Taut with unrelieved tension and continual surprises, Unnatural Exposure is the case of Kay Scarpetta's life -- and a triumph for author Patricia Cornwell.
When the body of an elderly woman is found dismembered in a Virginia landfill, forensic pathologist Kay Scarpetta initially believes that the clues mirror that of a serial killer she's encountered before. But upon further investigation she discovers puzzling pox-like eruptions on the woman's body that, perhaps, point in another direction.
The killer then contacts Scarpetta via e-mail, and she enlists the aid of her computer-savvy niece, Lucy, to help track this monster through cyberspace. When Scarpetta learns that the Virginia victim was exposed to a high-tech virus that might unleash an epidemic, she begins to realize that she's dealing with a sophisticated and devious mind.
Her investigation leads her to the government's biological defense facility in Utah and to Atlanta's Center for Disease Control -- and eventually to quarantine, when it is discovered that Scarpetta has been exposed to this often fatal virus. Along the way, she's forced to deal with the unscrupulous ambitions of a slick FBI agent, Lucy's problems, and her own turbulent feelings for Agent Wesley Benton.