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Book of the Dead

Cover of Book of the Dead

Book of the Dead

Kay Scarpetta Series, Book 15
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The Book of the Dead is the morgue log, the ledger in which all cases are entered by hand. For Kay Scarpetta, however, it is about to acquire a new meaning. Fresh from her bruising battle with a psychopath in Florida, Scarpetta decides it's time for a change of pace. Moving to the historic city of Charleston, South Carolina, she opens a unique private forensic pathology practice, one in which she and her colleagues offer expert crime scene investigation and autopsies to communities lacking local access to competent death investigation and modern technology.
It seems an ideal situation, until the new battles start–with local politicians, with entrenched interests, with someone whose covert attempts at sabotage are clearly meant to run her out of town. And that's even before the murders and other violent deaths begin. A sixteen-year-old tennis star is found nude and mutilated near Piazza Navona in Rome. The body of an abused young boy is dumped in a desolate marsh. A woman is ritualistically murdered in her multimillion-dollar beach home. Meanwhile, in New England, problems with a prominent patient start to hint at interconnections among the deaths that are as hard to imagine as they are horrible.
Scarpetta has dealt with many brutal and unusual crimes before, but never a string of them as baffling, or as terrifying, as the ones facing her now. Before she is through, that book of the dead will contain many names–and the pen may be poised to write her own.
From the Compact Disc edition.
The Book of the Dead is the morgue log, the ledger in which all cases are entered by hand. For Kay Scarpetta, however, it is about to acquire a new meaning. Fresh from her bruising battle with a psychopath in Florida, Scarpetta decides it's time for a change of pace. Moving to the historic city of Charleston, South Carolina, she opens a unique private forensic pathology practice, one in which she and her colleagues offer expert crime scene investigation and autopsies to communities lacking local access to competent death investigation and modern technology.
It seems an ideal situation, until the new battles start–with local politicians, with entrenched interests, with someone whose covert attempts at sabotage are clearly meant to run her out of town. And that's even before the murders and other violent deaths begin. A sixteen-year-old tennis star is found nude and mutilated near Piazza Navona in Rome. The body of an abused young boy is dumped in a desolate marsh. A woman is ritualistically murdered in her multimillion-dollar beach home. Meanwhile, in New England, problems with a prominent patient start to hint at interconnections among the deaths that are as hard to imagine as they are horrible.
Scarpetta has dealt with many brutal and unusual crimes before, but never a string of them as baffling, or as terrifying, as the ones facing her now. Before she is through, that book of the dead will contain many names–and the pen may be poised to write her own.
From the Compact Disc edition.
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  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 20, 2007
    Bestseller Cornwell's 15th novel to feature Dr. Kay Scarpetta (after 2005's Predator
    ) delivers her trademark grisly crime scenes, but lacks the coherence and emotional resonance of earlier books. Soon after relocating to Charleston, S.C., to launch a private forensics lab, Scarpetta is asked to consult on the murder of U.S. tennis star Drew Martin, whose mutilated body was found in Rome. Contradictory evidence leaves Scarpetta, the Italian carabinieri and Scarpetta's lover, forensic psychologist Benton Wesley, stumped. But when she discovers unsettling connections between Martin's murder, the body of an unidentified South Carolina boy and her old nemesis, the maniacal psychiatrist Dr. Marilyn Self, Scarpetta encounters a killer as deadly as any she's ever faced. With her recent switch from first- to third-person narration, Cornwell loses what once made her series so compelling: a window into the mind of a strong, intelligent woman holding her own in a profession dominated by men. Here, the abrupt shifts in point of view slow the momentum, and the reader flounders in excessive forensic minutiae.

  • AudioFile Magazine Kate Reading draws listeners into this Kay Scarpetta mystery, involving them in the characters' lives. Her voices are distinct and unique--even the bit part of the deaf girl is perfectly rendered. Unfortunately, the story is not typical Scarpetta, though the ever-present details of the postmortems are still fascinating. There are a number of subplots about the recurring characters, as well as the murderer and others. Almost all of the threads are tied up by the end, but the story drags at times with lots of repetition and too much detail about each character. An abridged version might pack more punch. S.S.R. (c) AudioFile 2008, Portland, Maine
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Book of the Dead
Book of the Dead
Kay Scarpetta Series, Book 15
Patricia Cornwell
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