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3.8 out of 5 stars144
3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 23 March 2004
This gets three stars mainly because it was a better book than the previous one 'Point Of Origin'
This sees Scarpetta and the gang mainly dealing with the emotional fallout from that book.
as the book goes on the characters seem to lose all sense of themselves and do things which make no sense. e.g. Scarpetta's 'relationship' with the Interpol agent. This passage required utter suspension of disbelief
A big problem with this book and with the series as a whole is the character of Lucy.
The more angst and hangups the author saddles her with, the harder it becomes to like, or identify with her. She beats up her girlfriend, ignores Scarpetta for months at a time if she even looks at her wrong and treats everyone around her with nothing less than contempt, yet everyone throughout the book consistently make excuses for her and treat her as if she were a Goddess. This is one character who desperately needs a reality check. There is one passage where Scarpetta does finally let rip at her, yet this is undermined a couple of pages later by Scarpetta apologising as if 'poor' Lucy had done nothing wrong!
The story is not bad, however regular readers of Cornwell's novels won't find a lot that's new here -
Disappointing.
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on 4 January 2000
I used to love the Scarpetta novels, especially the first few. Then Kay Scarpetta seemed to disappear up her own arse. Does this woman possess a sense of humour? My friends and family became used to hearing my screeches of anguish as I read yet another passage in which Kay makes fresh pasta or cooks some amazing stew from scratch. I thought she was supposed to be a busy woman! Now I find Cornwell's written a book called "Scarpetta's Winter Table", which appears to include a collection of recipes. Either Cornwell's got a better sense of humour than her protagonist, or she's totally gone insane. Anyway, as for Black Notice - I was relieved to find myself enjoying it, after the astonishingly anti-climatic ending of "Point of Origin", but once again, the ending left a lot to be desired. There's no interplay between heroine and villain like we used to get, just the obligatory break-in and the chase through the various rooms of the house. Ho-hum, seen it all before. Hey Patricia, how about a nice prolonged confrontation scene? Pretty please?
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on 24 January 2001
I really liked the Kay Scappetta character in the first few Cornwells but then I went off her because she never seemed to learn from her mistakes. I decided to read Black Notice as it was going cheap and I was bored over Xmas. I enjoyed the book as a whole and it was a good read but I said to my husband if shes really stupid again I'll scream - so did you hear me scream ????
How can a woman whose meant to have a law degree and is over the age of 21 be so stupid as to open the front door without checking who it is knowing full well theres a mad man out there after her ? Oh really !
Please Patricia Cornwell if you do every read this stop you very good character being so incredibly thick just so she can be put in a situation of mortal danger.
I liked the book and would recommend it as a standard Cornwell read but if you dont suffer fools gladly try not to scream too loudly !
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VINE VOICEon 22 June 2009
When reading other Amazon reviewers' comments about some of Patricia Cornwell's more recent Scarpetta novels, I couldn't see how they could be right when they gave them below average or negative reviews. This book however showed me that they unfortunately were correct.

The story begins when Scarpetta is called to a crime scene where a body that has been transported from another country has been found in a storage unit. This isn't any ordinary case though as there are strange wolf-like hairs found on the body and some writing is on the wall of the unit. Just as Kay begins to think this is an isolated incident, another body turns up with the same hairs found on it. Also her pal Marino has been demoted by a new chief detective on the squad which leaves him feeling bitter and more rebellious than ever. Kay's nice Lucy is on an undercover and very dangerous assignment in Miami too, which in effect causes problems in their relationship.

Phew - this was a hard book to finish! I've always found the Scarpetta books to be fast-paced and exciting from the opening chapter, this however was incredibly slow and un-eventful. The case she was working on was very uninteresting, the characters all seemed to have been exaggerated on their most annoying flaws, which made this very difficult to enjoy. Kay in particular has became one of the most unlikeable, arrogant and petty characters I have ever came across in this one.

I just hope this was a one-off bad novel as there are a fair few more for me to get through and I have loved all of the previous books in the series so far. Overall, I would perhaps avoid this one, especially if you've not read the rest of the series.
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on 23 June 2005
Could it be with this, the tenth, book in the Dr Scarpetta series that Patricia Cornwell has just begun to scrape the bottom of the barrel with both plot ideas and character progression?
I'd given the previous offering, Point of Origin, a lukewarm reception and accused Cornwell of not being able to offer Scarpetta fans anything new. For the first half of this book I was pleasantly surprised as there seemed to be a lot more pace and punch to the opening chapters. There was some great Lucy and Marino interplay and some great dialog between all the main characters. There was also an insight into how the ultra-professional and seemingly mechanical Scarpetta was hurting from the death of Bentley in the previous book. What was also great was to see another appearance of Scarpetta's nasty sister Dorothy who at the very least is great entertainment value.
Alas it then went rapidly downhill extremely quickly. The main storyline of the book is a real half baked and half produced idea of yet another motiveless serial killer. He's just thrown into the plot with no reason other than to produce another book. There's no significance and no consequence. What is even worse though is the absolutely absurd affair that Scarpetta carries out whilst in Paris. Apart from the fact it is extremely unbelievable, it is so poorly presented I would expect this style of writing and dialog more of a soap opera or Mills and Boon romance.
Finally just went I thought with the amount of pages left in my right hand there was no way this book could be brought to conclusion but would be strung over to the next one, the whole story is wrapped up in one final crazy chapter. Scarpetta let's the killer into her house like a naïve pensioner, Lucy arrives in the nick of time, gun-toting and screaming and final Marino screeches around the corner just in time to slap on the handcuffs. What rubbish, we really deserve better.
One last point, please please please, can we stop all the pathetic relationship psycho-analysis between the characters. Unfortunately with the book ending with the return of Scarpetta's toy boy, Jay Talley, it looks like we're in for some more self pitying outpourings from this bunch of supposedly "talented" people.
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on 4 October 2012
I've read just about all of Patricia Cornwell's Scarpetta books and this has got to be the weakest link. I was SO miffed when I realised I had bought a dud novel for a long train journey.

It is dreary, miserable, slow, clunky and in my opinion a total waste of time. It has none of the lightness of touch of her other books; the characters are tired, cynical and bitter, and there's no trace of the humour I'm accustomed to seeing in Marino, if no-one else.

The sense of tension that Cornwell clearly hoped to introduce, in the guise of Kay's paranoia about her department and her job, simply makes Kay come across as someone who can't face it when she faces a superior with more guile and ambition than she herself possesses.

I hated this book, I'm afraid, and it didn't get any better when I read it the second time to see if I had missed something. If you haven't already bought it, my advice is, don't bother.
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on 17 May 2000
I have read all the previous KS novels and have enjoyed most of them. Black Notice started promising but detriorated to a rather disappointing and predictable ending. I must admit I have become increasingly irriated with the focus on her dysfunctional family and her own emotional life, and KS has become to much of a superheroine for me. While she seems to be vulnerable and full of flaws, she is still a genius, incredibly hard working and focused (never wrong) and is some sort of femme fatale that could turn at her age (at least mid-late 40ies?) the head of a much younger, beautiful, rich and mysterious man....etc..(I am not sure what the value of adding this new involvment is, obligatory love interest?)..it is getting a bit too much.
I agree that P. Cornwell seems to have lost interest towards the end of her book.
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on 5 July 2000
I am an avid fan of Cornwells novels and have read them all...over and over ! I have introduced many friends and family to the intricate world of Kay Scarpetta and like most i rushed out to buy Black Notice. Oh dear..... i got the impression that Cornwell was in one big rush to finish this. There were several plot elements that could have been expanded in more detail, which would have improved the overall read. In my opinion, there is too much in too little detail.Which is a shame as the rest of the series are EXCELLENT ! But maybe this almost lack of enthusiasm from Cornwell reflects Scarpetta's lack of enthusiasm at everything that is so familiar but no longer holds the same intrigue or purpose (since Benton's death). But i live in hope that the next one will be better and that Scarpetta will cheer up ! I much prefer it when the atmosphere is a little more upbeat and not so dark and depressing ! Come Scarpetta...look on the bright side ! you still have Lucy and Marino ! (although i fear that Marino may not last much longer, especially as we are constantly reminded of all his bad habits ! ) So fingers crossed for the next installment and i promise you it'll all work out ok in the end !
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on 20 December 1999
I borrowed this book & started it with a degree of trepidation after the Cornwall's last 3 poor attempts in the Scarpetta series. However, I was pleasantly surprised, although formuliac to a degree (but I can't see how one can avoid this after having written 9 of the same series) it resembles Scarpetta's earlier works - in fact it is very similar to Post Mortem. Thankfully, Lucy was more peripheral to the plot as I find her TOTALLY unbearable & hugely irritating, I wish she would just be written out of the series. God knows how she always manages to have some woman in tow as I can't find a single attractive quality about her.
Marino, as usual, is on form, I consider him to be the most realistic Cornwall charcater, the others are all either totally self rightious & pious or completely evil. As for Scarpetta -GET A LIFE, ok so she's supposed to be grieving but really she is no different from all the other books. Her obsession with Lucy is totally unhealthy & she is so patronising about Marino.
I think Cornwell should introduce light humour in places, or at least allow her characters to have a sense of one. They are all far too intense. The storyline with Talley was ridiculous ...
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on 2 October 1999
I enjoy the Scarpetta books, but I feel that in 'Black Notice' Benton Wesley's absence leaves a big gap. One of the things I liked about the other Scarpetta books was the growing relationship between Kay and Benton. I feel that her 'one night stand' in 'Black Notice' is tacky and unbelievable, since a lot of the book describes her despair at Benton's death. Also, the ending is totally predictable. As anyone who has read the other Scarpetta books knows, if she enters her home on her own in the last chapter, you know she's going to meet her killer.
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