Monday, June 15, 2009


Scarpetta by Patricia Cornwell
Putnam, December 2008
ISBN-13: 9780399155161
Hardcover, 512 pages
Kay Scarpetta Series #16
not recommended

From Publishers Weekly
At the start of bestseller Cornwell's plodding 16th thriller to feature Dr. Kay Scarpetta (after Book of the Dead), the forensic pathologist-who recently relocated to Belmont, Mass., with her forensic psychologist husband-is called to Manhattan's Bellevue Hospital for reasons that don't become clear until she gets there. Oscar Bane, who voluntarily committed himself to Bellevue while denying he brutally murdered his girlfriend, refuses to speak to anyone except the high-profile Scarpetta. Bane, Scarpetta discovers, is obsessed with her. Meanwhile, someone masquerading as Scarpetta is lurking in cyberspace and supplying an online gossip site with dirty secrets about the doctor. For help on the murder case, Scarpetta turns to her computer whiz niece and a macho former colleague whose shocking actions in Book of the Dead severely damaged his relationship with Scarpetta. With a plot full of holes and frustrating red herrings, this entry falls short of the high standard set by earlier volumes in this iconic series. (Dec.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.
My thoughts:

I've been a fan of Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta series from the beginning, but Scarpetta may well signal the end of my reading the series. The last two books, at least, have not been up to the high standards Cornwell originally set in the series. The books at the beginning of the series are highly recommended, but it just seems like they have been slowly degenerating. I had to actually force myself to finish Scarpetta - not a good sign. Even for those of us familiar with the series, the characters come across as one-dimensional here. The plot moved unbelievable slowly. The ultimate ending was a disappointment since I guessed what was going on long before the conclusion. Many fans of the character Kay Scarpetta will likely overlook any problems with this latest addition to the series, but I simply can't. I'm sorry to say that Scarpetta is Not Recommended, although fans of the series might be likely to consider this a so-so effort.


Brain tissue clung like wet, gray lint to the sleeves of Dr. Kay Scarpetta's surgical gown, and the front of it was splashed with blood. opening

On the prison-ward floor of the modern Bellevue Hospital Center, the thin wire of Benton's headset connected him to his wife some hundred and fifty miles away. He explained that late last night a man was admitted to the forensic psychiatric unit, making the point, "Berger wants you to examine his injuries." pg. 4-5

Feeling the desire to hire someone she'd known since the early days of her career was understandable, Benton had said. But the danger in looking back was that we saw only what we wanted to see, he'd added. We saw what made us feel safe. pg. 9

"My advice to you is to make yourself scarce until Kay's back in Massachusetts," Morales said. "She doesn't need any more stress, you hear me, bro? And what I don't want is next time we call her in for assistance, she says no because of you. We don't need her quitting her position at John Jay, quitting as a consultant because of you. Then Benton would quit next, if he wants to keep the wife happy. So we lose both of them because of you." pg. 37

A department of corrections officer had the solid, silent presence of the Rockies as he stood near the wall, allowing her space to work, but close enough to intervene should Oscar become violent, which seemed unlikely. He was frightened. He'd been crying. pg. 39

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