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Port Mortuary: A Scarpetta Novel | [Patricia Cornwell]

Port Mortuary: A Scarpetta Novel

In this fast-paced story, a treacherous path from Scarpetta's past merges with the high tech highway she now finds herself on. We travel back to the beginning of her professional career, when she enlisted in the Air Force to pay off her medical school debt and found herself ensnared in a gruesome case of what seemed to be vicious, racially motivated hate crimes against two Americans in South Africa.
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Publisher's Summary

In this fast-paced story, a treacherous path from Kay Scarpetta's past merges with the high-tech highway she now finds herself on. We travel back to the beginning of her professional career, when she enlisted in the Air Force to pay off her medical school debt and found herself ensnared in a gruesome case of what seemed to be vicious, racially motivated hate crimes against two Americans in South Africa.

Now, more than 20 years and many career successes later, her secret military ties have drawn her to Dover Air Force Base, where she has been immersed in a training fellowship to master the art of CT-assisted virtual autopsy - a procedure the White House has mandated that she introduce in the private sector.

As the chief of the new Cambridge Forensic Center in Massachusetts, a joint venture of the state and federal governments and MIT, Scarpetta is confronted with a case that could shut down her new facility and ruin her personally and professionally. A young man drops dead, apparently from a cardiac arrhythmia, eerily close to Scarpetta's new Cambridge home. But when his body is examined the next morning, there are stunning indications that he may have been alive when he was zipped inside a pouch and locked insider the Center's cooler. Various 3-D radiology scans reveal more shocking details about internal injuries unlike any Scarpetta has ever seen. These suggest the possibility of a conspiracy to cause mass casualties. She realizes that she is fighting a cunning and cruel enemy that is invisible as she races against time to discover who and why before more people die.

In Port Mortuary, Patricia Cornwell brings Scarpetta together with Marino, Benton, and Lucy in an intimate way that is reminiscent of the early novels, and we welcome a voice we haven't heard in years. The point of view is Scarpetta's - this is her story.

Flesh and bone: investigate more of Kay Scarpetta's forensic cases.

©2010 Patricia Cornwell (P)2010 Penguin

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.6 (930 )
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3.9 (405 )
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4.0 (393 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Susan Estero, Florida United States 12-27-10
    Susan Estero, Florida United States 12-27-10 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
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    "Very disappointed"

    I was very disappointed in both the narration (too dramatic) and the book. Kay is now angry, self analyzing and melodramatic. I've read all the Kay Scarpetta books, and didn't like this book at all.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Taniqua Detroit, MI, United States 12-25-10
    Taniqua Detroit, MI, United States 12-25-10 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
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    45
    9
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    "Disappointing"

    While the story line is a continuation of the previous plots, it really added nothing to character development. The reader was also inconsistent; overly dramatic at times and too bland at others.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    althea carrollton, GA, United States 12-22-10
    althea carrollton, GA, United States 12-22-10 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
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    15
    2
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    Overall
    "Not worth the time"

    Overall this book had a decent "plot" but as with many recent novels by Cornwell this one lacked the ability to finish what it started. Within 10 minutes you go from the beginning of the "tip" point to credits. Everything wrapped up with no real conclusion. Very disappointing.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sandra DECATUR, TX, United States 12-22-10
    sandra DECATUR, TX, United States 12-22-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    8
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    "Huge Disappointment"

    I've read all of Patricia Cornwell's books and been a fan of Kay Scarpetta for years. But this - between the narrator's unyielding whispery monotone (like nails on a chalkboard) to Kay seemingly losing her backbone while allowing all of her "loved" ones to treat her like the senile great aunt who came to dinner....A hugely disappointing purchase and sad to see/hear a favorite character turn into a neurotic, hyper paranoid, one-dimensional shadow of her former self. Utterly depressing storyline and thoroughly unlikable characters.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jill Harlow Seattle, WA 12-14-10
    Jill Harlow Seattle, WA 12-14-10 Member Since 2015

    k8tzmom

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Further decline"

    I used to love Patricia Cornwell. But the last few books have gotten worse and worse - her main character, Scarpetta,needs to be in Benton's hospital! She has too many issues to be believable in the role she "plays". and there's WAY to much digression and rabbit trails. I've read or listened to all her books up to now - don't think I'll be getting any more.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer COLLEGE PARK, MD, United States 12-04-10
    Amazon Customer COLLEGE PARK, MD, United States 12-04-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    40
    ratings
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    215
    14
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    "Finally, the original magic is back"

    Finally, Cornwell got us back to the magic of the beginning of the series where the science and the characters were the center ... not weird, unbelievable plots. I did occasionally struggle with hearing the change in voices, but overall a really true-to-the-written-word naration.

    14 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Polly Philadelphia, PA, United States 02-04-13
    Polly Philadelphia, PA, United States 02-04-13 Member Since 2010

    An avid reader, demanding of the story, characters and narrator. Mysteries and historical fiction are my favorites.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not up to Snuff"

    I was a huge Patricia Cornwell fan during the early years. But something happened. I keep hoping the next book will be better.

    This book had dozens of the most frustrating conversations I have ever listened to.

    K: "What happened?" B: "What do you think happened?"

    K: "Are you saying that Fielding was involved?" B: "You've been gone for a long time, Kay."

    To be fair, Cornwell addresses these problems in the narrative, but it was painful to read. And the whole thing seems like a prologue, no a book. I felt cheated.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ronald 01-25-12
    Ronald 01-25-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Every once in awhile, I just can't listen any more"
    What was most disappointing about Patricia Cornwell’s story?

    This was one of those times. I was two-thirds of the way through and I just did not see the point of going on. I was no longer interested. The main thing wrong was the main character - Scarpetta. Cromwell has turned her into one of the most self-centered egotistical paranoids I have ever seen. The story is lost as the mental ramblings of Scarpetta as she goes on and on about how this person slighted her, lied to her, or is out to get her. Even her closest family and friends (Benton, Lucy, and Marino) are lying or undercutting her. It just kept going on and on. It was just too painful to listen anymore. Usually, even with a bad book, after I have this much time invested in the story, I want to see it through to see the resolution. But in this case, there was not even a significant story to keep my interest,


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    The narrator was OK. I actually began to feel sorry for her.


    What character would you cut from Port Mortuary?

    Drop Scarpetta.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 01-04-11 Member Since 2013

    Book Addict

    HELPFUL VOTES
    105
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    41
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    5
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    "Skipped Part 1!"

    Yes, I did, I skipped the first half of the book! I started listening on my MP3 player and accidentally selected Part 2 instead of Part 1, and you know what - I never noticed!!! I never caught on that I had started in the middle, until the last hour, when things started wrapping up, and I began to wonder what was going to happen in "Part 2"!

    I tried to go back and listen to the first part, but since I already know the end, I couldn't get into it.

    I am a Scarpetta fan, but this wasn't really all that thrilling - seemed more about moving the characters along.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard 01-03-11
    Richard 01-03-11 Member Since 2002

    Devoted audible mystery user. Been using since 2001 - that's a bunch of books. I've enjoyed every one I purchased through my membership.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Insecure Scarpetta unsettleing"

    I am a great fan of the Scarpetta series, but this one left me wondering about the future of one of my favorite characters. The plot here was great, but the character development that has Scarpetta paranoid toward motives of those closest to her, and depressed about her life is very unlike the courageous and confident woman we have become so familiar with. She is portrayed as exhausted and suspicious of everyone. The end relaxed a bit as things came together, but still leaves questions about how Dr. Scarpetta will survive in the future. I hope the next chapeter is one of redemption. Let's get back to solving mysteries instead of getting mired in the lives of so many people at one time.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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