The ninth book in the In Death series, published in 1999.
At a time when human nature remains as predictable as death, a killer plays God – and puts innocent lives in the palm of his hand ….
With the precision of a surgeon, a serial killer preys on the most vulnerable souls of the world’s city streets. The first victim: a sidewalk sleeper, found dead in New York city. No bruises, no signs of struggle. Just a laser-perfect, fist-sized hole where his heart had once been. Lieutenant Eve Dallas is assigned to investigate. But in the heat of a cat-and-mouse game with the killer, Dallas’s job is suddenly on the line. Now her hands are tied … between a struggle for justice – and a fight for her career ….
Lieutenant Eve Dallas gets called to a homicide, discovered by a scooper team. They check on the homeless to see if they are still alive, which is not easy in this harsh New York winter. On scene, Eve finds very sloppy work by Detective Bowers, and reads her the riot act. Bowers resents that, and files a complaint against Eve, which is her particular hobby. Eve is furious by this smear on her record!
The homeless man is indeed murdered, and his heart is stolen. It is taken with surgical precision and in very difficult circumstances. Why would anyone steal the heart of a terminally ill person? It is not worth anything on the black organ market, and there are no known cults who do stuff like that. Everything points to a high class surgeon. The victim was anesthetized too. So Eve is poking her nose in the top ranking surgeons of the city, the Drake clinic. And they really don’t like that! They close ranks on her, but luckily Roarke is on the board, and they will have to cooperate with her. But threats follow soon after: a self-destruct droid tries to warn her off with a severe beating, but he doesn’t know Eve very well, and Eve beats him. A notorious senator is putting the pressure on the department to close the case, after all, it is only a sidewalk sleeper, and the medical profession doesn’t need the fall out of this. But it only makes Eve more determined to solve the case. Especially when she discovers like crimes in other cities, and a new one on her own path.
But the difficulties with Officer Bowers are not over either. The woman files an other complaint against Eve, and harasses her on scene. Luckily Peabody has recorded it all. But when Bowers gets herself killed, Eve is a suspect, and they demand her badge and weapon. This devastates her. After all, she has build herself up again by becoming a cop. What is she, when she is no longer a cop?
The team goes on without her, but not for long. Roarke and Eve dive into the case, the medical world of organ transplants and research. A doctor from the Canal Street clinic where a lot of poor people are treated helps out by translating all the medical mumbo jumbo for Eve, and gets almost killed in the process.
A really good story again. The suspense is intense, and the emotions run high. It really had me crying for Eve a few times. Dr. Mira and Roarke are there for her, but in the end, she will have to do it herself.
Peabody and McNab are still on odds with each other, but in this book we meet Dr. Louise and Truehart, who will have a larger part in the rest of the series. Also Baxter and Webster, two other cops are playing their part.