In his acclaimed Instinct novels, Robert W. Walker has given readers new reasons to be afraid of the dark. In his latest, he turns the unknown terrors of those shadows into something more profound than fear. He turns it into poetry-as sheer as madness.It's an enigmatic composition penned in poisoned shades of red ochre. With artful precision, it's etched in longhand with a fine, needle-pointed quill-into the naked flesh of a dying victim. For the writer it is a work in progress. Drawing from a well of deranged inspiration, his exquisite masterpiece has just begun.FBI Medical Examiner Dr. Jessica Coran has an international reputation for her brilliant work in forensic medicine. It's matched only by her cunning in tracking down the world's most ingenious serial killers. Her talents have been requested in Philadelphia by Detective Eriq Santiva, director of the behavioral science unit. A series of bizarre deaths, attributed to a killer known only as the Poet, has rocked the City of Brotherly Love. His calling card is a scroll of human parchment engraved with toxic, blood-chilling pieces of verse. But for Jessica the most baffling aspect of the crimes is that no victim shows signs of submission, or resistance, or even fear.Only Jessica has the insight to read between the Poet's lines, to decipher his unfathomable goal-and to discover why his young victims offered, so willingly, their dying flesh to a madman. But nothing Coran has encountered before is preparation for what she discovers when she reaches the end of the Poet's ballad in blood.If Bitter Instinct doesn't make your skin crawl, it's on too tight. This is Robert W. Walker at his best.