not long afterward something important came up that I needed to address with her. I sent her a text message asking her to call me, which she did, but we got disconnected. Is she all right?” “When did you get disconnected?” “Hold on and I’ll check my phone so I can give you the exact time. Do we
couldn’t see his face but I know it was compelling and kind as he spoke to me scientifically, poetically, backlit by fire that gave off no heat. During moments of astonishing clarity I realized what we mean when we talk of forbidden fruit and original sin, and walking into the light and streets paved in gold, of extraterrestrials, auras, ghosts, and paradise and hell and reincarnation, of being healed or raised from the dead, of coming back as a raven, a cat, a hunchback, an angel. A
the bare tops of trees against the bright sky, at clawlike branches swaying in wind that is shifting, and the air is brisk against my skin. I look around for him, for whoever is stalking women and murdering them and very likely stalking me. I need to get to my office. I need the body to talk to me because it will tell me the truth in a language that makes sense and can be trusted. The dead aren’t capricious with me. They don’t lie. They don’t create spectacles and they don’t prey on anyone. I