Thursday, February 4, 2010

SCARPETTA by Patricia Cornwell

by Patricia Cornwell
375 Hudson Street
New York New York 10014
ISBN: 978-0425230169

This 16th installment of Cornwell’s series featuring forensic pathologist Kay Scarpetta finds Scarpetta living in Massachusetts with an apartment in New York, both shared with her husband, former FBI forensic profiler Benton Wesley. Scarpetta’s called to Bellevue, where Oscar Bane, a man suspected of killing his girlfriend, is being held. Bane insists he will talk to no one but Scarpetta and is adamant that he did not murder his girlfriend, although all evidence points to him. Bane also claims he is being stalked by the actual killer. As Scarpetta collects DNA from Bane and listens to his declarations, she suspects he is infatuated with her. But Scarpetta is limited by doctor-patient confidentiality and cannot relay to Benton or the police her conversation with or suspicions about Bane. Pete Marino, once Scarpetta’s right-hand investigator, now employed by the NYPD, is pulled into the investigation by the prosecutor, as is Scarpetta’s niece, Lucy, due to her computer expertise. Someone claiming to be Scarpetta had been corresponding with the deceased via email and Scarpetta is being attacked by an online gossip column, all of which tie into the murder, linked to others of a similar nature.

This series started strong, seemed to lag, and is, with this installment, on its way back. The reason: Scarpetta, Wesley, Marino and Lucy are together again, using their unique talents and collective intelligence in investigating cases that are twisting and complex. Although the revelation of the killer is unexpected, there are loose ends left dangling as to his ability to move around so easily without being detected and his motivation as to Scarpetta. However, this is a very good read, and this reviewer is happy to see the old crowd back together.

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