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Sunday, December 12th, 2010
9:40 am - Port Mortuary by Patricia Cornwell (2010)

I noted last December when reviewing The Scarpetta Factor that Patricia Cornwell seemed to have come out of her slump. Now with her latest book in this series this return to form is confirmed.

Most notable is that she has gone back to first person narration after six novels (Blow Fly to The Scarpetta Factor) in which she switched to an omniscient, third person perspective.It never worked for me and I really missed Kay's voice. The publishers have made note of this significant change on the back cover and inside flap by declaring "we welcome back a voice we haven't heard in years: that of Kay Scarpetta herself." I seriously let out a whoop of joy when I read this.

The story itself was very much old school Scarpetta and some aspects wouldn't be out of place in a Michael Crichton-style techno-thriller. However, Cornwell does preface the book with a note to say that it is a work of fiction, not science fiction, and that the medical and forensic procedures, technologies and weapons in the story do exist today. Also, the return to the first person perspective brings Kay's angstation about her life and the people in it to the fore and provides a fair amount of revelation about aspects of her past that go some way to explain her personality.

So what is it about? Well, Kay Scarpetta has changed jobs again and has been appointed to head up the Cambridge Forensic Center (CFC), a state-of-the-art forensic pathology facility in Massachusetts, which will be the first civilian port mortuary in the USA. However, for the past six months she has been taking advanced training in 'virtual autopsies' at Dover Air Force Base's Port Mortuary. The novel opens with Kay preparing to return home.

She then receives word of an unusual case that is causing great concern back at the CFC. A young man had dropped dead while out walking his dog, apparently of a heart condition. However, when his body is examined the next morning blood is found pooling in the body bag suggesting that he may have been alive when his body was placed in the mortuary cooler. When Kay investigates using the new technology, she finds bizarre internal injuries and an unexpected link to an unexpected link to another murder in the district.

Most of the novel takes place in an intense 24-hour period with Scarpetta becoming increasingly anxious and exhausted as events unfold. This pace makes the book almost impossible to put down. Port Mortuary is a strong return to vintage Cornwell and I am just delighted.

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Saturday, March 14th, 2009
4:50 pm - Scarpetta by Patricia Cornwell

The last few books in the Kay Scarpetta series had been something of a disappointment for me and following Book of the Dead in 2007 I decided that I would no longer buy her books in hardback 'hot off the press' but wait instead for a library copy to become available.

Despite my low expectations I am rather pleased to be able to write that this 16th outing for forensic pathologist Kay Scarpetta shows a definite return to form for Cornwall over the rather convoluted narratives and self-indulgent characterisations of her last few books in the series. The plot involves the hunt for a sadistic serial killer and while fairly straightforward there are still plenty of surprises and layers. As with all the Scarpetta books the forensic aspects are excellent and very up-to-the-minute. Like Kathy Reichs, Cornwell does take the occasional 'pot shot' at the C.S.I. TV phenomena through the voices of her own fictional characters.

Kay Scarpetta is now based in Massachusetts with a new consulting role for the NYC Police Department. At the opening of the book she is summoned to New York to examine an injured patient at Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital. Oscar Bane had been found in the apartment of his raped and murdered girlfriend. Exhibiting signs of paranoia, he had asked to be admitted to Bellevue and insisted that he would only allow Kay Scarpetta to collect physical forensic evidence from him. D.A. Jamie Berger acquiesces to this demand for a number of reasons including her concerns linked to Oscar and his late girlfriend being little people. There is already a media storm brewing with the tabloid press stirring things up and minority rights organisations expressing their concerns. Why does Oscar feel a connection with Kay? Is Oscar the murderer? Well I'm certainly not saying!

As with any long running series there is the problem of how to introduce the characters and attendant back stories for new readers while not slowing down the opening or sending faithful readers to sleep with all the exposition. Cornwell partly handles this by having Scarpetta targeted by an on-line celebrity bashing blog titled Gotham Gotcha!. This also gives her the opportunity to score some nice hits against the stalker-like nature of these kinds of sites and their lack of journalistic integrity.

Overall I found the route from opening to final page a satisfying one appreciating the strong psychological element that makes it as much a whydunit as a whodunit. Without saying too much about the development of her central cast of characters I was very happy that the soap opera-ish elements that annoyed me so much in Book of the Dead has been dropped in favour of everyone acting like the mature professionals they are suppose to be. Certainly there are various relationship and life issues for all of them but these didn't overshadow the central murder case and this felt a better balance for me. So a relived thumbs up for Scarpetta as I have enjoyed Cornwell's writing over the years and this book left me wanting more. So I'm now looking forward to Scarpetta's next outing and shall likely return to buying my copy on publication.

current mood: relieved

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Wednesday, January 14th, 2009
10:56 pm

Pat Cornwell is one of the best writers out there! I can't believe there is so little posting here! I just got "Scarpetta" out of the library and it is spellbinding.

Where are all you fans hiding, anyway?

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Friday, December 19th, 2008
11:08 am - Post-Blowfly


I wonder just how big a can of worms I'm opening up here... I just joined this community today, so forgive the newb! Anyway, I wanted to ask the community at large whether the Scarpetta books, from Blowfly onward, are really worth reading. I've read and loved all the earlier ones, but every single review I've read of Blowfly (dozens) makes me think I'd hate it. I'm very saddened because I love this series, but I don't know if I can tolerate the change in POV, change in style, sudden non-credible plot twists (by which I mostly mean Benton. Not that I wanted him dead, I just don't find his return believable!) and so on. Opinions?

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Wednesday, June 18th, 2008


Hey guys!!

PC's Book of the Dead was just picked by LOGO as a Best Summer Listen.  The list has a bunch of other cool books and we can download best-selling audiobooks straight to our iPod from this site. Check it out!


current mood: jubilant

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Wednesday, May 14th, 2008
8:46 am - Patricia Cornwell's 'The Front' gets 'digested'.

Every week the Tuesday edition of The Guardian contains a 'Digested Read', which is a 400 word tongue-in-cheek summary of a recently published book.

This week the highlighted book is Patricia Cornwell's 'The Front', the second in her 'At Risk' series that literally just has been released this week. The article can be found here and does reveal the plot so should be avoided if you don't want spoilers.

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Thursday, April 10th, 2008
4:16 pm - Kathy Reichs vs Patricia Cornwell

"Tempe Brennan is the lab lady most likely to dethrone Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta" ~ USA Today

A couple of lady's in this group tuned me into the Bones series by Reichs and I do have to say that the books are a great read.  However, I do have to disagree that until recently, Patricia Cornwell's books were far better and easier to read than what Kathy Reichs books are.

Now again, I'm only on the third book of the Bones series so I may change my mind later down the road.

But I'm looking for other opinions out there.  Who wins in a author vs author series write off between these two and why do you think one is better than the other?

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Monday, April 7th, 2008
9:25 am - the book i was referring to.
dancergirl1990 The last precinct. Admitadly, ive only red 1 and a half of her books. The half, i lost half way thruogh reading... and i can't get my hands on ne at the moment, bcause, i am revising for mocks, and the school librarian sold them ALL!!! she is a little bit insane!!!!!

current mood: confused

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Sunday, March 30th, 2008
5:34 am - Great writer
dancergirl1990 Its such a great book, hats off to a truly talented writer. She writes with great clarity, leaving little to be desired and causing no confusion. She deals with the characters, well, giving them a truly human spin.
Rock on!!!!

current mood: chipper

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Tuesday, January 15th, 2008
9:34 am - Book of The Dead

I liked it.  I hate the writing style she's used (again) for this book though.  But the plotline was wonderfully twisted.

About her style of writing.  Do you guys think she's tired or being so descriptive or am I thinking too hard on why she's changed the point of view for these last few books?  I read Body of Evidence again a couple of weeks ago and it was so refreshing to be in the early stages of the Kay Saga.  I could almost smell the food she fixed and warmed myself by the fire in her Richmond home fireplace.

Back to Book of the Dead.  Not one of the ones I'd put on my top ten list but I did think once I got past my problem with the author, the read was worth the wait.

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Friday, November 2nd, 2007
8:52 am - her new book....

"Book of the Dead" will put you to sleep....this is my personal opinion, but it seemed I was wading through literary mud (am reading thru it again to see what I missed the first time)...I think I will go back to checking out books from the library rather than spend good money for books....

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Friday, July 6th, 2007
6:25 pm - New Novel

Hi all,

I'm new to the livejournal scene, but I'm hoping to meet some cool writers/readers and also stir up interest in my new novel.  I recently signed a 2-book deal with Ace/Roc for an urban fantasy/crime procedural series with a forensic twist.  The first book is called NIGHT CHILD, and the protagonist is a witch, working in Vancouver, who uses a mixture of current forensic technology and old-fashioned magic to solve crimes within the supernatural community.  Her official title is OSI, or Occult Special Investigator.

Now, I'm probably walking a fine line here between introducing myself and selling my work, but I'm more interested in getting feedback about the series than anything else.  I'd really love to start developing a good readership early on so that I have people to help me bounce around ideas before the books go to print.  Currently, NIGHT CHILD is slated to be out in the Spring of 2008, and the second novel, HEXTACY, will follow in 2009.

I've just started a new website and livejournal to provide more info about my work, and I'd love any and all feedback.  You can link to the website HERE, and the livejournal HERE.

I'd love to chat about the series as it develops, answer any questions--both about the books and about writing in general--and meet new readers and writers.  I've already connected with the folks at Fangs, Fur, and Fey and Urban Fantasy Fans communities, and they've been awesome. 

Email me at:  jbattis@sfu.ca



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Monday, June 12th, 2006
9:15 am - At Risk...

Finished it yesterday...I don't know when she first wrote it because the back cover states that she originally created it as a fifteen-part serial for The New York Times Magazine...this may explain why it is different from her other stuff....

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Monday, May 8th, 2006
1:05 pm - new book announcement

Dear Amazon.com Customer,

As someone who has purchased books by Patricia Cornwell, you might like to know that "At Risk" will be released on May 23, 2006.

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Friday, April 28th, 2006
10:39 am - Predator review ---- question

Do you agree with this review from the paper?
From what I have heard and read - it seems to be the opposite.


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Friday, March 31st, 2006
10:31 am - I'm so in the dark...At Risk


I didn't even know this one was coming!

current mood: sick

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Thursday, February 16th, 2006
12:51 am - Whoa....

Within the next 24 hours our leaders will vote on a subject that could very well effect how future novels will be published. If you live in a state that has a representative on the board for this - EMAIL them NOW and tell them how silly this new trademark law is.


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Wednesday, January 25th, 2006
2:42 pm - Missing the old

I've been reading Patricia Cornwell books for years, and only just finished Predator, and have come to one conclusion:

I miss the old series.

I miss the relationship that Kay and Marino used to have, like in Cause of Death and From Potter's Field. The banter was wonderful. Also, the interactions with Benton were things I really looked forward to. These days I'm just not as interested in Lucy as a character and I find myself reaching for the older books in nostalgia... though I am glad that Temple Gault is gone.
As far as I'm concerned, Black Notice is when things started to change (and not for the better).

Anyone got any theories/hopes as to how our beloved characters will somehow change back into versions of (the old) themselves we all know and love?

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Sunday, January 15th, 2006
7:35 pm - Predator

Hi! I am a new member to this community and to LJ so I'm still trying to figure all this out. I recently finished Predator and thought it was one of Patricia Cornwell's best (and most disturbing) works to date. If anyone has read it and would like to comment privately (so as not to spoil it for others in the group that haven't) send me a message. I'd love to talk to someone about it! I've read all of the Scarpetta Novels, as well as Portrait of a Killer. I am a huge fan of Cornwell's and look forward to her next work! Thanks! Meghan :) (lipsticklove@gmail.com)

current mood: thoughtful

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Tuesday, December 27th, 2005
10:11 pm - Predator - question for readers

Have you read Cornwell's new book "Predator"?
If so what did you think of it?
Also - how many of her other Scarpetta books have you read?


current mood: tired

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