Thursday, March 20, 2008

BOOK OF THE DEAD by Patricia Cornwell

By Patricia Cornwell
G.P. Putnam’s Sons
ISBN: 978039153938
Hardcover, 405 pages, $26.95
Genre: Mystery

In the 15th installment of the Kay Scarpetta series, Scarpetta has relocated to Charleston, South Carolina, where she has opened her own private forensic practice. With her are her niece Lucy and former cop Pete Marino. Kay’s lover, Benton Wesley, is in Boston, working with a Harvard-affiliated psychiatric hospital and psychiatrist Marilyn Self is back, doing her best to wreak more havoc on Scarpetta’s life. This mystery opens with Kay and Wesley called to Rome to consult on the brutal murder of American tennis star Drew Martin. Back home, Kay is having trouble identifying the remains of a small boy, but her investigation into Drew’s death leads her back to this abandoned and neglected child, tied to a murderer the likes of which Scarpetta has never encountered. And all centering around mentally disturbed Self.

Cornwell delivers an interesting read; however, the constant angst of the major players in this book can be disheartening and painful to read. Marino continues his downward spiral and his aggressive and self-destructive actions alienate those close to him. Rose, one of this reader’s favorite characters, is terminally ill, and for some reason doesn’t want Kay to know. Kay and Lucy bicker more than agree, and even though Kay is now engaged to Wesley, they seem more estranged than ever. As with each Scarpetta book, forensics is in the forefront and at times fascinating.

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