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Trace: A Scarpetta Novel | [Patricia Cornwell]

Trace: A Scarpetta Novel

In Trace, Kay Scarpetta travels to Richmond, Virginia, at the odd behest of the recently appointed Chief Medical Examiner, who claims that he needs her help to solve a perplexing crime. When she arrives, however, Scarpetta finds that nothing is as she expected: her former lab is in the final stages of demolition; the inept chief isn't the one who requested her after all; her old assistant chief has developed personal problems that he won't reveal; and a glamorous FBI agent meddles with the case.
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Publisher's Summary

Trace is the heart-stopping new Dr. Kay Scarpetta thriller from America's #1 best-selling crime writer.

Dr. Kay Scarpetta, now freelancing from south Florida, returns to the city that turned its back on her five years ago.

In Trace, Scarpetta travels to Richmond, Virginia, at the odd behest of the recently appointed Chief Medical Examiner, who claims that he needs her help to solve a perplexing crime. When she arrives, however, Scarpetta finds that nothing is as she expected: her former lab is in the final stages of demolition; the inept chief isn't the one who requested her after all; her old assistant chief has developed personal problems that he won't reveal; and a glamorous FBI agent, whom Marino dislikes instantly, meddles with the case.

Deprived of assistance from colleagues Benton and Lucy, who are embroiled in what first appears to be an unrelated attempted rape by a stalker, Scarpetta is faced with investigating the death of a 14-year-old girl and working with the smallest pieces of evidence, traces that only the most thorough hunters can identify. She must follow the twisting leads and track the strange details in order to make the dead speak, and to reveal the sad truth that may be more than even she can bear.

Don't miss the other titles in Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta series.

©2004 Cornwell Enterprises, Inc.; (P)2004 Penguin Audio

What the Critics Say

"The mystery is intriguing, there's plenty of forensic detail, and the ending...opens the way for Scarpetta and her associates to proceed in any direction that calls to them." (Booklist)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (439 )
5 star
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Overall
4.2 (179 )
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Story
4.2 (175 )
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Performance
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  •  
    H Anchorage, AK, USA 12-17-04
    H Anchorage, AK, USA 12-17-04 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Worst of the series"

    It's not worth buying. I've read all of the series and by far thought this was the worst. It was disjointed, hard to follow, and even the mystery was very predictable and not filled with any suspense. I hope it gets better from here.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patrick Atlanta, GA, USA 12-16-04
    Patrick Atlanta, GA, USA 12-16-04 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "A disappointment for a former fan"

    I am a big fan of Scarpetta, but this book did not have the interest or coherence of the earlier novels. The perspective here has changed from first person to third person, and along with that change there is an odd penchant to repeat certain words and phrases over and over. I wondered if the author was paid by the word. The end is abrupt -- I had to check and make sure that I had not missed the end of the audio file. Overall, a big disappointment.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen l, PA, United States 12-16-04
    Stephen l, PA, United States 12-16-04 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
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    "Not a Trace of Cornwell"

    Patricia Cornwell is running out of gas. This book is her worst. Had it been her first it would never have been published.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael SAN ANTONIO, TX, USA 11-13-04
    Michael SAN ANTONIO, TX, USA 11-13-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "dissembled"

    The main storyline, Scarpetta's return as a consultant on a complicated case in the Virginia state medical examiner's office, is pure great Cornwell. The secondary story line, of political deterioration of that office, is left unresolved. Add the inclusion of Lucy (wonderwoman saves the day for auntie Kay, and is then crushed by a new homosexual partner) and Benton (reincarnated, a la Bobby Ewing, for a cameo role in Kay's emotions) and the result is a chowder with too much potato for this reader's taste... Yes, I will read her next book too.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    diane patterson 04-20-15 Member Since 2010
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    "The End Sucks"

    Enjoyed the book right up to the end. It is as if she just got tired of it or ran out of time, and just quickly ended it. Not to gracefully, I might add.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karyn 02-05-14
    Karyn 02-05-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "ANOTHER SCARPETTA BOOK WELL WRITTEN"

    This one got a little different for me. It was a great book, don't get me wrong, I like the Scarpetta novels, but it has so many bad characters and all, but still a good book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Drew Racine, WI 02-02-14
    J. Drew Racine, WI 02-02-14 Member Since 2013

    JDD

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    Story
    "What's with the useless musical interludes?"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Trace to be better than the print version?

    I didn't read it in print.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Kay Scarpetta is a great concept.


    Have you listened to any of Kate Reading’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Meh.


    Any additional comments?

    There are background musical interludes that attempt to transition "scenes" or chapters… or when something ominous is about to happen. Why? It's distracting, and useless. Also, the editors are getting sloppy with pronunciation of anatomical structures and medical terminology… come on guys! This is a MEDICAL MYSTERY and many readers are going to actually know what the words SHOULD sound like. It's getting sloppy!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Yolanda 01-02-12
    Yolanda 01-02-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Patricia Cornwell does it again"
    What did you love best about Trace?

    I was very impressed with the different plots and their eventual intertwining. The story line was very captivating and technically superb. I loved the softer side of Marino and found myself liking Lucy a bit more as well.


    Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

    I found myself making excuses so that I could spend more time listening to the book and even offered to run errands so that I could have more time in the car to listen.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I have two; when Lucy goes over to visit her neighbor and pretends to be a Hollywood actress ... the dialogue was great. The other scene was when Marino catches the bad guy.


    Any additional comments?

    As usual Patricia delivers every time. She is by far my favorite author

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Terri IMPERIAL BEACH, CA, USA 05-18-06
    Terri IMPERIAL BEACH, CA, USA 05-18-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I think I'm finished..."

    Although I started as a real fan of the Kay Scarpetta novels, I never really liked the other novels that Cornwell wrote. Unfortunately, I've had enough of the Scarpetta novels as well and have quite simply started to dislike Kay & Lucy. I'm not sure when Kay became such a bore, but I had an inkling a few books ago. I kept thinking my disappointment was all in my mind and would buy another to prove myself wrong. I haven't been able to disprove it yet and think I'll just quit trying.

    I'm going to move on to other authors since Cornwell's writing has become stale in my mind.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan L. Jeffres Nebraska 12-13-05
    Susan L. Jeffres Nebraska 12-13-05 Member Since 2010
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    "Trace"

    I have read all of the Kay Scarpetta novels and this is not Ms. Cornwell's best work. The ending is uneventful and it just doesn't have the zing of previous books. It's okay, but I expect more from Patricia Cornwell

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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