Chaos by Patricia Cornwell
A Scarpetta Novel (Kay Scarpetta)

73%

8 Critic Reviews

As with all her recent books, Chaos demonstrates how technology advances can be beneficial to criminals. Readers work the investigation with Scarpetta as they try to disentangle the puzzle and mystery of this gripping plot.
-Jeremy Lynch

Synopsis

#1 New York Times bestselling author Patricia Cornwell returns with the remarkable twenty-fourth thriller in her popular high-stakes series starring medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta.

In the quiet of twilight, on an early autumn day, twenty-six-year-old Elisa Vandersteel is killed while riding her bicycle along the Charles River. It appears she was struck by lightning—except the weather is perfectly clear with not a cloud in sight. Dr. Kay Scarpetta, the Cambridge Forensic Center’s director and chief, decides at the scene that this is no accidental Act of God.

Her investigation becomes complicated when she begins receiving a flurry of bizarre poems from an anonymous cyberbully who calls himself Tailend Charlie. Though subsequent lab results support Scarpetta’s conclusions, the threatening messages don’t stop. When the tenth poem arrives exactly twenty-four hours after Elisa’s death, Scarpetta begins to suspect the harasser is involved, and sounds the alarm to her investigative partner Pete Marino and her husband, FBI analyst Benton Wesley.

She also enlists the help of her niece, Lucy. But to Scarpetta’s surprise, tracking the slippery Tailend Charlie is nearly impossible, even for someone as brilliant as her niece. Also, Lucy can’t explain how this anonymous nemesis could have access to private information. To make matters worse, a venomous media is whipping the public into a frenzy, questioning the seasoned forensics chief’s judgment and "a quack cause of death on a par with spontaneous combustion."

 

About Patricia Cornwell

See more books from this Author
Patricia Cornwell is one of the world’s major internationally bestselling authors, translated into over thirty-five languages in more than 120 countries. She is a founder of the Virginia Institute of Forensic Sciences and Medicine; a founding member of the National Forensic Academy; a member of the Advisory Board for the Forensic Sciences Training Program at the Office of Chief Medical Examiner, New York City; and a member of the Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital’s National Council, where she is an advocate for psychiatric research. In 2008, Cornwell won the Galaxy British Book Awards’ Book Direct Crime Thriller of the Year—the first American to win this prestigious award. In 2011, she was awarded the medal of Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Ministry of Culture. Her most recent bestsellers include Port Mortuary, The Scarpetta Factor, The Front, and Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper—Case Closed. Her earlier works include Postmortem—the only novel to win five major crime awards in a single year—and Cruel and Unusual, which won Britain’s Gold Dagger Award for best crime novel of 1993. Dr. Kay Scarpetta herself won the 1999 Sherlock Award for the best detective created by an American author.
 
Published November 15, 2016 by William Morrow. 400 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Crime, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Dec 04 2016
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for Chaos
All: 8 | Positive: 5 | Negative: 3

Kirkus

Above average
on Oct 05 2016

Fans, aware that this particular fatality is incidental to the larger saga of the heroine’s epic struggle with the forces of evil, will forgive the absence of a coherent mystery or characters worth caring about.

Read Full Review of Chaos: A Scarpetta Novel (Kay... | See more reviews from Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

Below average
on Apr 15 2017

Lots of cutting-edge forensic detail and some revelatory character moments help compensate for a plot with only occasional flashes of narrative energy.

Read Full Review of Chaos: A Scarpetta Novel (Kay... | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

20Something Reads

Good
Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum on Nov 18 2016

All of her series characters make appearances here, and those familiar with her work will feel that they are among the team. Readers new to Cornwell will find themselves involved from the very first page, as will the veterans. CHAOS is one book you should not miss.

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Bestsellersworld

Good
Reviewed by Suzanne Odom on Dec 07 2016

Readers will be enthralled with the plot and characters of this book. Cornwell again writes a mystery using technological advances and great character interaction. Fans of Cornwell will not be disappointed in her latest hit and will surely look forward to the next Scarpetta mystery.

Read Full Review of Chaos: A Scarpetta Novel (Kay...

Jeremy Lynch

Above average
Reviewed by Elise Cooper on Nov 30 2016

As with all her recent books, Chaos demonstrates how technology advances can be beneficial to criminals. Readers work the investigation with Scarpetta as they try to disentangle the puzzle and mystery of this gripping plot.

Read Full Review of Chaos: A Scarpetta Novel (Kay...

ComicBookBin

Good
Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux on Jan 17 2017

I guess it comes down to the simple fact that Chaos is an excellent read. Not being able to predict what is around every literary corner makes each chapter an enticing piece of candy. You can't eat just one, and you want still more when you get to the last tasty chapter.

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Reviewing the Evidence

Above average
Reviewed by Christine Zibas on Oct 01 2016

While things are messy and complicated for about the first third of the book, once the investigation gets truly under way, the pieces begin to come together, and everything gets linked up in a satisfying (if mind-bending) conclusion.

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http://portlandbookreview.com

Good
Reviewed by L Ruby Hannigan on Jan 25 2017

There is plenty of danger lurking about to keep the reader interested and excited. Long time Scarpetta fans will not be disappointed, and new readers may be inspired to go back to the very beginning to find what they missed!

Read Full Review of Chaos: A Scarpetta Novel (Kay...

Reader Rating for Chaos
60%

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