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Scarpetta - Patricia Cornwell

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Genre: Crime / Thriller / Author: Patricia Cornwell / Hardcover / 512 Pages / Book is published 2008-11-27 by Little, Brown

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    4 Reviews
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      28.01.2010 21:10
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      Would not reccommend

      The story starts with a phone call to Dr Kay Scarpetta asking her to come and interview a man in New York. He has given himself to the police because his girlfriend has been murdered and he claims he has not done it. He doesn't trust any other doctor other than Scarpetta and will only talk to her. So off she goes to interview Oscar and to examine his wounds and take some forensic evidence from him to try and prove that he has not committed the murder.

      I have to say now that I really did not enjoy this book and even though I read it to the end (well almost), I really don't remember much of it. A lot of time was taken up by the interview with Scarpetta and Oscar and before I knew it I was about a third of the way in before she had got out of there and fed back the information to her colleagues.

      Oscar keeps going on about the fact that he is being followed and spied on and he reckons that it is those people who killed Terri, his girlfriend. But after Scarpetta has left the room there is not much mention of this and noting to make the reader believe that is the case.

      The majority of the book is description and I felt that there was really not much action which is probably why I got bored. I like chapter endings that leave the reader hanging and wanting to read on, but with this book I really had to find the energy to pick it up again. There were so many discussions about evidence they had found or what they were doing. There was a part where on character - Lucy, was going through emails and actually found some interesting ones, but the other character that was with her kept going on about headaches, which I felt was quite pointless and irrelevant.

      It was quite a long book and in the end the time frame only spanned a day or two before they found out who did kill Terri. But each time I picked it up it felt that far too much had happened and that it must be about 2 days more than it actually was. If some of the description about the characters and their backgrounds and their daily life was taken out, the pace of the book might be faster.

      I have not read any of Cornwell's other books but I understand that Dr Kay Scarpetta is the main character in most of them. I did not quite understand why this book was called just plainly 'Scarpetta' as if it might be about her. She did play a major part however it was probably the same role she played in all the other books - the crime scene investigator. The fact that Oscar and Terri both really looked up to her and admired her might have been a factor, but I don't think it warrants calling the book Scarpetta.

      The story covered quite a lot of history in the lives of nearly all the characters. Again, I am not sure if this had been covered before in previous novels but again some of it seemed irrelevant, but I know that Cornwell put it in to update new readers to the series.

      I think the story has potential and it is an interesting idea that Cornwell is trying to put across but it just wasn't done well enough. The story really lacks pace and it even lacks forensic details. Yes there are swabs and measurements taken from Oscar in his examination but this is not made reference to later on in the story.

      Cornwell is meant to be the leading author in her field, yet I have read several other crime writers such as Kathy Reichs and Tess Gerritsen and I have enjoyed their books much more than Cornwell's. I am not sure if all her books are like this one and I am definitely up for reading one of her earlier works to see if it is any different as this one might just be a one off, trying to bring the series into modern times. But unfortunately I will not be recommending it, or reading it again.

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      • More +
        02.10.2009 11:12

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        Crime thriller that will have you guessing from the start

        Another fantastic crime thriller, from one the best female crime writers I have ever read. Cornwell is the expert at writing physcological and emotional thrillers. Her writing is pacey and her characters have depth.
        The main character is Dr Kay Scarpetta, an Italian American forensic pathologist or medical examiner. This novel sees the continuation and development of Kay's marriage to Wesley (fomer FBI profilier), and long time friend and colleague former police chief Marino. In the previous novel Kay was sexually attacked by Marino, who has carried a candle for a long time. The novel deals with the attack with real sensitivity and details the struggle Kay has in dealing with the violation.
        Also see Kay reconsile her relationship with her highly intelligent and troubled niece Lucy.
        The novel centres around the sadistic murder of a 'little person', the main suspect is her boyfriend Oscar. As usual the scooby gang; Kay, Wesley, Marino and Lucy work together to solve the crime.
        Not my favourite Cornwell novel, but then Cornwell is so good, it is difficult to pick a favourite. A bloody good read none the less.

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        29.06.2009 11:58
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        A little bit heavy for a relaxed read, though still a good storyline and flowed well

        Kay Scarpetta is involved in a murder case and the main suspect is a dwarfed man called Oscar who claims he is being watched all the time. You feel the man is suffering from mental health illness. He admits himself into a a physciatric hospital- the Bellevue. Is he the murderer of his girlfriend who is the murder victim? he thinks Scarpetta is the only one that can help him .

        Meanwhile an internet gossip site starts to bleed personal stuff about scarpetta and the one that runs this site has hidden the identity and they pay a young lady to sit in editing this site. This lady lives across the road

        The way that the author tries to portray scarpetta as this very successful intelligent, good looking lady was too over the top i thought. I got bored of this after a while. Already everyone who reads practricia Cornwell should have this image of Scarpetta by now anyway. I already had an idea of the ending well before it had happened. I feel that these books are going more towards modern day almost sci-fi stuff now. With all this technology stuff being added in. I would like to see a come back in the old style books where it concentrated more on evidence and twists i.e. as in the bodyfarm. That is my personal opinion. All the technology makes it hard to read and i very nearly gave up, the main time for reading for me is at night and so its tough going if you want to relax and read. I preferred to read my uni books and sit and understand them.

        However i was glad to find it was a little better than some of her recent books. The plot was good and the way it flowed was good. However, i would not recommend it for a light, bedtime read.

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        21.01.2009 13:24
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        Latest Scarpetta book by Patricia Cornwell

        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?

        ===My thoughts===

        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?

        ===Recommended===

        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.

        ===Patricia Cornwell===

        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.

        ===Other info===

        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.

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