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The Scarpetta Factor: Scarpetta 17 Paperback – 27 May 2010

3.3 out of 5 stars 374 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere (27 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0751538760
  • ISBN-13: 978-0751538762
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 3.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (374 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 10,340 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

How does Patricia Cornwell manage to keep her literary batteries charged? Long-time admirers always breathe a sigh of relief when (after various experiments and diversions) she brings her signature character Kay Scarpetta back to the fray. But the author is savvy enough to realise that it is (occasionally) a good idea to ring the changes, which she did successfully in such non-Scarpetta books as The Front, with a Massachusetts investigator assuming centre stage. But, let’s face it, it’s her new book, The Scarpetta Factor that is going to be the real crowd pleaser, with her single-minded forensic anthropologist back on the case.

Since the groundbreaking Post Mortem which introduced the character, there have been some ups and downs in terms of Cornwell’s achievement, but nobody could deny that the author has earned her poll position at the top of the crime-writing stakes by dint of her remarkable narrative skills. Are those skills on full throttle here?

In the week before Christmas, Kay Scarpetta, suffering (as are so many of us) from the credit crunch, decides to work on a pro bono basis for the office of the Chief Medical Examiner of New York City. But Kay finds the spotlight this puts her under is not a comfortable one, when she is asked (during a live broadcast) about the disappearance of a wealthy woman, Hannah Starr, who is presumed to be dead. This is followed by a strange call from an ex-patient of Kay’s psychiatrist partner, Benton Wesley -- and Kay finds a suspicious package when she returns home – is it a bomb? She finds that the missing woman had secrets she shared with Kay’s gay niece Lucy.

Perhaps this isn’t Patricia Cornwell at her most adroit, but it’s much more than a routine outing for Scarpetta. Admirers will want to pick up The Scarpetta Factor. --Barry Forshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Cornwell has never written better (Evening Standard)

The Scarpetta Factor is a novel that has clearly engaged Cornwell in the same fashion as her vintage work (Independent)

The Cornwell phenomenon goes on (Daily Mail)

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I loved the early Scarpetta books and reread them until the characters were like old friends. In the last couple, however, I no longer recognise these friends. Scarpetta Factor continues the trend. In fact, I question the title choice since Scarpetta hardly features in it. We have Berger and Lucy and endless technical jargon which would be boring even if I understood half of it! Benton seems to have undergone a metamorphosis where his vocabulary has shrunk to the f-word (whereas he never swore before). Marino is a lost soul. The plot revolves around victims we have not met and know nothing about. The hitherto fascinatingly repulsive Chandonne is now a pantomime villain. Patricia Cornwell has lost touch with readers who loyally buy her new books. She needs to get back in touch with the characters she created and who, like her readers, deserve better than this pretentious prose.
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Format: Hardcover
I loved the first half-dozen Scarpetta books with their taut plots, the put-upon and appealing main character, and the complex mysteries. I hadn't minded the repetition such as Scarpetta always becoming the killer's chosen next victim, as that was the series' format. But gradually the stories became meandering and I stopped reading.

Having missed about six books I came back to the saga with a fresh mind, but I hardly recognized this story as belonging to a series that included such gripping novels as The Body Farm and Cruel and Unusual. It's very rare for me to give up on a book, but this one I couldn't finish. It's perhaps unfair to review a book I only half-read, but then again the author didn't care enough to write with due care and attention and I doubt a capable editor worked on it, so why should I worry?

The plot is hard to follow and what I could work out was the opposite of a page-turner. The set-up promises some celebrity satire, but the story is humourless and dreary. Scenes don't flow. Dialogue is just random chatter and whining. There's no tension as I didn't care about or particularly believe in the mystery, and the new format of multiple points of view just appears to make it easier to add irrelevant diversions. Everything is explained in a condescending manner that gave me visions of the author making notes for research assistants and them quoting unnecessary detail they'd found on the Internet. In the early books the detail felt real and necessary and gave the books authority. I believed in Scarpetta's world. Now I don't.

Worst of all, the characters are no longer the same people I last read about. The only link with the Lucy I remember is the name. Scarpetta herself is now insufferably smug.
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Format: Hardcover
Very difficult to write about an author whose books have been so enjoyable for many years but there comes a point where you have to draw a line and say that, as a stand-alone book, this would struggle to get a follow-up and, as part of a successful series, doesn't deserve one. This gets a single star for loyalty across many wonderful books.

I thought it was just me and my high expectations but the last few books have been 500 pages of meandering plot followed by the quickest and laziest endings I've ever read, by any author, all inside a mere couple of pages. No tension, just the feeling of impending disappointment again as you realise you are within 5 pages of the end of the book with no direct action involving the baddie, just speculation. I am still reeling from the sense of injustice that I have fallen for this con a few times now, thinking she can't get away with it again. Mugged again and I won't spoil the finish because you won't believe me anyway.

If you've read the previous few, you know what I mean, a plodding plot, minimal character development and a sense of boredom in the writer that comes across in the text. I started the first few chapters of this book thinking I'd missed 100 pages of set-up and the sense of dislocation persisted throughout. I, like many others, probably bought this under obligation from reading all the others but, as a first read, I would not recommend it at all, stick to the first 6 books which are fantastic and Scarpetta spent some time at work and contributed to solving crimes.
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Format: Hardcover
Let me start by saying that I am a huge fan of PC and the Kay Scarpetta series. This notwithstanding,I ploughed my way through The Scarpetta Factor hoping it would improve but sadly it felt like a bloated diatribe about powerful persecuted women, lesbian relationships, Pete Marino's attempted rape and Benton Wesley's continuous hand-wringing. It seems to me that PC is increasingly using these novels to demonstrate how well informed she is and if I have to try and remember what one more set of bloody initials stand for I think I'll die of boredom. The character of lesbian Lucy is tedious beyond words and her continuous flying around in a helicopter like GI Jane is ridiculous. Pete Marino's overhanging midriff makes its regular appearance and Wesley's still whining - well what a surprise! As for Kay Scarpetta she continues to rise above her flawed little posse like a cross between Princess Diana and Dr Quinn Medicine Woman. The plot is so heavy it's like trying to backstroke through mashed potato and she obviously can't dredge up anything new in terms of plot, because we're back with the 'hairy one' Jean-Claude-Baptiste Voulez Vous Coucher Avec Moi Chandonne and his 'crime family' - hardly The Sopranos are they?

Look WE GET IT. Lucy's gay, Marino's a fat sex offender and Benton's a baby. Ms Cornwell needs to get some new material because this was lazy, dull and a waste of three days of my holiday which I won't get back.
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