Virginia's chief medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta is getting ready for a romantic holiday with her retired-FBI-profiler boyfriend, Benton Wesley, when she receives a cryptic and foreboding letter: "Hey DOC, Tick Tock, Sawed bone and fire," it begins. Even more creepy, the taunting note has been signed by Carrie Grethen, the psychotic killer Kay helped send to a psychiatric facility for going on a murder spree with Temple Gault in Cornwell's earlier book Body Farm. Benton believes that Grethen--who also happens to be the former lover of Scarpetta's niece Lucy--has big plans for a comeback. And before Kay and Benton can leave for their trip and discuss it further, Scarpetta is called upon to don yet another professional hat, that of a "consulting forensic pathologist" for the federal government. Someone has burned a highfalutin horse ranch and all of its contents, including a human being, to the ground. Worse, Grethen has escaped and is on the loose and closer to Kay and her beloved than she knows. Point of Origin, the ninth Scarpetta thriller, is classic Cornwell: rich with detail and strong dialogue, and doused with harrowing twists.