Meet college freshman Jenna
a girl about to step into a world of mystery and intrigue.
Golden's sense of the truly morbid and his knack for uncomfortably
realistic medical dialogue." -- Publishers Weekly
appeal to teens with a taste for the macabre...Jenna Blake, the
series heroine....[is] bright and extraordinarily perceptive....a
persistent and plucky protagonist ...teens will be drawn into
the fast action ... and gripping suspense. This is a good choice
for reluctant readers." -- Kliatt
absorbing medical mystery/thriller for older teens. Jenna is one
tough cookie and smart as well. Is this what Kay Scarpetta was
like in college? Readers won't be able to wait for Jenna's next
adventure." -- VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)
"The first day at college, my professor dropped dead. The second day, I assisted at his autopsy. Let's hope I don't have to go through four years of this..."
When Jenna Blake starts
her freshman year at Somerset University, she's not only living on
her own for the first time, she's moving closer to the father she
never really knew. It's an exciting time, filled with new faces and
new challenges, not to mention parties and boys and... corpses?
Jenna is torn about her
future. She'd like to be a doctor like her mother, but she can't stand
the sight of blood. Her father, a criminology professor, thinks he
has the answer - and sends her to interview for a job with the Medical
Examiner - an interview that takes place in the middle of an autopsy!
When a congressional aide
goes violently insane, and then drops dead, the pathology team at
Somerset Medical Center discover that his brain was ravaged with disease
- and loaded with insect larvae. When Jenna takes on her new job,
she is drawn into a web of terrifying disease, dangerous politics,
and intriguing mystery. And when one of her professors ends up dead,
she starts making connections even the police haven't seen... which
will bring her face to face with a pair of killers, one medical, and
one all too human.
"Why would anyone want to tear out someone's heart?"
That's the very real question facing college freshman Jenna Blake, and it has nothing to do with romance and heartbreak. A second grisly murder-mystery is unfolding at Somerset University, and her job as a pathology assistant at the local hospital brings Jenna too close to the haunting crimes.
Everyone has a theory on the nature of the killings, including Jenna's older half-brother, Pierce Logan, who's new in town and has some odd ideas about why someone would want to steal a human heart.
Meanwhile, Jenna is working on her own heart, and starting to realize she's not as "guy-blind" as she thought, when she meets a fascinating older man.
But there's little time for dating when the Thief of Hearts declares Somerset the perfect hunting ground -- and someone very close to Jenna is the prey.
Santeria markings. Hindu magick. Druidic runes. Japanese mysticism. The latest series of murders in Somerset has everyone confused, including the local police and the Medical Examiner's office. They seem to be the work of one killer, but each murder has a completely different, ritualized, M.O.
Working alongside her boss, Dr. Slikowski, Jenna Blake is back on the research trail, trying to discover the identity of the killer. Unfortunately, Jenna is still grieving over the murder of her friend Melody, and is becoming distracted by her growing feelings for Somerset detective Danny Mariano.
Jenna needs to do some serious soul-searching. Her mind isn't on the job. But if she doesn't start paying attention, and find the connection between these ritual murders, Jenna may not survive her first semester.
"There's no such thing as zombies. I know that. But I also know what I saw with my own eyes..."
Freshman year is supposed to be filled with new experiences, but Jenna Blake's not sure she's ready for all of the changes her life has gone through recently. She's lost one close friend to a tragic crime, and two others are now becoming romantically involved. Jenna is further unsettled when a baffling new case presents itself at the medical examiner's office, where she works as an assistant.
The Boston area is experiencing a crime wave which includes both major theft and murder. The problem is, each of the criminals is someone that Somerset Medical Center has declared legally dead -- and who has been buried.
Jenna has to piece together an explanation for these "zombie crimes". She knows that there's more going on here than meets the eye. The dead can't really rise from their graves -- or can they? One thing's for sure...she doesn't want to find out the hard way.
"I've known them almost my entire life. Maybe they both just lost it. But I have to take a closer look..."
Home from college on break, Jenna Blake is horrified to discover that a childhood friend has murdered his entire family -- and he's not the only one. During the next two days, several other area teens experience homicidal rages, but are later unable to explain or even recall their actions.
The police are leaning toward the popular explanation: brutality influenced by violence in movies and video games. But when Jenna investigates further, she begins to believe that someone is playing sinister head games with her former classmates...and with her, as well.
What Jenna needs is someone to take her seriously, but Slick is preoccupied with a mystery of his own, her father has taken off for France, and her college friends have all gone away for the holidays.
"A girl is dead because some white guy didn't want to see them kiss..."
When Jenna and Damon first began dating, neither worried too much about the other's skin color. After all, Somerset is a pretty liberal college environment. But when a black couple is attacked by a white man on campus, race relations become cause for frenzied peace rallies, protests, and debate for the entire student body. Suddenly, Jenna has her hands full investigating the attack - and defending her interracial romance...
Then a white student turns up dead at the hands of a black assailant.
As racial tension reaches a fever pitch on campus, the crimes continue, growing increasingly brutal. Strangely, in each case no two witnesses can form the same description of the perpetrator.
The people are looking for two young men. Until one assailant, pronounced dead at the crime scene, disappears...
"How do you burn someone to death in public, and not have anyone notice?"
Two people burst into flame, burned alive in front of plenty of eyewitnesses with no obvious cause. Spontaneous human combustion is a bizarre phenomenon, but according to published accounts, it happens. Could that be what occurred here? Or is it murder?
As Jenna Blake turns nineteen, she is getting over a recent breakup and is rekindling an old flame. Between her personal life and college, she has enough on her hands. The last thing she needs is another nasty little puzzle.
But the burn victims' clothes weren't flammable, the crime scenes reveal no evidence of arson, and none of the various witnesses can provide anything resembling a clue. In fact, she and Slick are just beginning to re-evaluate their faith in rational, scientific explanation when the fire claims another victim, and an incredible explanation presents itself. Even as they struggle with their discovery, the danger hits far too close to home...
"Maybe the odds are against the cases being connected, but I'd hate to find out that it was some contagious, horrible disease."
Spring break is prime time for R&R, fun in the sun, and all things low-key. So when Jenna Blake goes to Florida with her roommate, Yoshiko, the last thing she's expecting to find is another mystery. Well, you can take the girl out of the ME's office, but...
A series of seemingly natural deaths turn out to be suspicious when each of the bodies proves to have mysterious growths of some kind. Needless to say, despite Yoshiko's concerns that her roommate is missing the point of a vacation, Jenna can't stay away from this case.
After autopsies, another common denominator among the victims presents itself. And when further research reveals similar deaths in other states, Jenna starts to wonder if the deaths were indeed natural. As the body count climbs, Jenna's break gives way to a dangerous chase. With Slick and Danny back in Massachusetts, Jenna has only herself to rely on...for survival.
"When a psycho wants to make a statement, and nobody gets it, he's only going to say it louder the next time."
Jenna thought spending her summer in Somerset would be quiet and relaxing. With classes over and the students home on break, the campus is a ghost town. But the summer is not chock-full of R&R. In fact, her latest case at the medical examiner's office is anything but quiet.
A psycho killer is on a rampage, drowning the victims in Boston's most public places. It seems everyone is talking about the murders, yet no one has any leads.
Then Jenna uncovers a key piece of evidence, and she is quickly drawn into the puzzle. But the closer they get to the killer, the more frequent -- and more violent -- the drownings become. And before Jenna realizes how deep in she's gotten, it's suddenly sink or swim time for her...literally.
"Could she have become infected without showing any symptoms herself? Could she be contagious?"
Wedding bells are ringing for Jenna Blake's dad, and she couldn't be happier for him. His new wife, Shayna, is just the greatest. And their wedding luncheon is perfect -- until the food arrives. When guests start experiencing unusual symptoms, Jenna knows something is terribly wrong. Then all too quickly, Shayna winds up paralyzed.
But Shayna's not the only victim. The mysterious illness begins to sweep Jenna's college campus, leaving two students dead. Doctors suspect that this is no ordinary virus. Highly unusual and destructive, it could only be the work of human hands.
While the Center for Disease Control is blanketing the campus, Jenna and the rest of the medical examiner's team scramble to put the pieces together. But the longer it takes to solve the puzzle, the more critical the situation becomes...
Because this virus is deadly -- and very contagious.