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New York Times bestselling author Greg Iles keeps the secrets of the South alive in this vibrant novel of infatuation, murder, and sexual intrigue set in his hometown of Natchez, Mississippi.

Forensic expert “Ca” Ferry has a stellar reputation until a panic attack paralyzes her at a New Orleans murder scene. Praying the attack is a one-time event, she continues working, but when the same killer strikes again—raising fears that a serial killer is at large—Cat blacks out over the victim's mutilated corpse. Suspended from the FBI task force, Cat returns to her hometown of Natchez, Mississippi, to regroup. Though her colleagues know her as a world-class forensic odontologist, Cat lives a secret life. Plagued by nightmares, and deeply involved with a married homicide detective, Cat holds herself together with iron nerves and alcohol, using her work as a substitute for life. But her family's secluded antebellum estate provides no sanctuary. When some of Cat's forensic chemicals are spilled in her childhood bedroom, two bloody footprints are revealed. This discovery sets in motion a quest to piece together Cat's past -- buried memories that could tie her father's murder to the grisly deaths occurring in New Orleans in the present. For only by finding this remorseless killer can Cat save her sanity—and her life.

Topics: Serial Killers, The FBI, Mississippi, New Orleans, Series, Suspenseful, Murder, Women Detectives, Family Secrets, and Sexual Abuse

Published: Scribner on Feb 15, 2005
ISBN: 9780743271868
List price: $9.99
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Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Plan to finish once you start. This book crosses several niches in the mystery genre, crime, procedural, legal and psychological thrillers but it raises awareness, knowledge and inspires critical thinking and feeling on both a small (family) and large scale. It was a great read... Great background on characters, time and place. This one I'll keep to read againread more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
More of a psychological thriller than a straight up forensic procedural. This is largely due to the fact that Cat is pretty screwed up. Considering the length of the book, I wish Iles had done more showing of Cat’s erratic behavior than telling, which he does in the first couple of paragraphs of the book. Some of the drawn out action sequences and internal monologues could have been trimmed without doing harm to the overall story and would have left room for showing us what Cat was like. So we’re told that she has to be on all kinds of meds to curb her behavior. She’s also an alcoholic. With all these chemicals in her system fighting for precedence it’s a wonder she can stand up much less be accomplished in her field of forensic odontology. When she basically quits everything cold turkey it quite leaves the bounds of reality. I’m sorry, but that particular chemical cocktail wouldn’t have left her quite so gently. Not only does she make brilliant leaps of intuition, she is coldly logical during both her investigations. Oh, but wait, she’s also insanely irrational and impulsive. She does a completely stupid thing one second and a completely rational one the next. I really wanted to smack her a lot of the time. Oh yeah, and she’s pregnant, too, as if the rest of her crazy life weren’t bad enough, now she’s going to bring some innocent into her sucking black hole. It was really too much to make me like her or even believe this person could exist.Of course the two cases intersect, but only coincidentally. It was pretty obvious that her dead daddy wasn’t her molester, but she bought it for a while and we had to wade through countless emotional blood-lettings until she figured out what we already knew. Grandpa was drawn as such an evil figure that at first, his fate wasn’t satisfactory. Then when Pearly spilled the story, I felt better.There were some passages I had to fast forward over though. Iles was effective in making me squirm. The book is pretty graphic when it comes to describing rape and child abuse. Not so much the act of the latter, but the after effects and the emotional fall out that inevitably occurs. The cycle of abuse is pretty well detailed as well – every abuser is a victim. There’s also Cat’s father’s Vietnam experience which wasn’t too pleasant either. Eventually both cases are solved and Cat is free to heal and put her life together. Of course there is a fine, upstanding man to take the place of the snakey Sean, and it’s a bit cliché for what has come before. That’s why even though I found this book relentlessly compelling, I can’t give it top marks. It needed more focus and believability for that.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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Reviews

Great read
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Plan to finish once you start. This book crosses several niches in the mystery genre, crime, procedural, legal and psychological thrillers but it raises awareness, knowledge and inspires critical thinking and feeling on both a small (family) and large scale. It was a great read... Great background on characters, time and place. This one I'll keep to read again
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
More of a psychological thriller than a straight up forensic procedural. This is largely due to the fact that Cat is pretty screwed up. Considering the length of the book, I wish Iles had done more showing of Cat’s erratic behavior than telling, which he does in the first couple of paragraphs of the book. Some of the drawn out action sequences and internal monologues could have been trimmed without doing harm to the overall story and would have left room for showing us what Cat was like. So we’re told that she has to be on all kinds of meds to curb her behavior. She’s also an alcoholic. With all these chemicals in her system fighting for precedence it’s a wonder she can stand up much less be accomplished in her field of forensic odontology. When she basically quits everything cold turkey it quite leaves the bounds of reality. I’m sorry, but that particular chemical cocktail wouldn’t have left her quite so gently. Not only does she make brilliant leaps of intuition, she is coldly logical during both her investigations. Oh, but wait, she’s also insanely irrational and impulsive. She does a completely stupid thing one second and a completely rational one the next. I really wanted to smack her a lot of the time. Oh yeah, and she’s pregnant, too, as if the rest of her crazy life weren’t bad enough, now she’s going to bring some innocent into her sucking black hole. It was really too much to make me like her or even believe this person could exist.Of course the two cases intersect, but only coincidentally. It was pretty obvious that her dead daddy wasn’t her molester, but she bought it for a while and we had to wade through countless emotional blood-lettings until she figured out what we already knew. Grandpa was drawn as such an evil figure that at first, his fate wasn’t satisfactory. Then when Pearly spilled the story, I felt better.There were some passages I had to fast forward over though. Iles was effective in making me squirm. The book is pretty graphic when it comes to describing rape and child abuse. Not so much the act of the latter, but the after effects and the emotional fall out that inevitably occurs. The cycle of abuse is pretty well detailed as well – every abuser is a victim. There’s also Cat’s father’s Vietnam experience which wasn’t too pleasant either. Eventually both cases are solved and Cat is free to heal and put her life together. Of course there is a fine, upstanding man to take the place of the snakey Sean, and it’s a bit cliché for what has come before. That’s why even though I found this book relentlessly compelling, I can’t give it top marks. It needed more focus and believability for that.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
predicatable and forgettable
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Stunning thriller, couldn't stop reading it until the last page. The book is quite disturbing, but not in a gratuitous way, definitely a Greg Iles fan now.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Another book with a female first person heroine. This is a little less convincing than the previous one. Also deals with child abuse so very difficult subject. But for a thriller well written, and kept me on the edge of my seat.
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