The fingerprints say the murderer is the man who's just been
executed . . .
At 11.05 one December evening in Richmond, Virginia, convicted
murderer Ronnie Joe Waddell is pronounced dead in the electric
chair. At the morgue Dr Kay Scarpetta waits for Waddell's
body. Preparing to perform a post-mortem before the subject is dead
is a strange feeling, but Scarpetta has been here before. And
Waddell's death is not the only newsworthy event on this freezing
night: the grotesquely wounded body of a young boy is found propped
against a rubbish skip. To Scarpetta the two cases seem unrelated,
until she recalls that the body of Waddell's victim had been
arranged in a strikingly similar position . . .