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Kay Scarpetta, Medical Examiner, finds herself drawn into another bizarre murder case. Oscar Bane is the main suspect, but has willingly admitted himself into a New York physciatric hospital- the Bellevue, which just happens to be run by Benton Wesley, Scarpettas husband. So I suppose it comes as no surprise (at least to the reader) when he has asks to be examined solely by Scarpetta. Why? The murder victim is his girlfriend, he strongly protests his innocence, in fact claims to have fought with the unknown assailant and believes Scarpetta is the only person who can help him. But is Oscar just completely nuts? With his claim that his every move has been watched and monitored for months he certainly comes accross a little strange and when his injuries appear self inflicted, it begins to look like an easily solvable case.
Of course, in true Scarpetta style, this is just one of many problems waiting to fall upon our heroine. A rather vicious and popular internet gossip column - The Gotham Gotcha - has taken a sudden dislike to her and posts some vindictive and very personal news about her, including the incident with Marino, her once trusted side kick. (Sorry to be so cryptic, I don't want to spoil anything!) It seems the owner of Gotham
Gotcha seems to know a lot about her, but they have gone to extreme lengths to cover their identity. So who can it be?
I like the way the whole thing knitted together, but I had guessed the murderer a fair while before the end and I'm not really one of those readers who tries to work it out, I usually just like to get lost in the book. One thing I haven't mentioned so far is that the victim and the accused are both little people. I really couldn't understand the big reason behind Cornwell making an issue of this and at first I thought it was angling towards them both having anxiety issues because of their size which seemed a bit off. Although when it came to looking into how the murder had been committed and at what angle the murderer would have needed I could see why it affected the story.
The previous novel, 'Book of the Dead ' was quite a disappointment for me (and many other fans it seems). The plot line was scary and gruesome enough, but lacked something I just can't explain, I think there was far too much said from the perspective of the murderer, which ended up feeling like 'filler' for the book. Also the characters who have grown throughout the history of the novels all seemed depressed or angry and had at least one problem each! Cornwell definitely isn't scared of taking a dark turn or twist and suprising us with her characters, but for them all to take a downward turn in the same novel was too depressing.
In Scarpetta, they do seem to be making a bit more effort! Lucy is a lot less moody, Scarpetta a little less cold and Marino? Well for those of you who read the last book, I'm glad to say Marino has dropped the trashy women and seems to be making a return to his old self.
My problems with it are just that though, it's nice to see them getting back on track, but although the previous problems are refferred to, quite a lot in some cases, they are not resolved or even mentioned between the characters and these are serious issues. For a group who are quite fiery and outspoken, I was expecting (and wanted) a good argument.
Also, the 'tech talk' is still a bit too much for me. We all know each character is amazingly brilliant in their field, but please, I don't need to be bored with all the details (or made to feel stupid!) I understand it helps to have an explanation of how Lucy managed to hack into someones computer and unscramble a million deleted files, but can I have it in a condensed, simpleton version please?
Yes, Scarpetta fans will be happy that the characters are a little more like themselves and first time readers shouldn't be too lost with the few past references. Although, since getting hooked on my first Scarpetta novel many years ago, I must say that there are quite a few authors I now prefer.
I've very kindly given it a 4 star rating, although I would prefer 3.5.
After covering the writing feature articles and covering the police beat for the Charlotte Observer, she worked for the Chief Medical Examiners Office in Richmond, Virginia which is where Kay Scarpetta starts out in this series of novels, although Cornwell wasn't actually Chief Medical Examiner herself. Her first Scarpetta novel Postmortem was published in 1990, Scarpetta is the sixteenth in the award winning series. As well as this collection she has also created two other fictional series, written two cookbooks, a childrens book, her own findings on who Jack the Ripper actually was, a biography of Mrs Billy Graham and has also co-written and co-produced a movie - ATF. Busy lady.
Released 2nd December 2008 by Little, Brown.
Available at Amazon for £8 (at time of posting- 9/12/08)
For info on this book and all the others by Patricia Cornwell, visit www.patriciacornwell.com.
From the world's number-one bestselling crime writer comes the extraordinary new Kay ... more
Scarpetta novel. Massachusetts Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta has just returned from working one of the worst mass murders in U.S. history when she's awakened at an early hour by Detective Pete Marino. A body, oddly draped in an unusual cloth, has just been discovered inside the sheltered gates of MIT and it's suspected the identity is that of missing computer engineer Gail Shipton, last seen the night before at a trendy Cambridge bar. It appears she's been murdered, mere weeks before the trial of her $100 million lawsuit against her former financial managers, and Scarpetta doubts it's a coincidence. She also fears the case may have a connection with her computer genius niece, Lucy. At a glance there is no sign of what killed Gail Shipton, but she's covered with a fine dust that under ultraviolet light fluoresces brilliantly in three vivid colors, what Scarpetta calls a mineral fingerprint. Clearly the body has been posed with chilling premeditation that is symbolic and meant to shock, and Scarpetta has reason to worry that the person responsible is the Capital Murderer, whose most recent sexual homicides have terrorized Washington, D.C. Stunningly, Scarpetta will discover that her FBI profiler husband, Benton Wesley, is convinced that certain people in the government, including his boss, don't want the killer caught. In "Dust," Scarpetta and her colleagues are up against a force far more sinister than a sexual predator who fits the criminal classification of a "spectacle killer." The murder of Gail Shipton soon leads deep into the dark world of designer drugs, drone technology, organized crime, and shocking corruption at the highest levels. With unparalleled high-tension suspense and the latest in forensic technology, Patricia Cornwell once again proves her exceptional ability to surprise--and to thrill.
This is in many ways the best of the recent Scarpetta novels, boasting an involving story ... more
and some fine writing. Booklist on Flesh and BloodDr. Kay Scarpetta is about to head to Miami for a vacation when she notices seven pennies on a wall behind their home. Is this a kids game? If so, why are all of the coins dated 1981 and so shiny they could be newly minted? Then she learns there s been a homicide five minutes away. A high school teacher was shot with uncanny precision as he unloaded groceries from his car. Yet no one heard or saw a thing.Soon more victims surface. The shots seem impossible to achieve, yet they are so perfect they cause death in an instant. There is no pattern to indicate where the killer will strike next. First it was New Jersey, then Massachusetts, and then the murky depths off the coast. There she comes face-to-face with shocking news that implicates her niece, Lucy Scarpetta s own flesh and blood. Cornwell has created a character so real, so compelling, so driven that this reader has to remind herself regularly that Scarpetta is just a product of an author s imagination. USA Today Cornwell s instincts are dead-on. Chicago Sun Times"