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3.0 out of 5 starsRead at your own risk.
Reviewed in the United States on August 4, 2015
I don't understand how this series has made it to 23 books. This book itself was pretty good, but killing off (apparently) one of the major characters was an issue for me. The follow up to this, "Black Notice", however, is almost unreadable. Some of the issues with that entry begin to creep into this book. Things like the author's overall negativity toward the world and her main character's continuing issues with the power structure. I recognize this is done to create tension and suspense, but in Cornwell's books it comes off as whining and preachy. The Temperance Brennen series by Kathy Reichs handles these subjects much better and actually builds empathy for the main character, while Cornwell does none of that. I may try to finish the series, but at this point I need a break.
5.0 out of 5 starsIs it bad this book actually made me sad
Reviewed in the United States on August 29, 2016
Is it bad this book actually made me sad? I don't want to give out spoilers so I won't say why. I found this book different than some of her others. Besides the fact it has a lot to do with fire, it felt somewhat more personal or Kay Scarpetta. I really really enjoyed it! I really love Kay/ Lucy scenes. It would be amazing if they made a movie or even tv show like Tess Gerritsen's Rizzoli novels. You can't beat getting these books for $4 used. I have made quite a collection on my bookshelves from Amazon and a decent dent in my bank account as well. Oh well, books and knowledge are priceless! Highly recommend this novel series.
1.0 out of 5 starsToo much superfluous technical detail. Who's she trying to ...
Reviewed in the United States on November 10, 2015
Too much superfluous technical detail. Who's she trying to impress? Too implausible. Over the top, bazaar. Too contrived. Unbelievable. Too, too many loose ends. Did we ever learn how the fires started (yeah a magnesium fire starter that left small filings in skin) and fueled to such intensity. Did I miss something as I skimmed the technical jargon? Why was Windsong loose? Himmmm....she may have gone down in a ball of fire, presumed dead, but I'm thinking we will have to wait until Carrie reappears to learn THE POINT OF ORIGIN.
This book is what I consider the last good Scarpetta novel; all the books that follow it (The Last Precinct, Blowfly, Predator, et al) are hardly worth the paper they're printed on.
The plot centers on the suspected arson of a media magnate's home which resulted in the death of one female and several prize horses. A new villain enters the picture (Newton Joyce), and he's aided by serial killer Carrie Grethen, newly escaped from prison. There's a subplot involving Benton Wesley, Scarpetta's FBI paramour, which turns into the mother of all plot twists in her later novel 'Blowfly'. I felt that Cornwell didn't give her characters enough chance: she rapidly ditches both Joyce and Grethen in favor of Le Loup-Garou, her villain of 'Black Notice' and 'The Last Precinct', which in my opinion was a mistake.
The supporting characters are back: Lt. Pete Marino (I swear if she kills him off I will never touch one of her novels again), FBI agent Lucy Farinelli, Scarpetta's neice (although too much of a deal is made of her lesbianism), and one of the best villains in contemporary thrillers, Carrie Grethen. Carrie can be placed easily next to Hannibal Lecter in terms of fictional villains.
As you read, you'll learn about how arson fires are investigated and, incidentally, how fires work in terms of accelerants and point(s) of origin (where the fire initially begins); you'll also learn a little bit about how a scanning electron microscope (SEM) works. Cornwell's science is always dead-on, and this book is no exception.
Patricia Cornell never disappoints thru her character, Kay Scarpetta. Her mysteries are always well planned and terribly exciting, but the personal parts of her characters are what truly enthrall me. This one in particular nearly pulled my heart from my chest! A must read !
4.0 out of 5 starsNot her best, but enjoyable nonetheless...
Reviewed in the United States on May 19, 2000
I have always loved Patricia Cornwell's writing and herbooks. She is a sharp woman with great writing skills, and her knowledge of forensic science is certainly part of the reason people come back to read her again and again. This book was extremely depressing, more than frightening...because we've been through these same things with Scarpetta and her niece before. How many times can one person deal with such tragedy and loss in their lives. At a certain point, this becomes unbelieveable (except for the Kennedy family), and the reader loses interest. Yes, the author is aging her protagonist and life does change, but must it always be so negative? I get the feeling Cornwell wants to be rid of this character, with this book being not up to her usual standards and with the introduction of other characters in books such as "Southern Cross". If this is true then I should think the author would want this character to go out with a good plot behind her. Karen Sadler, Science Education, University of Pittsburgh, email@example.com
5.0 out of 5 starsThrilling, suspenseful, chaotic and fabulous!
Reviewed in the United States on June 23, 2013
Dr. Kay Scarpetta the Virginia Chief Medical Examiner and consulting patholigist for the ATF is faced with another mysterious puzzling death at a farmhouse that is riddled with suspicion, confusing clues and suspense ~ just what we fans love ! In true Patirica Cornwell fashion there is so much moe to the story with Carrie Gretchen, a killer known to Scarpetta escapes psychiatric hospital and reeks havoc everywhere kicking the whole story up a notch or two! Can't put it down. Do not want to put it down. You will not be dissappointed with this one. If I could rate this one more that a 5 I Would ! It is even better with the audiobook ! Have fun:)
5.0 out of 5 starsA brilliant book!! Gripping from start to finish.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 8, 2015
I thoroughly enjoy Patricia Cornell's books and have them all and am reading them in the order they were written,so have many still to read. I normally read an Autobiography or maybe two in between. They are very well written but extremely graphic and you need some medical knowledge to understand them completely. If you're at all squeamish, don't even attempt.them.. They are brilliantly written and she deserves every accolade received and more.