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3.0 out of 5 starsOverall, happy.
Reviewed in Canada on December 5, 2015
The book cover was badly damaged with no attempt to even repair it. Kind of disappointed because it wasn't as it was stated in the description. The book itself, physically speaking, was in great condition with only two or so minor page folds. As for the read, it was good and fell in line with other books in the series. I am happy with the purchase with the exception of the book cover. I would still, however, recommend it and buy from the seller again.
My whole family have read them, i finally hot around to reading it and its amazing! At first I wasnt sure about it, but once i got further in I couldnt put it down! I have now finished book 4 in less then two weeks! So good, Cornwells wroting is amazingn
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 14, 2018
To be honest, two stars is being a little generous; I have a lot of trouble actually coming up with something I like about this book. It's quite possible that the later books in the series are better, and it's quite possible that the problem here is that this one has dated badly. Ultimately, however, Scarpetta is not an especially likeable character here and she's basically impotent. I could see exactly which cliché ending was coming from about the first page. That would not be so bad if various plot threads dangled the possibility that I was wrong. But no. Maybe the trope wasn't so common back when this book was written, but now just about every book or TV series with a female lead has done this to death. Like I said, it's aged badly.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 18, 2018
With the speed and roar of an avalanche, this forensically terrifying thriller grips you from page one. There are “grasping a deadly cold hand in the dark” scenes, built with elegantly simple elements: female doctor working at night in a desolate morgue, violently shaken doors.
Women are being murdered in their homes. Dr Scarpetta will have to triumph over conflict to be able to do her job. There is a turbulent atmosphere and a general resigned acceptance with regards to an insensitive professional culture. But not every one’s eye will be blind; an unexpected character will give a ground shaking speech with the echo of past human kind struggles, worth waiting for. It brought the retribution of Ms Richardson’s cleaver to mind. Some technical passages will need several re-reads if, like me, you find it difficult. Alternatively, dismiss without remorse in order to proceed with the riveting story. As the story was reaching its full orbit I was dreading being interrupted.
I 1st read this back in the 90’s and was bowled over by it then! On picking this up again I enjoyed it for different reasons. Firstly because it was like taking a step back in time.
If you are a 1st time reader you have to remember that this was 1st published 29/30 years ago. The forensics, a far cry from what we are used to reading and watching today were true for the time and very well described.
I was also taken aback by the misogynistic undertones from colleagues that Kay Scarpetta has to battle against yet deals with in her stride. Something some of us will remember having to deal with back in the day!
Patricia certainly had me wrapped up in the storyline once more, I loved every page.
She certainly set the standard for female protagonists in this genre. We have a lot to thank her for!
I love the concept of Kay Scarpetta. A no nonsense, extremely smart, in position of power yet still humble. Dr Kay Scarpetta may be a modern woman, but she is first a woman, It is very rare I find a leading character so well balanced. Sgt Marino would seem stereotyped at first with his misogynist and narrow views on people but we have to remember this was written in the 90's, Politcally correctness was still a toddler, technology was not as advanced as it is now and DNA testing, if I am not mistaken, was still developing..So, Pete Marino, in this context, is quite a great character. I have now bought many of Dr Scarpetta because I was at odds to choose another book after this ...
I found this very dated(obviously given when it was written.) However given how much of the book relies on apparent highbrow medical and computer technology presumably trying to get the average reader to be impressed by the author’s knowledge, it was quite slow and boring adding little to the plot. There is not much of a plot in any case and I really did not care for most of the characters. Cornwell has been a successful author but on this showing I will not be rushing to get another one by her.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 22, 2019
Was advised to prep my stomach by the book and some avid readers of this author and found it to be far too watered down...all the threats that this is from a Pathologist and to expect some dark stuff were unfounded. Found Unnatural Causes from a Forensic Pathologist to be a more rewarding read. Happy to hear from readers if there is someone else out there from a Fictional perspective that really does convey without watering down well into a good story but this one was utterly boring for me right to the end. Do these get grittier or am I too desensitised for when it was originally released?
5.0 out of 5 starsThrilling flashback, Worth a read.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 26, 2016
Having read some of the later 'Scarpetta' books, out of curiosity I went back to read the first one. Patricia Cornwell writes with such feeling, it was hard to put this book down. I thoroughly enjoyed the thriller, sitting on the edge of my seat as the tale unfolded. It's pretty graphic as 'Kay' works with the victims, with some suspense as she gets out of her office into the community. As an intelligent woman in a male dominated world, you can't help but support 'Kay' through her adventures. Some of the dialogue is a little predictable at the start of the book, but thankfully this passes as you get to know the characters. Reading about the old fashioned computer dramas was quite entertaining too, (especially as I read it using my kindle), the flashback was endearing. In short, this is well worth a read. I'd recommend it to other crime readers.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 9, 2015
It's been a while since I read Patricia Cornwell, and I thought it was about time that I started the series from book 1 again. I have not been so caught up in a book for a long time, and luckily for me, I could not remember this book. Kay Scarpetta has a new job as the Chief Medical examiner in Richmond. 3 women have been horifically killed so far, and when Kay's phone ring in the early hours of Saturday morning, she knows there is a fourth. What is the link between these women? Who is the grass in the office telling all to a reporter? Who has been able to get into their computer and bring up the file of one of the dead women? Why is the Chief of Police harassing her and trying to blame her for all the wrongs that have been done in the case? And then there is Marino the Police Office who always manages to wind her up, but whose side is he really on? Kay does not know whom to trust and definately it isn't the man whom she has recently started to see. There is also the clever 10 year old niece Lucy who is staying with Kay at the time. A must read for all
3.0 out of 5 starsGood read for a 30-year-old book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 28, 2019
Still a good read 30 years after it was first published. The very first of the famous Scarpetta series was an instant award winner and has collected a hatful of awards since. What was truly groundbreaking CSI-type crime analysis at the time in the '90s still holds water to a great extent today, if a little dated. But the characters of boyfriends, policemen, etc are well-crafted without getting too much of a distraction. The only minor grumble is that the finger is pointed this way and that over who the serial killer is and the ultimate ID is rather uninspiring although the final scene - paradoxically - utterly gripping. A well-woven plot means more than just the serial killer 'gets theirs' in the final few pages.
I thought this was a very good read,well written and exciting. I read some of the comments before purchasing the book which referred to the fact that they were annoyed with "too much description " and I agree it was very descriptive but the author was painting a picture of the scene and left no doubt of how that room or hallway looked. If you are the type of reader that likes to gorge a story gobble it up and cram on to the next story then this might not be for you unless you slowed down a bit and read the story, (does that sound pompous ??) Patricia Cornwell is a well known writer of good stories and this book is No.1 in the series so I for one will be progressing through the series with gusto although I will be treating them as a kind of "chocolate sweetie" in between my other reads. There are quite a few in the series.... oh goody goody
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 9, 2013
Dr Kay Scarpetta, Chief Medical Examiner of Richmond, Virginia is woken in the early hours after another woman is brutally murdered. This is the 4th victim during several months and the methods used by the killer are sadistic, cruel and greatly upsetting to all that are involved in these cases.
This is my first Patricia Cornwall book and I like her style of writing, the story-line especially, the pace and context of the book really is good, making fascinating reading with all the medical facts, figures and jargon (which at times were overwhelming to be honest as I didn't quite understand them) but which Ms Cornwall uses quite expertly having obviously, extensive knowledge on the subject.
To be fair I was expecting a really good thriller but thought this was more of a murder/mystery type book and didn't quite enjoy it as much as I thought I would. And the ending was a total let down, after going through the story with the idea it was someone they knew or had a voice they had heard before, eventually when all was revealed it turns out it was nothing like that at all and it just seemed to fizzle out somehow and never gained its momentum again, almost like it was rushed to wind it up.
I liked the characters of Kay and Marino very much, they seemed to bounce off each other with great effect but Lucy's character was of a spoilt brat nature looking for attention which I didn't enjoy and wondered several times exactly what her purpose was in this story.
Overall not a bad book but not one of the great thrillers I have read in the past however I am looking forward to reading The Body Farm so hope that that book will change my mind about this very popular author.
Never the less Patricia a nice couple of days worth of reading, thank you.
5.0 out of 5 starsIt's based on gruesome cruel sadistic killings by a sick predatory male.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 12, 2018
Gruesome murders taking place in a local area of women. One of the husbands is suspected of killing his wife. The times and days of each murder are taking place around the same time as each other. At the same time somebody is trying to fix evidence from the post mortem results and breaking into the computer. Lots of twists and turns and the ending is surprising.
3.0 out of 5 starsMore dated than expected but enjoyable enough to try more!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 15, 2015
I was interested to try a Patricia cor well nov having seen them lining so many bookshop shelves. So I thought I'd start at the beginning of the series. I knew nothing about the series or the author. After the first page I learnt she was America not English as I had deviously thought! I enjoyed the book... More so as the book went on. However, I found it surprising long dated for a modern crime drama with it's references about dna testing not being highly accurate. As long as you accept the period of the book it is enjoyable. I think I was hindered by my preconceptions. Having said this I think I would happily work my way through the series now to get up to date!!
Great writing style which drew me in and kept the pages turning along with strong, well developed characters, which meant I could mentally 'see' the people about whom the rather gruesome story developed. In fact, Kay Scarpetta herself is so well drawn, warts and all, that she feels like someone I know personally. Fast paced, meaning it was actually difficult to put the book down and enough of a convoluted plot to keep me guessing right up to the last chapter. Certainly, I did not pause before buying the next book in the series. Would recommend.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 26, 2018
The author's knowledge is legendary as is well known. The way she knits it together and makes it so interesting every time is getting to be the same. As usual this escapes is well written and and keeps one interested, so much so that I have read it too quickly and am left desperate for more and hate the thought that one day it might stop coming.