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Chaos
Cover of Chaos
Chaos
A Scarpetta Novel

#1 New York Times bestselling author Patricia Cornwell returns with the remarkable twenty-fourth thriller in her popular high-stakes series starring medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta.

In the quiet of twilight, on an early autumn day, twenty-six-year-old Elisa Vandersteel is killed while riding her bicycle along the Charles River. It appears she was struck by lightning—except the weather is perfectly clear with not a cloud in sight. Dr. Kay Scarpetta, the Cambridge Forensic Center's director and chief, decides at the scene that this is no accidental Act of God.

Her investigation becomes complicated when she begins receiving a flurry of bizarre poems from an anonymous cyberbully who calls himself Tailend Charlie. Though subsequent lab results support Scarpetta's conclusions, the threatening messages don't stop. When the tenth poem arrives exactly twenty-four hours after Elisa's death, Scarpetta begins to suspect the harasser is involved, and sounds the alarm to her investigative partner Pete Marino and her husband, FBI analyst Benton Wesley.

She also enlists the help of her niece, Lucy. But to Scarpetta's surprise, tracking the slippery Tailend Charlie is nearly impossible, even for someone as brilliant as her niece. Also, Lucy can't explain how this anonymous nemesis could have access to private information. To make matters worse, a venomous media is whipping the public into a frenzy, questioning the seasoned forensics chief's judgment and "a quack cause of death on a par with spontaneous combustion."

#1 New York Times bestselling author Patricia Cornwell returns with the remarkable twenty-fourth thriller in her popular high-stakes series starring medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta.

In the quiet of twilight, on an early autumn day, twenty-six-year-old Elisa Vandersteel is killed while riding her bicycle along the Charles River. It appears she was struck by lightning—except the weather is perfectly clear with not a cloud in sight. Dr. Kay Scarpetta, the Cambridge Forensic Center's director and chief, decides at the scene that this is no accidental Act of God.

Her investigation becomes complicated when she begins receiving a flurry of bizarre poems from an anonymous cyberbully who calls himself Tailend Charlie. Though subsequent lab results support Scarpetta's conclusions, the threatening messages don't stop. When the tenth poem arrives exactly twenty-four hours after Elisa's death, Scarpetta begins to suspect the harasser is involved, and sounds the alarm to her investigative partner Pete Marino and her husband, FBI analyst Benton Wesley.

She also enlists the help of her niece, Lucy. But to Scarpetta's surprise, tracking the slippery Tailend Charlie is nearly impossible, even for someone as brilliant as her niece. Also, Lucy can't explain how this anonymous nemesis could have access to private information. To make matters worse, a venomous media is whipping the public into a frenzy, questioning the seasoned forensics chief's judgment and "a quack cause of death on a par with spontaneous combustion."

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About the Author-
  • Patricia Cornwell is recognized as one of the world's top bestselling crime authors with novels translated into thirty-six languages in more than 120 countries. Her novels have won numerous prestigious awards including the Edgar, the John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger, the Anthony, the Macavity and the Prix du Roman d'Aventures. Beyond the Scarpetta series, Patricia has written a definitive book about Jack the Ripper, a biography and two more fiction series among others. Cornwell, a licensed helicopter pilot and scuba diver, actively researches the cutting-edge forensic technologies that inform her work. She was born in Miami, grew up in Montreat, North Carolina, and now lives and works in Boston.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    September 26, 2016
    In bestseller Cornwell’s uneven 24th Kay Scarpetta novel (after 2015’s Depraved Heart), the forensic pathologist investigates the bizarre death of 23-year-old Brit Elisa Vandersteelis, who was riding her bicycle in a Cambridge, Mass., park when she suffered a fatal electrical burn that looks like a lightning strike but isn’t. Meanwhile, Scarpetta’s FBI agent husband, Benton Wesley, is called away on matters of national security, which turn out to involve the sudden death of Gen. John Briggs, a long-time friend of Scarpetta’s and one of the backers of her Cambridge Forensic Center. Electricity seemed to play a role in his death, too, making Scarpetta believe there’s a connection.
    Of course, whenever there’s a series of suspicious deaths, the specter of Carrie Grethen, Scarpetta’s nemesis, isn’t far from her thoughts. Coupled with threats she’s been receiving from the mysterious Tailend Charlie, these new deaths appear to fit Carrie’s MO. Lots of cutting-edge forensic detail and some revelatory character moments help compensate for a plot with only occasional flashes of narrative energy. Agent: Esther Newberg, ICM.

  • Library Journal

    June 15, 2016

    Odd that 26-year-old Elisa Vandersteel seems to have been killed by lightening while riding her bike along the Charles River one starlit night. Soon thereafter, medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta starts receiving creepy poems about the case from an anonymous cyberbully, and the media go berserk when lab results confirm Scarpetta's implausible lightning hypothesis. With a million-copy first printing.

    Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Publishers Weekly on Chaos Praise for Chaos: "Thrilling.... Readers new to Cornwell will find themselves involved from the very first page, as will the veterans. Chaos is one book you should not miss."
  • Bookreporter.com on Chaos "Lots of cutting-edge forensic detail and some revelatory character moments."
  • MysteryPlayground.net on Chaos "Patricia Cornwell has created characters with real emotions and life experiences, and she provides them with more than enough danger to make things interesting. Dr. Scarpetta has become a good friend."
  • Blackfive.net on Chaos "[An] absorbing thriller."
  • FreshFiction.com on Chaos "There is a quiet intensity to Ms. Cornwell's writing that compels you to read, then the eeriness sets in. . . . With CHAOS, once again Patricia Cornwell mesmerizes with her astounding scientific knowledge, her keen ear for dialogue and the human psyche, all woven together flawlessly."
  • Dad of Divas Reviews on Chaos "While Scarpetta's character has flaws, she is still a powerful female protagonist and she offers the reader an amazing calculating approach to investigation. I am always amazed at the passion that she has for her position. . . . A fast engaging read."
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A Scarpetta Novel
Patricia Cornwell
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