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The Last Precinct Hardcover – 16 Oct 2000

3.7 out of 5 stars 156 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown; 1st edition (13 Oct. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316646245
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316646246
  • Product Dimensions: 16.4 x 4.2 x 24.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (156 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 794,640 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

What is peculiarly impressive about The Last Precinct, Patricia Cornwell's new addition to her popular series about the pathologist Kay Scarpetta, is that it is a book in which everything is up for grabs and all is at stake. Murders we thought settled for good in previous books, with guilt allocated and people arrested or killed, suddenly come bubbling to the surface again. Kay finds herself accused of killing difficult Deputy Police Chief Diane Bray, and of framing the deformed psychopath who killed Diane and burst into Kay's home with murderous intent. Even the hideous death of Kay's lover Benton, several books ago, turns out to have been more complicated than we thought. Kay finds herself in jeopardy several times over with her headstrong lesbian niece, her only entirely reliable ally. This is a book in which Cornwell takes her heroine into new areas--we get the same amount of complicated forensic lore, but there is a new personal urgency to it, a sense that detection is not a game. Kay's relationships with colleagues have always been prickly, but here they become more problematic than ever before; Cornwell's admirers will be pleased by this, her most tense and nervy book for years. --Roz Kaveney


This book is classically constructed, moves logically along an absorbing plot line, creates enough tension to make it a page-turner, and packs a smashing surprise denouement. (SCOTSMAN)

As always the forensic detail is fascinating. (DAILY EXPRESS)

The plotting has the cold assurance of the earlier books, and the characterisation of Scarpetta and her associates is as rich and idiosyncratic as ever. (CRIME TIME)

Cornwell has written an elegy to the way in which we create and destroy our own worlds. And when she is this good, she is hard to beat. (NEW STATESMAN)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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).
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Format: 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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Format: 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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Format: Paperback
Considering the length of the book, very little actually happens. Scarpetta again finds herself in the middle of another campaign to destroy her. Not a bad book but where is this series going, what's happening to the characters? Thankfully Lucy is not around much but when she is we discover that Superwoman has added another string to her bow. She is an internet millionaire. Whoopee. Despite Scarpetta constantly telling us how beautifull, smart, funny and wonderful Lucy is, Cornwell constantly fails to give any evidence that this is actually the case. Scarpetta herself is not as sympathetic this time round either. It's difficult to care that her life is falling apart when she appears to have no awareness of her shortcomings and her lack of tolerance for anyone who fails to meet her Everest sized standards is galling when most of the plot is driven by her own bad judgement. It is a shame as Scarpetta at her best is a fantastic character. Cornwell makes you understand why this woman does the job she does. Hopefully the next book will be better.
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