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Also available as: Not in United States? Choose your country's store to see books available for purchase. A woman has vanished while digging a dinosaur bone bed in the remote wilderness of Canada. Somehow, the only evidence has made its way to the inbox of Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta, over two thousand miles away in Boston.
We dont allow people on call to sleep. Since when is he on call? Since hes been having fights with whats-her-name. Or hes ornamenting and doesnt want to drive. I have no idea what Lucy is talking about. Which is rather often these days. She looks me in the eye. Whats-her-name he met onTwitter and had to unfollow in more ways than one.
She made a real fool of him. Minis he turns into ornaments. After he drinks what was in them. You didnt hear it fromme. I think back to July eleventh, Marinos birthday, which has never been a happy occasion forhim and is only worse the older he gets. Wood-sided on a sliver of a lot, it has working fireplaces and genuine hardwood floors, helikes to boast, and a finished basement, where he installed a sauna, a workshop, and a speedbag he loves to show off.
When I drove up with a birthday basket of homemade asparagusquiche and white chocolate sweet salami, he was on a ladder, stringing strands of lighted smallglass skulls along the roofline, Crystal Head vodka minis he was ordering directly from thedistillery and turning into ornaments, he volunteered before I could ask, as if to imply hed beenbuying empties, hundreds of them.
Getting ready for Halloween, he added boisterously, and Ishould have known then that he was drinking again. I dont remember what youre doing today except maybe another pig farm somewhere that Southwest Pennsylvania. She continues looking around my office as if something haschanged that she should know about. Nothing has. Not that I can think of. The juniper bonsai on my brushed-steel conferencetable is a new addition, but thats all. The photographs, certificates, and degrees shes glancingover are the same, as are the orchids, gardenias, and sago palm.
My black-laminate-surfacebow-shaped desk she is staring at hasnt changed. Nor has the matching hutch or the blackgranite countertop behind my chair, where shes now wandering. Not so long ago I did get rid of the microdissection system, replacing it with a ScanScopethat allows me to view microscopic slides, and I watch Lucy check the monitor, powering it offand on. She picks up the keyboard and turns it over, then moves on to my faithful Leicamicroscope, which Ill never give up because there isnt anything I trust more than my own eyes.
Pigs and chickens in Washington County, more of the same, she says, as she continueswalking around, staring, touching things, picking them up. Farmers pay the fines and then start in again, she adds. You should fly with me sometimeand get an eyeful of sow stalls, piggeries that cram them in like sardines. People who are awfulto animals, including dogs. A whoosh sounds, a text message on her iPhone, and she reads it. Plumes of runoff going into streams and rivers. She types a reply with her thumbs, smilingas if whoever sent the message is someone shes fond of or finds amusing.
Hopefully wellcatch the assholes in flagrante delicto, shut them. I hope youre careful. Im not at all thrilled with her newfound environmentalist vigilantism. You start messing with peoples livelihoods and it can get mean. Like it did for her? She indicates my computer and what Ive been watching on it. I have no idea, I confess. Whose livelihood was Emma Shubert messing with? All I know is she found a tooth two days before she disappeared, I reply. Apparently itsthe first one unearthed in a bone bed thats a rather recent discovery.
She and other scientistshad just started digging there a few summers ago. A bone bed that may end up the most productive one anywhere, Lucy says. A burialground for a herd of dinosaurs that died all at once, really unusual, maybe unprecedented. Itsan incredible opportunity to piece together entire skeletons and fill a museum, attract touristsand dino devotees and outdoors lovers from all over the world.
Unless the area is so pollutednobody comes. One cant read about Grande Prairie and not be aware of the economic importance of itsnatural gas and oil production. Seventeen hundred miles of pipeline carrying synthetic crude from the tar sands of Albertato refineries in the Midwest and all the way to the Gulf of Mexico, Lucy says, disappearinginside my bathroom, where there are a Keurig and macchinetta on the counter by the sink.
Pollution, global warming, total ruination. Try the Illy MonoDose. The silver box, I call out to her. And make mine a double shot. I believe this is a caf Cubano kind of morning. The demerara sugar is in the cabinet, I let her know, as I finish my last sip of cold coffeeand select play again. What is it Ive missed? I cant shake the gut feeling, and I focus again on the overexposed figure whose features The person doesnt appear to be very large, could be either awoman or a small man or possibly an older child wearing a sun cap with a veil around the sidesand a wide brim that he or she appears to be holding with two fingers of the right hand,perhaps to keep the cap from blowing off.
But again, I cant be certain.
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I cant make out a single feature of the darkly shadowed face or what the person is wearingexcept for a long-sleeved jacket or baggy shirt and the sun cap, and there is a barelynoticeable glint near the right temporal area that suggests glasses, possibly sunglasses. But Icant be sure of anything. I dont know much more now than I did when the attachment was e-mailed to me some twelve hours ago.
Ive heard nothing further from the FBI, but Bentons arranged a meeting for later today,assuming Im out of court in time, I say, above the macchinettas steamy blasts. More of aninformal discussion, since nothings happened yet beyond the film clip being sent to me.
Somethings happened. Lucys voice sounds from inside the bathroom. Someones earhas been cut off. Unless its fake. Ive magnified the image as much as I can without its deconstructing into a blur, and thevisible edges of the incised wound appear sharp and regular.
I see no paleness or any hint thatthe incised tissue is everted or collapsed, which is what I might expect in a dismemberment thatoccurs long after deathif the ear was removed from an embalmed body, from a medicalschool cadaver, for example.
What Im seeing doesnt strike me as something like that. The earand the blood on the newspaper dont look old. But I cant know if the blood is human, and ears are difficult. They arent particularlyvascular, and its not inconceivable one could cut off an ear ante- or postmortem and refrigerateit for weeks, and it might look fresh enough in a photograph to make it impossible for me todetermine if the injury happened when the victim was alive or dead.
In other words, the jpg is far from adequate for my purposes, Im explaining to Lucy. Ive already located fairly recent photos of her, plenty of them on various websites,including a few taken of her while she was working in Alberta this summer, Lucy says from myoffice bathroom, as we continue to talk loudly enough to hear each other.
But obviously wecant do a proper one-to-one. I have to adjust for size, angle it just right, but the good news isthe overlay is at least helpful because shes definitely not a rule-out. Lucy explains that shes been comparing the jpg with photographs of Emma Shubert,attempting to overlay images of her ears with the severed one.
We cant rule out a match, butunfortunately a visual comparison isnt conclusive, either. Ill send you the file, she adds. You can show the comparisons to whoever comes to yourmeeting. Will you be back around five? I wasnt aware I was invited. Her voice sounds over the noise of another espressobrewing. Of course youre invited. Along with who else? A couple of agents from the Boston Field Office. Douglas, I think. Im not sure who else. And Benton. Im not available, Lucy answers.
Not if shes coming. It really would be helpful if youd be there. Whats wrong with Douglas? Something is. No, thanks. Banished by both the FBI and ATF in her earlier law-enforcement life, my nieces feelingsabout the Feds generally arent charitable, which can be awkward for me, since my husband isan FBI criminal intelligence analyst, or profiler, and I have a special reservist status with the Department of Defense. Both of us are part of what she resents and disrespects, the Fedswho rejected her, who fired her.
Simply put, Lucy Farinelli, my only niece, whom Ive raised like a daughter, believes rulesare for lesser mortals. She was a rogue federal agent and is a rogue technical genius, and mylife would feel shattered and vacant if she wasnt around. Were dealing with somebody pretty clever. She emerges from the bathroom carrying twoshot glasses and a small steel pitcher. Thats not a good sign, I reply.
You rarely think anyone is clever. Someone cunning who is smart on some fronts but too smug to realize how much hedoesnt know.
She pours espresso, strong and sweet, with a light brown foamy layer on top, coladas thatbecame a habit when she was with ATFs Miami Field Office years ago, before she got into abad shooting. The address BLiDedwood is rather obvious. She sets a shot glass and the pitcher next tomy keyboard. Its not obvious to me. Billy Deadwood. She spells it out. I let that sink in. For my benefit? Lucy comes around to my side of the desk and taps the granite countertop behind me,waking up the two video displays on it.
Screensavers materialize in vivid red, gold, and blue, theCFCs and AFMEs crests side by side, a caduceus and scales of justice, and playing cards,pairs of aces and eights, the dead mans hand that Wild Bill Hickok supposedly was holdingduring a poker game when he was shot to death in The crest for the AFME. She indicates the dead mans hand on the computer screens.
For your benefit? Yes, Aunt Kay. I just hope its not someone in our own backyard. Why would you entertain the slightest suspicion that it might be? Using a temporary free e-mail address that self-destructs or deletes itself in thirtyminutes? Lucy considers. Okay, not all that unusual, could be anyone. Then this person routesthe e-mail to you through a free proxy server, this particular one a high-anonymity type with anunavailable host name.
Located in Italy. So no one can respond to the e-mail because the temporary account is deleted after thirtyminutes and is gone. Thats the point. And no one can track the IP and trace where the e-mail was actually sent from.
I followher logic. Exactly what the sender is banking on. Were supposed to assume the e-mail was sent by someone in Italy. Specifically, Rome, she tells me. But thats a ruse. Absolutely, she says. Whoever sent it definitely wasnt in Rome at six-thirty last night ourtime. What about the font? I return to the e-mail and look at the subject line. I ask. Very retro. Reminiscent of the fifties and sixties, big squarish shapes with rounded corners Your era, she teases. Please dont hurt me this early in the morning.
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Eurostile was created by Italian type designer Aldo Novarese, she explains, the fontoriginally made for a foundry in Turin, Nebiolo Printech. And you think this means what? I dont know. She shrugs. They basically manufacture paper and high-end technologicallyadvanced printing machines. A possible Italian connection? I doubt it. I think whoever sent the e-mail to you assumed you couldnt trace the actual IP,she says, and I know whats next.
I know what shes done. In other words, she continues, we wouldnt figure out the actual location it was sent from Lucy, I interrupt her. I dont want you taking extreme measures. Shes already taken them. There are a ton of these anonymous freebies available, she continues, as if shes not donewhat I know she has. I dont want you helping yourself to some proxy server in Italy or anywhere else, I tell herflatly.
The e-mail was sent to you by someone who had access to Logans wireless, she says, tomy astonishment. It was sent from the airport? The video clip was e-mailed to you from Logan Airports wireless network not even sevenfucking miles from here, she confirms, and its no wonder shes entertaining the possibility itmight be someone in our own backyard.
I think about my chief of staff, Bryce Clark, of Pete Marino, and several forensic scientists inmy building. Members of the CFC staff were in Tampa, Florida, last week for the InternationalAssociation for Identifications annual meeting, and all of them flew back into Boston yesterdayaround the same time this e-mail was anonymously sent to the CFC.
At some point prior to six oclock last night, Lucy explains, this person logged on toLogans free wireless Internet. The same thing passengers do thousands of times a day. But itdoesnt mean the person who sent the e-mail was physically in a terminal or on a plane. Whoever it is could have been in a parking garage, she says, or on a sidewalk, possibly in awater taxi or on a ferry in the harbor, anywhere the wireless signal reaches. Once this personwas connected, he created a temporary e-mail account called BLiDedwood Stealthmail,possibly using word-processing software to write the subject line in Eurostile, and cutting andpasting it into the e-mail.
He waited twenty-nine minutes before sending it, Lucy says. Just a shame he has thesatisfaction of knowing it was opened. How would this person know I opened the e-mail? Because he didnt get a bounce-back nondelivery notification message, she replies. Which he would have gotten just seconds before the account self-destructed. He has noreason not to assume the e-mail was received and opened. Her tone is different. What shes saying sounds like a reprimand.
The bounce-back is instant and automatic for harassing or virus-infected communicationssent to the CFCs main address, she reminds me.
The purpose is to give the sender theimpression that the e-mail couldnt be delivered. But in fact with rare and unfortunate exception, I didnt see this particulare-mail because it wasnt quarantined. The rare and unfortunate exception shes talking about is myself. The firewalls Ive set up recognized the e-mail as legit because of the subject headingAttention Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta, she says, as if its my fault, and it is.
Something directed to your personal attention doesnt get spammed or temporarily outboxed inquarantine because thats been your directive to me. Against my wishes, remember? She holds my gaze, and shes right, but theres nothing I can do about it.
You see the consequences of my allowing you to cheat what Ive secured? I understand your frustration, Lucy. But its the only way a lot of people, particularly policeand families, can reach me when they dont know my direct CFC contact information, I saywhat Ive said before. They send something to my attention and I certainly dont want itspammed. Its just too bad that youre the one who opened it first, Lucy says. Of course, typicallyBryce probably would have before you had the chance.
Im glad he didnt. My chief of staff is very sensitive and more than a little squeamish. He didnt because he was on his way back from a trip.
He and several others hadbeen out of pocket for a week, Lucy says, as if the timing wasnt an accident. Are you worried that whoever sent the e-mail knows whats going on at the CFC? It worries me, yes. She rolls a chair close, refills our shot glasses, and I smell the fresh grapefruit scent of hercologne, and I always know when my niece has been on the elevator or has passed through aroom. I can close my eyes and recognize her distinctive fragrance anywhere.
It would be foolish not to consider someone might be paying attention to all of us and whatwere doing, she is saying. Someone into games who thinks hes smarter than God. Someonewho gets off on traumatizing people and jerking them around. I have no doubt about why shes been snooping around my office this morning. She stoppedby to check on something because shes overly protective of me, vigilant to a fault.
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Since Lucywas old enough to walk shes demanded my attention and watched me like a hawk. Are you worried Marinos involved? That hes spying on me or trying to hurt me somehow? I log in to my e-mail. He sure as hell does stupid things, she says, as if she has specific ones in mind. But hesnot that savvy, and what motive could he have?
The answers none. Attorney DanSteward, as I continue to hope my appearance in court wont be needed. What about image clarification? Maybe we can figure out whos on the jetboat?
Im talkingabout the video clip while Im fretting about Mildred Lott.
Forget it, Lucy says. Its so ridiculous, I mutter, when I find no message that might grant me a reprieve. It used to be that my autopsy report was enough for the defense, my appearing in court notnecessary or even desirable, but since the Melendez-Diaz decision by the U.
Supreme Court,life has changed for every forensic expert in America. Channing Lott wants to confront hisaccuser. The billionaire industrialist faces a murder charge for allegedly placing a contract onhis now presumed dead wife, and hes demanded the pleasure of my company this afternoon attwo. What you see in that video file is all youll ever see. Lucy empties her shot glass.
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Whatyoure looking at is as good as its going to get. Were sure theres no software out there that might be more sophisticated than what wereusing here at the CFC? I dont want to accept it. More sophisticated than what Ive engineered? She gets up and moves closer to mycomputer screen. Nothing holds a candle to what weve got. The problem is the footage ishot. She clicks the mouse to show me, a heavy gold ring shes recently started wearing on herindex finger, a steel chronograph watch around her wrist.
Pausing the recording on the facelessimage in the back of the boat, she explains that she made multiple layers of the same videoclip, dropping the brightness, using sharpness filters, and its hopeless. Whoever did the filming was directly facing the sun, she says, and nothing is going torestore the blown-out parts.
The best we can do is suspect who the person on the boat mightbe based on context and circumstances. Suspecting isnt good enough, and I replay the clip, returning to a stretch of river an hour byjetboat from a sheer barren hillside where American paleontologist Dr. Emma Shubert wasdigging with colleagues from the University of Alberta when she vanished almost nine weeksago.
According to statements made to the police, she was last seen on August 23 at aroundten p. The next morning her door was ajar and she was gone.
When I talked with an investigator from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police last night I wastold there was no sign of a struggle, nothing to indicate Emma Shubert might have beenattacked inside her trailer.
We must find out who sent this to me, I say to Lucy. And why. If its possible the figure inthe jetboat is she, what was going on? Whats the expression on her face?
Was she on the boat willingly? I cant tell you that. I want to see her. Youre not going to on this video clip. Theres nothing more to see. Was she on her way to the bone bed to dig or returning from it? Based on the position of the sun and satellite images of that part of the river, Lucy says,the jetboat likely was traveling east, suggesting it was morning.
Obviously the day was a sunnyone, and there werent many of those in that part of the world this past August. Not socoincidentally, two days before she vanished, the day she found the pachyrhino tooth, it wassunny.
So youre thinking the video was taken on August twenty-first, based on the weather. Apparently she did go to that site that day, traveled by jetboat to the bone bed on theWapiti River. Lucy repeats information thats been in the news. So the video might have beenrecorded on an iPhone during the boat ride there that morning. She has an iPhone. Or did. Asyou know, it was missing from her trailer. It may be the only thing thats missing, since otherpersonal effects allegedly were undisturbed.
The footage was filmed on an iPhone? This is new information. And the photo of the severed ear, Lucy says. A first-generation iPhone, which is what shehad. Im not going to ask Lucy how she managed to acquire these details. I dont want to know. She still had the first one shed gotten, didnt bother upgrading, probably because of thecontract she had with AT and T.
Lucy gets up and returns to the bathroom to rinse our shotglasses, and I detect distant voices down the corridor. Then I hear the recorded sound of a police siren, one of Pete Marinos ringtones. Hes withsomeone. Bryce, I think, and theyre headed in this direction. Both of them are on their cellphones, only the sounds of their words coming through, and I can tell by the energy in theirvoices that something has happened.
Ill call you later, will be back before the weather moves in, Lucy adds, as she leaves. Itsgoing to be really bad later in the day. Then Marino is in my doorway. His khaki field clothes are rumpled as if hes slept in them,his face flushed, and he walks in as if he lives here, talking loudly on his phone. Bryce is behindhim, my delicately handsome chief of staff, wearing designer sunglasses on top of his head andfaded denim drainpipe jeans and a T-shirt, as if he just stepped off the set of Glee.
I notice hehasnt shaved since I saw him a week ago, before he went to Florida, and facial hair or the lackof it always means the same thing.
Bryce Clark is stepping in and out of different characters ashe continues auditioning for the star role in his own life. Well, normally that would be a no, Marino says into his cell phone. But youre going toneed to get the lady from the aquarium on the line so the chief here can tell her directly andmake sure everybodys on the same page.
We appreciate that and totally get it. Bryce is talking to someone else. We certainly dorealize nobodys going to be fighting over it. Maybe you and the fire guys can flip a coin, justkidding. Im sure the fireboats got a Stokes basket same as you. No vacuum bag or cervicalcollar or whatever needed, obviously. Of course the fire guys are better equipped to hoseeverything off after the fact with those big bad deck cannons of theirs.
Point is? Doesnt matterin the least to us, but someones gotta help get it to shore, and well handle it from there. Helooks at his watch. In about forty-five? A little after nine? That would really be fabulous. What is it? I ask Bryce, as he ends the call. He puts his hands on his hips, scrutinizing me. Well, we certainly didnt wear the right thingfor going out in a boat this morning, did we? He surveys the gray pinstriped skirt suit and Ill just be a minute, gonna grab a few things because youre notgoing out with the Coast Guard in what youve got on.
Fishing out some floater? Thank God itsnot July, not that the waters ever warm around here, and I sure as hell hope its not been inthere long, my least favorite thing. Look Inside. Sep 03, Pages Buy. Oct 16, Pages Buy. Oct 30, Minutes Buy.
Oct 16, Minutes Buy. Sep 03, Pages. Oct 16, Pages. Oct 30, Minutes. Oct 16, Minutes. A woman has vanished while digging a dinosaur bone bed in the remote wilderness of Canada. Somehow, the only evidence has made its way to the inbox of Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta, over two thousand miles away in Boston. She has no idea why. When she turns to those around her, Scarpetta finds that the danger and suspicion have penetrated even her closest circles. Her niece Lucy speaks in riddles.
Feeling alone and betrayed, Scarpetta is tempted by someone from her past as she tracks a killer both cunning and cruel. This is Kay Scarpetta as you have never seen her before.
Somehow, the only evidence has made its way to the inbox of Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta, over 2, miles away in Boston. Paperback —.
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