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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The agony of Scarpetta's life continues without much relief
Finishing one of Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta novels is never a cathartic experience and this certainly holds true for this one. "The Last Precinct" is unusual because it picks up within 24 hours of where the previous Scarpetta novel, "Black Notice," left off (usually much more time has passed with things happening like people getting blown up by bombs or something...
Published on 31 Jan. 2004 by Lawrance Bernabo

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Traditional formula used once too often?
Cornwell has suceeded in writing another good novel, but it is certainly not her best. The plot is somewhat duboius and some of the characters such as Marino and Lucy have become more extreme to the point of unbelievable in some parts of the story. Lucy is continuing to develop into the law enforcement wonder woman we have seen from previous episodes - and that is...
Published on 20 Oct. 2000


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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The agony of Scarpetta's life continues without much relief, 31 Jan. 2004
By 
Lawrance Bernabo (The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
Finishing one of Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta novels is never a cathartic experience and this certainly holds true for this one. "The Last Precinct" is unusual because it picks up within 24 hours of where the previous Scarpetta novel, "Black Notice," left off (usually much more time has passed with things happening like people getting blown up by bombs or something equally significant). Scarpetta is still reeling from the attempt by Jean-Baptiste Chandonne, a.k.a. Le Loup-Garou or The Werewolf." It is insufficient to say that you if you have not read "Black Notice" you will have trouble following the events in this novel, because "The Last Precinct" does some major revisionist history on virtually every major person and event in Scarpetta's life, particularly Benton. The main narrative thread in this novel is that, in a grotesque turn of events, Scarpetta is implicated in the brutal murder of Diane Bray, Chandonne's previous victim and one of Scarpetta's many nemises. It seems Scarpetta is not going to get away from being victimized from this most recent deranged killer to cross her path.
As always, the forensic details in Crowmell's novels are fascinating. Most crime fiction glosses over such things and even in Scarpetta's world rather obvious scientific facts have to be hammered home to the idiots in power over and over again. But these novels are always much more are Scarpetta's relationships with the people around here than the demented killers she is helping to track down. I always look forward to finding out what is up with Lucy in each novel: having given up on the FBI and now ATF, Lucy is ready to enter the private sector (it seems she's been doing some interesting things in her spare time). The novel's title refers to a newly formed investigative unit run by Lucy's old ATF boss, Teun McGovern. But the name takes on darken significance as more of this immense and convoluted plot are revealed. Like Scarpetta, we are asked to reconsider some of the major events in these novels in light of new and most revealing information.
In "The Last Precinct" the pivotal characters are a pair of women the professional equals of Scarpetta and the best parts of the book are her interactions with them. The first is a familiar face, Dr. Anna Zenner, who becomes Scarpetta's de facto counselor, a move that could end up hurting our heroine as much as it helps. The second is Jaime Berger, a first-rate prosecutor from New York who will apparently be handling much more than the Chandonne case, which is being moved to NYC for the worst of political reasons. This also a shadowy behind the scenes figure who has a big impact: Pete Marino's estranged son Rocky, a New York lawyer with mob connections who will be defending Chandonne, just to make things really interesting.
When you finish reading "The Last Precinct" you will certainly not feel a sense of cleansing relief. It is not because of the violent deaths and the detailed autopsies, but rather because with Cornwell it is never really over. At best Scarpetta has a chance to catch her breath before the next round of horrors for which she is the inevitable focal point begins again. Maybe this is just the middle part of an epic trilogy that will finally get us to the point where we can believe justice has been served, but I really have to doubt it given every other book in the series.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Traditional formula used once too often?, 20 Oct. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Last Precinct (Hardcover)
Cornwell has suceeded in writing another good novel, but it is certainly not her best. The plot is somewhat duboius and some of the characters such as Marino and Lucy have become more extreme to the point of unbelievable in some parts of the story. Lucy is continuing to develop into the law enforcement wonder woman we have seen from previous episodes - and that is starting to stretch credibility.
That said, the novel provides a good read which will give Cornwell fans the fix they have been waiting for. The forensic details are as good as ever and Cornwell is continuing the dark atmosphere of previous books. However one wonders if the character of Kay Scarpetta and her unshakable belief in herself is getting a bit worn.
The book picks up immediately from where the last one in the series left off. As this was some time ago, unless you have just finished 'Black Notice', then the start could be a little confusing. The advice to Cornwell fans is to re- read the previous book and then start the new one - it might make a bit more sense, and provide a more enjoyable read.
Overall a good read and great to meet up with the familar characters again, however Cornwell can do better.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The agony of Scarpetta's life continues without much relief, 24 July 2004
By 
Lawrance Bernabo (The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Last Precinct (Audio CD)
Finishing one of Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta novels is never a cathartic experience and this last book certainly holds true to form. "The Last Precinct" is unusual because it picks up within 24 hours of where the previous Scarpetta novel, "Black Notice," left off (usually much more time has passed with things happening like people getting blown up by bombs or something equally significant). Scarpetta is still reeling from the attempt by Jean-Baptiste Chandonne, a.k.a. Le Loup-Garou or The Werewolf." It is insufficient to say that you if you have not read "Black Notice" you will have trouble following the events in this novel, because "The Last Precinct" does some major revisionist history on virtually every major person and event in Scarpetta's life, particularly Benton. The main narrative thread in this novel is that, in a grotesque turn of events, Scarpetta is implicated in the brutal murder of Diane Bray, Chandonne's previous victim and one of Scarpetta's many nemises. It seems Scarpetta is not going to get away from being victimized from this most recent deranged killer to cross her path.
As always, the forensic details in Crowmell's novels are fascinating. Most crime fiction glosses over such things and even in Scarpetta's world rather obvious scientific facts have to be hammered home to the idiots in power over and over again. But these novels are always much more are Scarpetta's relationships with the people around here than the demented killers she is helping to track down. I always look forward to finding out what is up with Lucy in each novel: having given up on the FBI and now ATF, Lucy is ready to enter the private sector (it seems she's been doing some interesting things in her spare time). The novel's title refers to a newly formed investigative unit run by Lucy's old ATF boss, Teun McGovern. But the name takes on darken significance as more of this immense and convoluted plot are revealed. Like Scarpetta, we are asked to reconsider some of the major events in these novels in light of new and most revealing information.
In "The Last Precinct" the pivotal characters are a pair of women the professional equals of Scarpetta and the best parts of the book are her interactions with them. The first is a familiar face, Dr. Anna Zenner, who becomes Scarpetta's de facto counselor, a move that could end up hurting our heroine as much as it helps. The second is Jaime Berger, a first-rate prosecutor from New York who will apparently be handling much more than the Chandonne case, which is being moved to NYC for the worst of political reasons. This also a shadowy behind the scenes figure who has a big impact: Pete Marino's estranged son Rocky, a New York lawyer with mob connections who will be defending Chandonne, just to make things really interesting.
When you finish reading "The Last Precinct" you will certainly not feel a sense of cleansing relief. It is not because of the violent deaths and the detailed autopsies, but rather because with Cornwell it is never really over. At best Scarpetta has a chance to catch her breath before the next round of horrors for which she is the inevitable focal point begins again. Maybe this is just the middle part of an epic trilogy that will finally get us to the point where we can believe justice has been served, but I really have to doubt it given every other book in the series.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing change in style and feeling., 22 July 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Last Precinct (Hardcover)
Having received 'The Last Precinct' as a Christmas present, I decided to re-read all the Kay Scarpetta novels again straight through. The process took me a number of months as I can only read late at night and I really wanted to savour them all again ( some of them for the third time ). At last I came to Last Precinct and I was really quite excited at embarking upon a new story. I was quite disappointed. It was as though someone was impersonation Patricia Cornwell and was trying to write like her. The relationships were definitely not the same, particularly the descriptive elements of her relationship with Pete. It was as if she really did not care enough any more. Even her relationship with Lucy was different. As I had read all the series one after the other, it was particularly noticable. Please, please, get back to the old emotional Kay. I am waiting eagerly for the next book. I have, by the way just started reading Kathy Reichs and I do not as yet agree with the critics that she is 'better than Cornwell'. I think that ,like me, she has read all Patricia Cornwells series because some of the descriptions are so similar in their outline. However she has not even started to get close to the relationship descriptions that epitomise Patricia Cornwells books. Her characters are real to me.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Complete change of writing style - very disappointing, 28 July 2009
By 
N. Kristensson (Bournemouth) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I must confess I have not yet finished this book, and I'm writing this review now because I'm not sure I will indeed finish the book. I started reading the prologue, and was slightly surprised to find that it's written in present tense. I expected Cornwell's writing style to go back to the normal use of past tense once into the chapters, but unfortunately that was not the case.

One of the main reasons that I have enjoyed Cornwell's previous books is that the language used is very natural, and "flows" very well. Unfortunately this is no longer the case; I find the use of present tense very stilted and contrived, and she is either just uncomfortable doing it, or unskilled. I do not know who advised her to change her writing style in this manner, but I wish she hadn't listened. Maybe it's in an attemt to write in a more artistic fashion, but to my mind true artistry in an author is writing flowing, effortless prose that does not make the reader stop and think why it's written the way it is.

I'd stay away from this one - I'd already bought the rest of the Scarpetta series, but I'm seriously contemplating throwing the rest of the books away.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A welcome return to early form, more thought and less action, 17 Jan. 2001
This review is from: The Last Precinct (Hardcover)
As a fan of long-standing, even I was begiining to be fed up with the rank commercialisation of some of the recent Scarpetta outings: the all too obvious bids for Hollywood attention (helicopter chases, computer geeks and their gadgets, people in body armour storming buildings with machine guns etc) often resulting in contrived endings. I think Patricia Cornwell knows this in her writer's heart, and with The Last Precinct has set out to make some amends with her readership. Those of you who have read all of the books, think back to the first two where first person dialogue and scrupulously slow attention to detail were what grabbed us round the gut and made our pulses lurch. While some reviewers have complained that the book is slow and overlong, I think this is what makes the book and in some measure is a balm against the ludicrous plot (with some plot points never adequately explained)and the all too rapidly expanding cast of hollow characters. Why 4 stars then, if the plot is so bad? Well, because Patricia has been brave enough to re-evaluate her money-spinning character and recognise it is time to take her in a new direction. In many ways this is the end of Scarpetta as fans know and love her, but possibly the beginning of something better. I can imagine that the scene she has set for the next novel will give Kay Scarpetta a much broader canvas upon which to work, and that can only be a good thing. But, Patricia Cornwell, if you ever read this, please do something more solid with Lucy or kill her off. Whereas Benton was sparingly portrayed but always a fully rounded character, Lucy has become nothing but a cliche: Lucy is in trouble, so lets make her rich! Lucy has a girlfriend, lets make her a psychopath! Can't she just be a little bit more, well, normal? I find it hard to fathom that, apart from Scarpetta herself, Cornwell has such trouble portraying her women as well-rounded and interesting characters. Enough of the psycho-bitch-ice maiden-lesbo freaks already! Don't read this if its your first Scarpetta, but a must read for everyone else.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Still a page turner, but lacks credibility, 19 Dec. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Last Precinct (Hardcover)
Anyone who has not read Black Notice would find this impossible to follow and PC has kept the coast clear for a further sequel, making it difficult to read this and future books in the series as stand alones. I enjoyed Black Notice and could not wait to start TLP. However,although PC's usual style kept me turning the pages, I did find the plot a bit too improbable and almost far fetched at times. Scarpetta is, as usual,self important, and it seems that PC is taking the strong,ultra intelligent, professional woman thing a bit too far, with the debut of a high powered attorney who seems so like Scarpetta it is like a mirror image. It is almost as if PC has created a lawyer-character who would embody the skills of Scarpetta had she chosen to concentrate on law rather than forensic pathology (she is a qualified lawyer)and I found this distracting. Despite this, and a few annoyingly careless errors, I admit to having empathised more with Dr Kay here as she admits her vulnerability and seems so distant and alone, as well as 'let down'. I wish she would portray Marino as less of a louche as he is obviously such a loyal friend and he simply makes me laugh. Why can she not foist some of the patronising perfectness of Lucy's character Marino's way for a change? A good effort but she needs to come up with new ideas next time and could do with laying off getting almost killed in the process...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Things will never be the same....., 23 Oct. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Last Precinct (Hardcover)
After finishing Black Notice, I couldn't help but feel that we hadn't reached the end of that particular adventure, but I wasn't prepared for the aftershocks of previous events that reverberate throughout The Last Precinct.
Picking up where Black Notice finishes, we find that far from Kay Scarpetta's troubles with 'La Loup Garou' being over, they are just beginning. However, the beauty of TLP (or the problem with it, depending on your perspective) is that there it is not so much an action-packed novel as previous entries in the series have been, it is more of a character study of the principal players, and an insight into their innermost secrets that serves to further flesh them out and answer questions that have lingered in our minds for several books previously in some cases.
For example, why DID Benton Wesley rendezvous with persons unknown in Philadelphia, leading to his untimely death? Why IS Marino reluctant to acknoledge that he has a son, let alone talk about him?
By the time the last page of TLP has been turned, we have the answers to most of the questions that have gnawed away at our minds the the past year, but this is definitely not the end of the affair. Events in TLP will change forever the lives of Kay, Lucy, Marino and a couple of other recurring characters who I won't reveal so as not to spoil the experience, and I for one am now waiting with bated breath for the 12th Scarpetta book.
All in all, not the definitive Scarpetta novel, but not far off.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed, 2 Aug. 2006
By 
S. Coates (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I have read all of this series and I am sorry to say but this is the worst book I have ever read. Not only did nothing happen AT ALL, but the story did not even seem finished when the pages "ran out". The plot was awful and the characters seemed to loose the idea throughout the book. Without giving the book away (not that there is much)I would advise any Patricia Cornwell fans to stay away from this book, it will not ruin the series and will not give you the idea that the once great author is loosing her touch.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars gripping, 25 Mar. 2002
By A Customer
i was a bit douptful whether id enjoy this book as im usually more of a horror reader but by the second page i was hooked,the book is well written and the character's easily come to life.
i couldnt wait to get to the end and see if the wolf man was the killer of all the murder's.But a couple of chapters to the end it became predicatable and lost it's excitement.And what i think was suppose to be a shock or twist became what you really or ready had worked out yourself.slightly disapointing ending after such a well written and gripping book but well worth the read
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The Last Precinct (Scarpetta Novels)
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