4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, Kay Scarpetta, PICT Book Tours, RATING, Read in 2015, Review Book, SERIES

2015.26 REVIEW – Flesh and Blood by Patricia Cornwell

Flesh and Blood
by Patricia Cornwell

Copyright: 2014
Pages: 494
Rating: 4/5
Read: Aug. 3-15, 2015
Challenge: No Challenge
Yearly count: 26
Format: Print
Source: Partners in Crime Book Tours
Series: Kay Scarpetta #22

Flesh and BloodBlurb:
 Dr. Kay Scarpetta is about to head to Miami for a vacation when she notices seven pennies on a wall behind their home. Is this a kids’ game? If so, why are all of the coins dated 1981 and so shiny they could be newly minted? Then she learns there’s been a homicide five minutes away. A high school teacher was shot with uncanny precision as he unloaded groceries from his car. Yet no one heard or saw a thing.

Soon more victims surface. The shots seem impossible to achieve, yet they are so perfect they cause death in an instant. There is no pattern to indicate where the killer will strike next. First it was New Jersey, then Massachusetts, and then the murky depths off the coast. There she comes face to face with shocking news that implicates her niece, Lucy – Scarpetta’s own flesh and blood.


Review:I received a copy of this for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions below are my own.

So those of you who follow me regularly will remember that my last experience with Ms. Cornwell did not end well. I was more than a little disappointed. And I even said I was “breaking up” with Kay Scarpetta. So what was it that made me want to read this book for the PICT book tour? I have no idea!

I definitely liked this book a million times more than the last one I read, Port Mortuary. I didn’t read the three books between that one and this one. And honestly, I didn’t really find that it mattered that I had skipped those three books.

Overall, I enjoyed this installment. I found it fast paced and exciting at times. However, there were a few moments where it lagged for me. Mainly, this was when there was a lengthy discussion regarding some ballistic testing. I found it a little too technical for my tastes and found myself skimming those few pages. Other than that, the book was highly entertaining to me.

And the ending. Wow. Talk about a cliff hanger that has me dying to know what happens next.

So while I’m still torn on this series as a whole, I have to say that this was a fun book to read and I would definitely recommend it.


About the Author:

patriciacornwellPatricia Cornwell is recognized as one of the world’s top bestselling crime authors with novels translated into thirty-six languages in more than 120 countries. Her novels have won numerous prestigious awards including the Edgar, the Creasey, the Anthony, the Macavity, and the Prix du Roman d’Aventure. Beyond the Scarpetta series, she has written a definitive book about Jack the Ripper, a biography, and two more fiction series. Cornwell, a licensed helicopter pilot and scuba diver, actively researches the cutting-edge forensic technologies that inform her work. She was born in Miami, grew up in Montreat, North Carolina, and now lives and works in Boston.

Connect with Patricia Cornwell:
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Purchase Links 
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

As always, I hope you will take the time to visit the other stops on the blog tour:

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2/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, Kay Scarpetta, RATING, Read in 2015, SERIES

2015.5 REVIEW – Port Mortuary by Patricia Cornwell

Port Mortuary
by Patricia Cornwell

Copyright:2010
Pages: 494
Rating: 2/5
Read: Jan. 25 – Feb. 4, 2015
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 5
Format: Print
Source: Personal Copy
Series: Kay Scarpetta #18

port mortuaryBlurb: More than twenty years and many successes since the start of Kay Scarpetta’s career, her secret military ties have drawn her to Dover Air Force Base and Port Mortuary, where she’s performing autopsies on fallen soldiers. But her new headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts – the Cambridge Forensic Center – is the first civilian facility in the U.S. to do virtual autopsies, and it is there that she encounters a devastating event.

A young man has died, apparently from a cardiac arrhythmia, eerily close to Scarpetta’s new Cambridge home. But when his body is examined the next morning, there are stunning indications that he may have been alive when he was zipped inside a pouch and locked inside the Center’s cooler. Carious 3-D radiology scans reveal more shocking details about internal injuries unlike any Scarpetta has ever seen – details that suggest the possibility of a conspiracy to cause mass casualties. With Benton, Marino, and Lucy at her side, Scarpetta must fight a cunning, cruel – and invisible – enemy, as she races against time to discover who and why before more people die…


Review: I think I keep hoping that Patricia Cornwell will magically return to her glory days of years past and write an awesome Kay Scarpetta book. And I keep getting massively disappointed. I didn’t like this one. Not much at all, to be honest. To the point where I’m not sure why I even read it in its entirety.

But I read it all. And I am so confused it’s not even funny. First, we learn that Dr. Scarpetta is actually Colonel Scarpetta. What? Apparently she spent time in the military straight out of school to help pay off her debt. She owed them 6 years … she only made it 6 months before something happened and they kicked her out. I actually went on Goodreads to read other reviews of this book after I finished to see if this was mentioned by any other reviewers. Apparently this little background tidbit is not something that I have just forgotten about over the years. It really is something that was never introduced until Book 18 in the series. Ok. Why? If what happened to Kay in South Africa is still bothering her all these years later, why are we the readers just now learning about it? Give me a break.

I’m not going to spend much time going into the particulars of this book. Let me just tell you that all I came away with is that Kay Scarpetta did nothing but whine and moan about the state of affairs at the Center that she is supposedly the head of. When she finds out that Jack Fielding has let the place go to hell, instead of taking the bull by the horn (like she would have done 17 books ago) and fixing the problem, she just whined to her obnoxiously unhelpful husband about poor pitiful Kay. There were murders that needed solving, and instead of focusing on them, we had to endure Kay’s pity party. Ugh.

So yeah. I didn’t like this book. I don’t recommend it. You want a good Patricia Cornwell book …. read one of the first 10 in the series. Then walk away … which is what I should have done, and what I’m doing now.

3.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, Kay Scarpetta, RATING, Read in 2013, READING CHALLENGES 2013, SERIES

2013.49 REVIEW – The Scarpetta Factor by Patricia Cornwell

The Scarpetta Factor
by Patricia Cornwell

Copyright: 2009
Pages: 572
Rating: 3.5/5
Read: Nov 18-29, 2013
Challenge: Off the Shelf 2013
Yearly count: 49
Format: Print
Source: Personal Copy

Blurb: It is the week before Christmas. A tanking economy has prompted Dr. Kay Scarpetta – despite her busy schedule and her continuing work as the senior forensic analyst for CNN – to offer her services pro bono to New York City’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. In no time at all, her increased visibility seems to precipitate a string of unexpected and unsettling events, culminating in an ominous package – possibly a bomb – showing up at the front desk of the apartment building where she and her husband, Benton, live. Soon the apparent threat on Scarpetta’s life finds her embroiled in a surreal plot that includes a famous actor accused of an unthinkable sex crime and the disappearance of a beautiful millionaire with whom her niece, Lucy, seems to have shared a secret past.

Scarpetta’s CNN producer wants her to launch a TV show called The Scarpetta Factor. Given the bizarre events already in play, she fears that her growing fame will generate the illusion that she has a “special factor,” a mythical ability to solve all her cases. She wonders if she will end up like other TV personalities: her own stereotype.


Review: Faithful readers will know that I gobbled up the first 15 books in this series rather quickly (nearly back-to-back, really) a few years back. Then I hit a wall (like a lot of Cornwell readers seem to experience) and took a big break in reading these books. I read Scarpetta, book 16, in July of 2012. And for whatever reason, I decided to pick this one up now. I will say that these books are not as good as her earlier books; they are not even close to her older stuff. But I guess for one a year it’s not too terrible.

I think my main issue with this book is how l-o-n-g it seemed. At times it felt like it would never end; other times the pages flew by. But overall it might have been a tad too long (or it might just have been the fact that I picked this 500+ page chunker of a book up immediately after reading a 500+ page chunker before it…)

Once again I felt as if the characters weren’t like they used to be. Lucy is just down right angry. Like all the time angry. Benton sometimes feels like he’s not even there emotionally. I still can’t forgive Marino for what he did. Kay is changing too it seems. Or maybe it’s just me wanting these books to be like the earlier installments were and they just aren’t anymore.

Either way, this series is not as good as it once was. But I will probably continue to read one a year. Why? Because I have a very hard time breaking up with authors….

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, Kay Scarpetta, RATING, Read in 2012, READING CHALLENGES 2012, SERIES

2012.17 REVIEW – Scarpetta by Patricia Cornwell

Scarpetta
by Patricia Cornwell

Copyright: 2008
Pages: 579
Rating: 4/5
Read: June 26 – July 5, 2012
Challenge: Mystery & Suspense 2012; Off the Shelf 2012
Yearly Count: 17
Format: Print
Source: Personal Copy

Blurb: Leaving behind her private forensic pathology practice in Charleston, South Carolina, Kay Scarpetta takes an assignment in New York City, where an injured patient in Bellevue Hospital’s psychiatric prison ward has specifically asked for her. While Scarpetta examines him, she listens to one of the most bizarre stories she has ever heard.

Oscar Bane says his injuries were sustained in the course of a murder … that he did not commit. Is Bane a criminally insane stalker who has fixated 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 occur…

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. It is an odyssey that will take them at once to places they never knew but also much, much too close to home.


Review: Okay, here’s the deal: In 2010 I went kind of bonkers and read the first 15 Scarpetta books pretty much back to back. I got burned out. Big time. In fact, I wrote a pretty negative review of the 15th book in the series, Book of the Dead. I made it relatively clear that I was burned out in that review and that I was not impressed with where this series was going. Fast forward a year and a half later and I decided to pick up book 16, Scarpetta. It was more curiosity than anything. I remembered perfectly clearly that I was unimpressed by the previous book and that I was especially ticked off with the direction the character development was going in. Oh and the fact that Dr. Scarpetta could not stay put – she was constantly moving, two new cities in two books! For me to remember that clearly so long after reading it why I hated that book speaks volumes – I must have really not liked it. However, I was determined to give her one more shot (two actually, since I’ve still got The Scarpetta Factor on my shelf).

So what do I have to say about this book? Well, it read pretty quickly for me – and when you have a 5 week old baby in the house and you are able to read “quickly” it must not be too bad of a book.

First I want to discuss the characters. I still am not impressed with Pete Marino and how Scarpetta handled (or rather, pretty much chose to ignore) the situation that occurred between the two of them in the previous book. I knew she would forgive him when she really should not have even considered such a thing. Lucy wasn’t nearly as obnoxious in this book and I think Benton is going to start coming around (hopefully) in his relationship with Kay. The supporting characters were good in this book. Jaime Berger was pretty prominent in this book (it is set in NYC, which is where Berger has always been) and I’m confident she will figure prominently in the future books as well.

The storyline was interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where dwarfism played a part in the plot. That was kind of interesting. I was also impressed with the who-dun-it part. When the blurb says things hit too close to home, well that is spot on accurate in this case. The who-dun-it part was a surprise to me, I couldn’t believe how it ended up unfolding in the end. I will say that I was a little disappointed in the overall ending. When you’ve got a 500+ page book, I kind of feel that the ending sometimes needs more than 5 pages. I know there has to be some kind of a happy medium between too drawn out and too rapid, but this particular ending was lacking a little bit in my opinion. However, I will say that everything was wrapped up relatively nicely – I didn’t think it had too much of a cookie-cutter feeling, but questions were answered at the end.

So what is my overall opinion of this book? I enjoyed it. I’m not entirely sure I’m back on board with this series yet, though. I think I will take it one book at a time. I also think that having such a long break since reading the previous book helped my opinion of this one. I went into it with a more open mind, rather than still being irritated from the last installment. Without a doubt, the early Scarpetta books are wonderful, but this one wasn’t too shabby in my opinion. I wouldn’t necessarily say that I would highly recommend this book, but I wouldn’t discourage people from giving it a shot (if they’ve read all the previous books and have become burned out like I did).

3.5/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, Kay Scarpetta, RATING, Read in 2010, READING CHALLENGES 2010, SERIES

REVIEW: Book of the Dead by Patricia Cornwell

Book of the Dead
by Patricia Cornwell

Copyright: 2007
Pages: 511
Rang: 3.5/5
Read: Dec. 24-27, 2010
Challenge: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge; RYOB 2010
Yearly Count: 67
Format: Print

First Line: Water splashing. A gray mosaic tile tub sunk deep into a terra-cotta floor.

Blurb: Starting over with a unique private forensic pathology practice in the historic city of Charleston, South Carolina, seems like the ideal situation for Scarpetta and her colleagues, Pete Marino and her niece, Lucy. But then come the deaths… A sixteen-year-old tennis star, fresh from a tournament win in Charleston, 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 at a Harvard-affiliated psychiatric hospital begin 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.

Review: (There will be SPOILERS in this review). This is the 15th book in the Kay Scarpetta series. Overall, I felt as if the plot line was much better than the last few in this series have been. But, I do have a few issues with this book (and the series, really). First, let me just state: Pete Marino is a jerk with a capital J. Ms. Cornwell has managed to take a rough, yet likable, character and just totally ruin him and turn him into a disgusting excuse for a man. And Kay, well, if she forgives Marino one more time for a unexcusable offense, I think I will throw up. In general, the characters have really gone downhill as far as their characteristics go. Lucy hasn’t been in a good mood ever since the tumor was found. Benton, well besides the fact that you “kill” him off to bring him back 2 books later, has some serious communication problems when it comes to his feelings and Kay – and he’s a psychiatrist of all things, he should know better! But what really gets me is the fact that Dr. Scarpetta can’t stay in one place! In the last two books, she has moved to 2 different places (Florida, then South Carolina). And, having picked up Scarpetta, the 16th book of this series off my shelf to read next, I know that Kay has once again moved (Boston/NYC). I don’t know why Ms. Cornwell can’t just let her be in one place, all this moving is confusing. You meet new supporting characters, and then never hear from them again because she has once again picked up and moved. Anyways, I guess if you take away all my gripes and get down to the storyline, it’s slightly disappointing as well. There’s all this lead up to the who-dun-it part of the book, and then the killer is revealed (no big shocker, but somewhat of one) and then he’s effectively caught and imprisoned with only a slight mention in two sentences. Really? That’s how you’re going to end this book? Not sure I really care for this series anymore. I know of quite a few people who have given up on this series simply because the writing is not up to par with her early books and the characters are no longer enjoyable. It may be time for me to hang up Dr. Scarpetta as well. I suppose I will give it two more chances (since I have two more books on my shelves), after that I’m not sure I will pick up the latest installment (Port Mortuary) anytime soon.

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, Kay Scarpetta, RATING, Read in 2010, READING CHALLENGES 2010, SERIES

REVIEW: Predator by Patricia Cornwell

Predator
by Patricia Cornwell

Copyright: 2005
Pages: 456
Rating: 4/5
Read: Oct. 10-14, 2010
Challenge: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge; Finish that Series Challenge; RYOB 2010
Yearly Count: 54

First Line: It is Sunday afternoon and Dr. Kay Scarpetta is in her office at the National Forensic Academy in Hollywood, Florida, where clouds are building, promising another thunderstorm.

Dr. Kay Scarpetta is now freelancing with the National Forensic Academy in Florida when a new case comes her way. With the help of her team, Pete Marino, Benton Wesley, and her niece, Lucy, they will uncover a trail of surprising clues. Two sisters have gone missing, and the clues are confusing. Someone is trying to point Kay in a particular direction regarding this case. While another killer, one safely behind bars and involved in a psychiatric study with Benton, tries to send Kay in another direction. One by one, connections will be made and all leads will point to the psychopathic mind of a jailed serial killer’s mind.

I enjoyed this book … until the ending (or lack thereof). I suppose the next book in this series will begin where this one abruptly left off. There were quite a few unanswered questions in this book. Overall, though, I thought that this book was a lot better than the past couple of books in this series, but it’s still not nearly as good as the earliest book in this series.

3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, Kay Scarpetta, RATING, Read in 2010, READING CHALLENGES 2010, SERIES

REVIEW: Blow Fly by Patricia Cornwell

Blow Fly
by Patricia Cornwell

Copyright: 2003
Pages: 467
Rating: 3/5
Read: Aug. 1 – 6, 2010
Challenge: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge; Finish that Challenge; RYOB 2010
Yearly Count: 39

First Line: Dr. Kay Scarpetta moves the tiny glass vial close to candlelight, illuminating a maggot drifting in a poisonous bath of ethanol.

Dr. Kay Scarpetta is settling into her new life as a private consultant when she agrees to investigate a cold-case in Louisiana. But she soon receives news that Jean-Baptiste Chandonne has asked to see her – on death row. Giving the monster the audience that he craves, Kay tries to figure out what exactly is going through his mind in terms of an endgame. But she soon realizes that he is pointing her in the direction of the cold-case she is investigating in Louisiana. She must figure out how there could possibly be a connection in that case while trying to deal with a revelation that will change her life forever.

DISCLOSURE: This post will have SPOILERS. I had some real issues with this book. First of all, I’m not sure how I’m going to like Dr. Scarpetta as a private consultant, but I guess time will tell as I continue reading this series. But my real gripe was that you cannot kill a character off only to bring him back two books later and play the witness protection program card. PLEASE! It was sickening to think back to the past two books and think about all the grief Kay had gone through only to find out that the two people closest to her knew all along that her grief was not necessary! I was like, seriously? You’re going to bring him back? It probably would have been better off if Ms. Cornwell had just left him dead. And the reason why he was in the witness protection program, well that bothered me also. How on earth could he possibly have been involved with who he was? I was just really irritated by the way this book panned out. I’m going to continue reading this series, but I’m not sure how much further I’m going to be going with these books.

3/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, Kay Scarpetta, RATING, Read in 2010, READING CHALLENGES 2010, SERIES

REVIEW: The Last Precinct by Patricia Cornwell

The Last Precinct
by Patricia Cornwell

Copyright: 2000
Pages: 468
Rating: 3/5
Read: July 27-31, 2010
Challenge: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge; RYOB 2010; Finish That Series
Yearly Count: 38

First Line: The cold dusk gives up its bruised color to complete darkness, and I am grateful that the draperies in my bedroom are heavy enough to absorb even the faintest hint of my silhouette as I move about packing my bags.

After survivng an attack by a suspected serial killer, Virginia’s Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Kay Scarpetta, is put in a spotlight she has never experienced before. She is under suspicion of murder – something that she works with every day of her working life; something that she would never have anything to do with. She has to try and proceed with life as if nothing was different. But when a female assistant district attorney from New York comes to town trying to make the connection between her case in New York and the so-called Werewolf mruders in Richmond. But Kay will be tested in every way imaginable and she will be confused as to who she can trust in this awful time of her life.

This is the 11th book in the Kay Scarpetta series and I have to admit, that at first I didn’t really like it. After about the 100 page mark, I really wanted to throw in the towel and be done with this book, but I kept with it. Overall, I’m glad that I finished this book, but it didn’t end in any truly surprising way. There were a few twists and turns along the way that were interesting, but overall I was not all that impressed with this instsallment. However, that’s not to say that I don’t want to continue on with this series and see where Ms. Cornwell takes Kay, because I’m interested to know where she goes from here, but I hope that theese books get better, not worse like I’ve heard from some people.

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, Kay Scarpetta, RATING, Read in 2010, READING CHALLENGES 2010, SERIES

REVIEW: Black Notice by Patricia Cornwell

Black Notice
by Patricia Cornwell

Copyright: 1999
Pages: 441
Rating: 4/5
Read: June 17-23, 2010
Challenge: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge; RYOB 2010
Yearly Count: 32

First Line: The late morning blazed with blue skies and the colors of fall, but none of it was for me.

When the body of an unidentified man is found in a cargo ship in Richmond, cause of death and an identification is nearly impossible. But Dr. Kay Scarpetta is able to make out an odd tattoo on the decomposing flesh. It will be that tattoo that will lead Kay to Interpol, over in France. But she also has to deal with a lot of stuff on the homefront. There seems to be someone out to get her and Marino: someone wants both of them out of their jobs. In order to figure out this latest puzzle, Kay will have to try and protect her career while also trying to get to the truth at the same time.

This is the 10th book the Dr. Kay Scarpetta series. I personally felt like it was another good installment in this series. However, I did have a few complaints: first, I got really tired of Kay and Marino constantly fighting in this book. I understood that emotions were still raw from what happened in the previous book, and I also understood that they were both having to deal with some changes in their jobs, but seriously? It was a little annoying after a while – I mean, their characters have always kind of gotten on each other’s nerves, but it was really obnoxious in this book. I also had some issues with Lucy’s attitude in this book. I hope that the characters straighten their attitudes out in the next installment of this book. Overall, I’m still enjoying this series and I did enjoy this book, but it wasn’t as good as some of the earlier books in the series.

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, C, Fiction, Kay Scarpetta, RATING, Read in 2010, READING CHALLENGES 2010, SERIES

REVIEW: Unnatural Exposure by Patricia Cornwell

Unnatural Exposure
by Patricia Cornwell

Copyright: 1997
Pages: 338
Rating: 4/5
Read: Apr. 18-21, 2010
Challenge: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge; RYOB 2010
Yearly Count: 19

First Line: Night fell clean and cold in Dublin, and wind moaned beyond my room as if a million pipes played the air.

While doing a series of lectures in Dublin, Ireland, Dr. Kay Scarpetta gets a chance to investigate some unsolved cases that appear to be related to some similar unsolved crimes back at home. Five dismembered and beheaded bodies were found in Ireland years ago, now four have been found in the States. When the fifth one is found in Virginia, Dr. Scarpetta isn’t convinced that it is related to the others. Her suspicions are confirmed when she realizes that there is something even worse with this case: the killer is armed with smallpox.

This is the eighth book in the Kay Scarpetta series. Overall it was a pretty decent book, but I felt like the storyline was a little weak in spots and it felt a little far-reaching. I felt as if the story was moving along quite well and then out of left field came the smallpox angle. I personally didn’t get why that aspect was even in the book. I’m still into this series, but I really didn’t think that this was the best book by any means.