Dust by Patricia Cornwell
(A Scarpetta Novel)


8 Critic Reviews

Cornwell's strength remains the intricate details of forensic examinations as her heroes fight to uncover both a serial killer and a high-level cover-up.
-Publishers Weekly


With unparalleled high-tension suspense and the latest in forensic technology, Patricia Cornwell once again proves her exceptional ability to surprise—and to thrill—in this electrifying Kay Scarpetta novel.

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 engineering grad student Gail Shipton, last seen the night before at a trendy Cambridge bar. It appears she’s been murdered, mere weeks before the trial in her $100 million lawsuit against her former financial manager, and Massachusetts Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta doubts it’s a coincidence. She also fears the case may have a connection with her computer genius niece, Lucy.

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.

About Patricia Cornwell

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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 12, 2013 by Berkley. 417 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Crime. Fiction
Bestseller Status:
Peak Rank on Dec 01 2013
Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for Dust
All: 8 | Positive: 7 | Negative: 1


Above average
on Nov 17 2013

The red herrings and MacGuffins are standard mystery fare, complicated by Cornwell’s deep appreciation for the work of medical examiners in even the relatively simple matter of distinguishing a murder from a suicide, to say nothing of deciding who did the foul deed.

Read Full Review of Dust (A Scarpetta Novel) | See more reviews from Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

on Dec 16 2013

Cornwell's strength remains the intricate details of forensic examinations as her heroes fight to uncover both a serial killer and a high-level cover-up.

Read Full Review of Dust (A Scarpetta Novel) | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly


Above average
Reviewed by Alison Flood on Dec 14 2013

Unrepentant and unafraid, this time she is not only on the trail of a killer, she is also fighting to protect her husband as he falls victim to deep-seated corruption, and making it very clear that she is not a woman to be overlooked or underestimated.

Read Full Review of Dust (A Scarpetta Novel) | See more reviews from Guardian

Book Reporter

Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum on Nov 15 2013

As always, Patricia Cornwell gives her readers enough clues and red herrings to keep them guessing until the end. DUST is a long novel filled with many characters who get more than enough space to do their thing.

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The Boston Globe

Above average
Reviewed by DANEET STEFFENS on Nov 26 2013

Upping the nail-biting suspense factor is the story’s breakneck pace: The action opens on a dark and stormy winter’s night — the eve of Benton’s birthday — doesn’t let up for nearly 500 pages, and largely takes place within a 24-hour period.

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Mysterious Reviews

Reviewed by Betty on Dec 01 2013

...the author manages to both accomodate long-time readers and first time readers in a remarkably transparent manner, giving the former a chance to get caught up on what's happened since the events of previous books, and the latter context so they don't feel as if they've missed something along the way.

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Criminal Element

Reviewed by KIM HAMMOND on Nov 10 2013

These cases are more sinister than first thought, and they will all be forced to battle a predator like nothing they've ever known before. Throw in drugs, organized crime, and corruption, and you've got another entertaining novel by Patricia Cornwell.

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The Nocturnal Library

Reviewed by Maja on Feb 07 2014

...the second she went back to first person narrative and Kay Scarpetta’s sharp and intelligent voice, those of us who are most faithful to her didn’t hesitate for a second...I am thrilled to see this series finally back on track...

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Deb Fry 17 Nov 2013

Rated the book as 5 out of 5

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Jaya Bhat 30 Jan 2014

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Deb Fry

Deb Fry 17 Nov 2013

Requested a 15 min summary of the book