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53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, pioneering debut
The women die on Saturday mornings. They die horrifically and seemingly randomly. They are brutalised and strangled in their bedrooms by an intruder. This is all that is known. This is how they die.
When newly installed Dr Kay Scarpetta, Chief Medical Examiner of Richmond, Virginia, gets a call at just after half past two in on Saturday morning, she knows even before...
Published on 31 Jan 2004 by RachelWalker

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid storywriting.
I read the Scarpetta books just after when they were originally published and it was with a somewhat feeling of nostalgia when I came across them the other day and decided to re-read them again.
It is hard to believe that this book was published about 14 years ago and the author's description of elements like computers and the internet or attitudes to smoking the...
Published on 19 Sep 2004 by Rich Milligan


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53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, pioneering debut, 31 Jan 2004
By 
RachelWalker "RachelW" (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
The women die on Saturday mornings. They die horrifically and seemingly randomly. They are brutalised and strangled in their bedrooms by an intruder. This is all that is known. This is how they die.
When newly installed Dr Kay Scarpetta, Chief Medical Examiner of Richmond, Virginia, gets a call at just after half past two in on Saturday morning, she knows even before she answers the phone that a fourth woman has died. Though deeply distressed at the actions of this latest devious, unfathomable serial killer, all Scarpetta herself can do for the victims is to let them speak through her to help catch he who is responsible. Diligently she performs her morbid task, investigating the bodies of the fatally wronged, even though not all are pleased that she occupies this job.
There's little doubt that this is one of the most successful debut novels of all time, winning a plethora of awards upon its release and still drawing people into the series even today, and I am sure it will continue to do so. It deserves too, as well. Post-mortem is a cunning, powerful, emotional and clever debut from a woman who is now the most successful (not to mention wealthy!) female crime writer in the world. With this book Cornwell pretty much created an entire new genre, and blew out the gates for a new generation of writers to follow her through. None of them are quite as good, though. None have ever matched the quality or the fascination of the so-well-described forensic detail, none have ever managed to create a more interesting and complete character than Scarpetta, who still develops to this day, thanks to Cornwell's ability to keep her series growing in different directions. They haven't always been universally popular directions, changes, but I feel they must be commended just for the fact that Cornwell has refused to write carbon-copies of this first book all through her career. God knows, she could have done, but I'm sure that lots of readers would by now be sick of them.
The plotting here is slick and easy, the personal contexts and conflicts nudge the quality even higher, and the writing has autumnal grace in it. She can also find the stark bleak poetry of a dead body.
There's no doubt that Cornwell has found her unique place in the crime fiction Hall of Fame, as has Scarpetta, the most fascinating and complex female protagonist in the entire genre. Currently, it is very much in vogue to criticise Cornwell, and from what I can see this is almost solely because the most recent novels - Scarpetta or otherwise - are just different. But, whatever you think of them, Post-mortem is a brilliant forensic thriller, and it always will be.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid storywriting., 19 Sep 2004
By 
Rich Milligan (Thatcham, Berkshire) - See all my reviews
I read the Scarpetta books just after when they were originally published and it was with a somewhat feeling of nostalgia when I came across them the other day and decided to re-read them again.
It is hard to believe that this book was published about 14 years ago and the author's description of elements like computers and the internet or attitudes to smoking the workplace (or even women in the workplace!) seem incredibly outdated but also give great atmosphere and feeling to the setting of the novel.
The book is easily readable and is a fine story, and as the first in the Scarpetta series introduces the reader to the other major characters of the series like Kay's niece Lucy and Sgt Pete Marino, who must be one of the all time great thriller creations ever.
Alas, somehow I remember this as a brilliant book from the first time I read it but this time is was slightly disappointing and it didn't satisfy the way it once did. As I said before it is easily readable but doesn't have the "edge of your seat" thrill factor necessary. There's no building of tension and at times reading it becomes just an exercise in finishing the book to find out who "did it". The interplay between the characters is worthwhile but the story needs more thrills and spills to become compulsive reading.
I fully intend the re-read the whole Scarpetta series and I did enjoy meeting these old faces again, I guess though, in the intervening 14 years the standard for thrillers advanced.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Postmortem, 19 July 2003
By 
What a great read! The first book I read in the Scarpetta series was Unnatural Exposure and I was hooked...had to have more. Since then I've started at the begining of the series with Postmortem and got to know the characters better before moving on to another crime scene. There have been some negative reviews on this book that have really surprised me. The whole series is fabulous. I have a degree in a medical field so maybe I "get it" more than someone without a medical background. Who knows. I do recommend starting from the beginning of the series. Each book is a completely different crime, but the characters' lives pick up where they left off. Enjoy!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars if you don't know who Kay Scarpetta is where have you been?, 23 Sep 2000
By A Customer
From the first page you are thrown into a story that has you believing it is real, this book is the taste of Patricia Cornwell that has you completely hooked and anticipating the next Scarpetta story, we see a Medical Examiner at work whilst all around there is murder and mayhem...but can you guess the ending before it happens ? Patricia Cornwells' books are not for the faint hearted, they are for those who are interested in crime, murder and medicine. Once you have picked up this book you'll find it difficult to put it down.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Postmortem, 7 Oct 2010
By 
Neil Johnstone (Orkney Islands, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Postmortem (Scarpetta Novels) (Paperback)
This is my second read of this book after having read the complete series. It still had me reading to the last page. I feel that in her early works the style of writing in the first person was much better than later when she changed to writing in the third person. Why the change? I don't know but the stories are just as gripping and compel you to keep reading.Great stuff!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Postmortem, 14 Feb 2009
A friend bought me the first five books in Patricia Cornwells Kay Scarpetta series. Postmortem was a brilliant book. I think Scarpetta is a well balanced and well developed character. I found the plot of the book very intriguing and it really did leave me guessing until the very end. I also like the relationship between Scarpetta and Marino. Overall I really enjoyed this book and I look forward to reading the rest of the Kay Scarpetta series. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Couldn't Put it Down, 7 Jan 2008
By 
Laurel Whitehead (Seattle, WA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Richmond is terrorized by Mr. Nobody, a serial killer. He leaves hardly any evidence behind, but he hasn't reckoned on the abilities of Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Kay Scarpetta. However, petty politics and a reporter are getting in her way and that's awfully hard for someone as self-centered as Dr. Kay who backs down when confronted by her superiors and takes her frustration out on those under her. She gets angry, she empathises with the victims, sometimes I like her, sometimes she makes me want to gag. I suppose that's because she's human, maybe too human for a novel.

However, I couldn't put the book down when I first read it, and years later when I read it again, I was up all night again. That is most certainly the mark of a five star novel.

Review submitted by Captain Katie Osborne
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keeps you in suspence, 18 Jan 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Post-Mortem (Audio Cassette)
This book is great, it's the first book that I have read of Patricia Cornwell and I'm waiting to get the next. I could hardly put this book down from the moment I started it. Very well writen.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very believable fiction, 28 Oct 2003
By A Customer
I recently read this book on holiday in Florida and it kept me enthralled on the beach where I am usually a little bored. As an ex police officer I could immediately see that Ms Cornwell puts a great deal of research into the forensic aspect of the work which pays off. I enjoyed the picture painted of the main police officer who fits the profile of many old style detectives, and it is the interplay between his cynicism and Dr Scapiettas forensic knowledge which provides a good deal of reader enjoyment. I did feel that the ending was a little rushed and could have been strung out a bit more, with perhaps an insight into the mind of the killer. The manner of targeting of the victims by the killer was wholly believable and possible. A good read and I look forward now to going through her other offerings.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read, 6 Oct 2003
By 
Mrs. S. Payne (UK) - See all my reviews
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The was the first book I read by Patricia Cornwell and I was greatly impressed. Like other people have commented, the pace is fast and the storyline keeps you constantly involved. You get to know the characters very well and this keeps you more involved as the plot progresses. I was, however, slightly disapointed with the ending but overall a very enjoyable read and I plan read more of her books.
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Postmortem (Scarpetta Novels)
Postmortem (Scarpetta Novels) by Patricia Cornwell (Paperback - 2 Sep 2010)
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