Dr. Jessica Corwin (Bitter Instinct
, 2000, etc.) has already tangled with liberal Washington judge Maureen DeCampe, but now, returning from a blissful two-month hiatus with her life partner Richard Sharpe to a new job as medical examiner to the FBI, she has an unenviable task: finding the vanished jurist. Luckily, Richard, until recently a detective at New Scotland Yard, has moved to Washington just in time to assist Jessica as an FBI consultant. Early on, Walker reveals that elderly Iowa farmer Isaiah Purdy has kidnapped the judge and handcuffed her to the stolen corpse of his son Jimmy Lee, executed for murder long after Judge DeCampe put Jimmy Lee on death row following his first trial. Meanwhile, in the absence of a clear motive or substantial forensic evidence, Jessica consults psychic Kim Desinor, who's successfully helped her on several cases in the past. Searching the garage where Maureen was last seen, Kim suffers a violent seizure and develops inexplicable sores and bruises, a rare empathic reaction that means she'll surely die before long. Now the clock is ticking for both the judge and the psychic. While he's waiting and waiting to spring an action-picked finale, triggered by a twist blatantly lifted from The Silence of the Lambs
, Walker counterpoints Jessica's methodical collection of evidence, eventually leading to a cross-country chase, with Isaiah's sadistic torture of Maureen, studded with loony comments about Jimmy Lee and quotations torn from their Old Testament context.
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