Jennifer Reese
September 10, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Trace

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Patricia Cornwell
publisher
Putnam
genre
Mystery and Thriller, Fiction

We gave it a B+

Preposterous but propulsive, Patricia Cornwell’s 13th Scarpetta thriller Trace features a typically over-the-top psycho killer: Edgar Allan Pogue, who wears a shaggy black wig, carries a tee-ball bat, and likes to attack women who suffer from the flu. When an ailing 14-year-old Virginia girl is murdered, forensic pathologist Kay Scarpetta sifts through the scant bits of physical evidence left at the scene and uncovers an unexpected personal connection to the killer. Cornwell shows some welcome restraint after last year’s wildly gory ”Blow Fly,” though she still hasn’t figured out how to bring her fun, flamboyant narratives to satisfying, or even remotely plausible, conclusions.

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