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2.7 out of 5 stars
2.7 out of 5 stars
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on 8 December 2010
Patricia Cornwell's earlier Scarpetta books really got me hooked on crime novels and I always looked forward to her next Scarpetta novel. However something has gone horribly wrong with the last few efforts and this is by far the worst yet.
The story is non existent, the narrative is dull and the characters seems just as bored of themselves as I was. By the end of chapter 2 I'd given up trying to remember what all the acronyms stood for and just found them down right irritating (to be fair though Cornwell is not the only writer who seems to think that more acronyms is a good thing - recent Kathy Reichs also suffers from the same thing).
I finished the book but was tempted on more than one occasion just to give up... not sure I'll be buying any more Scarpetta novels unless they improve dramatically... such a shame.
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on 24 February 2011
As many others have said I was also a massive fan of the early Scarpetta books but it all started to go wrong around Black Notice and this book really is the final straw for me.

The return to the third person and the fact that Lucy is not in the story much is welcome but the book has no plot and what little story there is jumps around completely incomprehensibly and left me completely befuddled and bored. As someone who works in the area of nanotechnology that part of the story was completely inaccurate and I'm left wondering if she researched it at all or just read a few issues of the Fortean Times.

I don't intend to read any more of her books after this effort, there are far superior authors out there and hence fortunately no need to waste valuable reading time on drivel like this.
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on 20 December 2010
Patricia Cornwell seems to have forgotten how to write a thriller. This effort is terrible, she spends more time on banal rubbish than the plot itself. I only read 200 pages and in this time she mentioned the actual crime no more than 3 times. A complete chapter was given to discribing a collegues office which had no bearing on the plot at all.
I will now put Kay Scarpetta in the recycle bin.
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on 10 May 2011
This was the worst of Cornwell. What happened to her? She has turned Scarpetta into a hand wringing, self indulgent, introspective irritating woman. Why oh why? I used to love Kay, Benton, Lucy and even the boorish Marino. In this book, all characters have gone to pot! There is no plot either.

I only kept reading page after page because they hinted at some trauma in South Africa which was never mentioned in her previous book. You can imagine my dissapointment when the promised episode turned to nothing! I don't know about anyone else but what was the big deal about South Africa?, I probably didn't understand the whole story because I kept skipping on, hoping to reach the punch line which never materialised.

Please Cornwell, go back to where you started, think about the storyline you used to weave! Resurrect Kay to her former glory!
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on 7 November 2010
I really enjoyed this book. Patricia Cornwell is back at her best in one of the best Scarpetta novels yet. For the first time in a long while she is writing in the first person again, which I love as it gives a whole different spin to the story. I am not going to give anything away regarding the plot, as I don't want to spoil it for those people who haven't read it yet. It's a brilliant story with all the usual twists & turns. I couldn't put it down.
I pre-ordered this on Kindle before the prices went up and it was well worth it. It's a shame now that the prices have shot up due to agency pricing set by publishers. Whatever format you buy your books in, please don't let one star reviews regarding price fixing put you off. Read it and enjoy it on it's own merits. Scarpetta is back.
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on 15 September 2011
This is the first book I purchased for my new Kindle and I feel thoroughly let down by the author.I usually love the Scarpetta books but this is boring, badly written rubbish. Lucy and Marino had already started to grate with me in the last two books. With this one I could very easily have taken them outside for a good hiding.Scarpettas acceptance of their self-indulgence is now understandable as she is as bad as they are. Whats wrong with the woman?(Scarpetta) If she's in the middle of a mid-life crisis please let us all know so we can miss the next couple of books.
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on 9 January 2011
I can honestly say that this is the worst Scarpetta novel ever. I have actually given up trying to finish this. Reading is usually my joy and solace......but this felt like a punishment. Rambling plot (what plot there was) and implausible story that jumped all over. Where has the old Scarpetta gone? The one who loved to cook; who was strong and tough but loving and giving; who was insightful and intuitive; who was a home-maker and career woman; and most of all who provided information without feeling like I was sitting in a lecture theatre listening to a very boring lecturer! This book was really, really awful.
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VINE VOICEon 16 May 2011
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
It is always a challenge to switch from the 3rd person to the 1st when writing, and whilst it made for a different reading experience you need to think carefully about what you are hoping to achieve with it.

I found the book utterly depressing, with Scarpetta coming across as suspicious and mistrustful, continually 'thinking' that people are keeping things from her, but never actually fronting up and saying 'What aren't you telling me?'. Instead she buries her head in the sand, choosing to ignore her suspicions that her husband has been cheating on her and that her surrogate daughter has been disloyal. Is this typical Scarpetta behaviour? I'm not sure.

I found this very frustrating as it wasn't in keeping with the strong personality I had always imagined her to be. By the end, it had destroyed every illusion I'd ever had about Scarpetta being ambitious and aspirational, and had trashed my notions about virtually every worthwhile relationship Scarpetta has had. I am not sure I LIKE the lily-livered, apathetic, Scarpetta. There is no personality to this book.

There are so many military acronyms I got horribly confused, and ended up writing a list on a bit of paper so when they came up again I could remember what it was. I shouldn't have to do this, surely?

Cornwell frequently uses three words where she should really have used one, and there are long, descriptive, tedious passages which ramble, digress, and add nothing to the novel. (spot what I've done there, now imagine it x100). There are also repetitive allusions to an 'incident' in Scarpetta's early career, but you don't find out exactly what happened until the end, by which time, frankly, I was past caring.

It would have made much more sense to include this earlier on, so the reader could fully understand the relationship between Scarpetta and Briggs, and understand why it is that Scarpetta finds it easier to ignore rather than challenge. Although there is a 'spark' of the 'old' Scarpetta at the end.

My biggest fear however is that by switching to the 1st person Cornwell demonstrates a lack of insight into her own character and has found that when she asks herself the question 'What would Kay do here?' she realises she doesn't actually know.

The 1st person doesn't work - unless you are going all Jean M Auel on us, please switch back to 3rd person before yet another successful series goes down the pan. :)
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on 7 October 2011
This is the first "Scarpetta" novel I've read, and I was far from impressed.

The story at times is laborious; at one point a conversation between two characters consisted of each ignoring the other and going off on their own tangents. It's amazing just how frustrating that is to read; probably more so than being involved in such a conversation...

Throughout the book, focus and attention is often given to things that only turn out to be irrelevant and distracting. Yet at another point later on, you progress from one chapter to the next only to find out conversations happened in between the two that then have to be referred back to retrospectively - almost as an afterthought. It makes you wonder how the author decided what was important to the story and what was not.

Generally speaking, the story was poorly structured, with one promising but ultimately weak plot concentrating on a "present-time" investigation into a mysterious death, but also a completely unrelated memory from Scarpetta's distant past that constantly resurfaced throughout, with no discernible relationship to the main plot.

I read the book to the end in the vague hope that everything would suddenly become clear in the end, in some final link-up climax. Sadly, I was to be completely disappointed.
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on 7 November 2010
I've devoured every Scarpetta book that Patricia Cornwell has written and I have enjoyed all of them - some more than others. I don't think the last few books have been as good as her earlier works but with Port Mortuary, I feel that she's getting back on form. I like the fact that the book is, once again, written in the first person and from Scarpetta's perspective, which you keeps you hanging on from the first page to the last. The book is indeed, tense and brilliant, I just don't understand why Port Mortuary and the last couple of books have been written so that all of the action takes place over 24hrs. I do find that, for me, this made the book a little too slow and in places, Ms Cornwell repeated herself. It would have been nice to see a little more of Lucy and Marino but on the whole, I enjoyed the book and look forward to the next. Welcome back, Kay Scarpetta.
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