Scarpetta by Patricia Cornwell

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PORT MORTUARY is written in the first person, and readers get the full perspective of Scarpetta from her own words. This brings the book into fuller context and fans closer to the heroine who has been around the block a few times.
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View our feature on Patricia Cornwell’s Scarpetta.

From America’s #1 bestselling crime writers comes the extraordinary new Kay Scarpetta novel.

Leaving behind her private forensic pathology practice in Charleston, South Carolina, Kay Scarpetta accepts an assignment in New York City, where the NYPD has asked her to examine an injured man on Bellevue Hospital’s psychiatric prison ward. The handcuffed and chained patient, Oscar Bane, has specifically asked for her, and when she literally has her gloved hands on him, he begins to talk—and the story he has to tell turns out to be one of the most bizarre she has ever heard.

The injuries, he says, were sustained in the course of a murder . . . that he did not commit. Is Bane a criminally insane stalker who has fixed on Scarpetta? Or is his paranoid tale true, and it is he who is being spied on, followed and stalked by the actual killer? The one thing Scarpetta knows for certain is that a woman has been tortured and murdered—and more violent deaths will follow. Gradually, an inexplicable and horrifying truth emerges: Whoever is committing the crimes knows where his prey is at all times. Is it a person, a government? And what is the connection between the victims?

In the days that follow, Scarpetta; her forensic psychologist husband, Benton Wesley; and her niece, Lucy, who has recently formed her own forensic computer investigation firm in New York, will undertake a harrowing chase through cyberspace and the all-too-real streets of the city—an odyssey that will take them at once to places they never knew, and much, much too close to home.

Throughout, Cornwell delivers shocking twists and turns, and the kind of cutting-edge technology that only she can provide. Once again, she proves her exceptional ability to entertain and enthrall.

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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 25, 2008 by Berkley. 513 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Crime. Fiction
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Above average
Reviewed by Catherine Mambretti on May 09 2011

So, either the publisher was too cheap to pay for a copyeditor for Cornwell, or the copyeditor who worked on the book was incompetent and ruined whole chapters of dialog. (Most of the book is dialog.) Nevertheless, Scarpetta is a page-turner, a good airplane book, a fun summer read.

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Book Reporter

Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien on Jan 05 2011

PORT MORTUARY is written in the first person, and readers get the full perspective of Scarpetta from her own words. This brings the book into fuller context and fans closer to the heroine who has been around the block a few times.

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