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Publisher's Summary

Patricia Cornwell delivers the newest engrossing thriller in her high-stakes series starring medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta.

Depraved Heart: "Void of social duty and fatally bent on mischief."
Mayes v. People, 806 III. 306 (1883)

Dr. Kay Scarpetta is working a suspicious death scene in Cambridge, Massachusetts, when an emergency alert sounds on her phone. A video link lands in her text messages and seems to be from her computer-genius niece, Lucy. But how can it be? It's clearly a surveillance film of Lucy taken almost 20 years ago.

As Scarpetta watches she begins to learn frightening secrets about her niece, whom she has loved and raised like a daughter. That film clip and others sent soon after raise dangerous legal implications that increasingly isolate Scarpetta and leave her confused, worried, and not knowing where to turn. She doesn't know whom she can tell - not her FBI husband, Benton Wesle, or her investigative partner, Pete Marino. Not even Lucy.

In this new novel, Cornwell launches these unforgettable characters on an intensely psychological odyssey that includes the mysterious death of a Hollywood mogul's daughter, aircraft wreckage on the bottom of the sea in the Bermuda Triangle, a grisly gift left in the back of a crime-scene truck, and videos from the past that threaten to destroy Scarpetta's entire world and everyone she loves. The diabolical presence behind what unfolds seems obvious - but, strangely, not to the FBI. Certainly that's the message they send when they raid Lucy's estate and begin building a case that could send her to prison for the rest of her life.

In the latest novel in her best-selling series featuring chief medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta, Cornwell will captivate listeners with the shocking twists, high-wire tension, and cutting-edge forensic detail that she is famous for, proving yet again why she's the world's number-one best-selling crime writer.

©2015 Cornwell Entertainment, Inc. (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
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Story

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  • GH
  • Sherborn, MA, United States
  • 10-29-15

A train wreck you can't look away from.

I have read every single Scarpetta novel. I am sorry to say the trajectory is still downward and looks to be auguring into the ground at mach 10. In this novel the super-villain woman is back to taunt. The first hour is a recap of the background of the main characters -- yawn. The setting is a murder. I almost shot myself in the face from horrible writing in this scene alone. Sorry to say, it only managed to get marginally better.

The narration is horrible. I only gave it one star because zero was not an option. I will say this once again, unless Cornwell stops taring down Scarpetta and other and focus these characters on EXTERNAL challenges, this series is going no where. I'm tired of inter-family-friendship drama. Let's go get a criminal and let people someone be a hero instead of Debbie Ultra-downer.

Conrwell mailed this in with insufficient postage. I am so disappointed. This is one of my favorite got series. Pass on this one until you can get is for 1.99 or on a two for one.

57 of 63 people found this review helpful

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Depraved heart

I hated this book! Not 1 autopsy in the whole story. This is what I got hooked on with this series. I suppose the scarpetta series has run its course. The narrator couldn't become a different person like the others. I felt like I knew and could see the story. This one was horrible. I have to return it I would never listen to it again. I have gone back and started from book 1 a few times because I loved the characters like they were real and I could see like I was actually there in the room. Ms Cornwall I wanted a year for this book and I'm truly disappointed

31 of 34 people found this review helpful

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If you skip this one, you won't miss much.

The last few books in this series haven't been up to par. This one is no exception. Much as I like Scarpetta, I don't want to spend 15 hours in her head.

It's an okay plot, but the script is very little action and way too much erratic thought process. The book would've been a much better story if told in the third-person.

I didn't enjoy the narration, either. Every time Pete Marino says something, I had to turn the volume down.

If you aren't already a Scarpetta fan, don't start with this one.

17 of 20 people found this review helpful

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Thank goodness it's over.

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Nothing could have helped this book -- except a complete rewrite.

What was most disappointing about Patricia Cornwell’s story?

It took forever to get anywhere -- and then where it 'got to' wasn't worth get to.

How could the performance have been better?

She had crappy material to start with, so she did the best she could.

What character would you cut from Depraved Heart?

The writer.

Any additional comments?

I can't believe this is the same author I fell in love with all those decades ago. I'm going to have to go back and reread the early books -- maybe I just had no judgement back then -- but this book was actually among the worst books I've ever read. <br/><br/>I actually yelled at it during the narration -- begged it to get somewhere. <br/><br/>I'm so disappointed -- I can't see myself ever spending money on another Scarpetta novel and that is such a shame. I have fond memories of reading these new characters back in the beginning -- and now it is just torture.

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Wayne
  • Matthews, NC
  • 10-27-15

Good novel with bad narration

I've been reading Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta novels for 25 years as Scarpetta moved from Richmond to Miami to Boston. The constant characters are back including policeman Pete Marino, niece Lucy who was first in the novels as a 10 year old prodigy and is now a 35 year old very wealthy prodigy, and FBI profiler Benton Wesley who was Scarpetta lover who apparently was killed before being brought back and eventually became Scarpetta's husband. Scarpetta, an MD and JD, has been a medical examiner throughout.

Depraved Heart is different because the entire book except for the last chapter is set in one day. As usual there is a bed guy, in this case a woman. She is a ex-FBI agent who tried to kill Scarpetta in an earlier book. She is also an acquaintance of Lucy from almost 20 years earlier. As usual in recent books Lucy is the most interesting character.

Those who liked prior Kay Scarpetta novels will like Depraved Heart because this novel is typical.

Choosing Susan Erickson to narrate was a mistake. Her voice is fine for the material but she reads much too slowly. I played with playback speeds using the Audible app and found that using 150% of the recording speed works fine to make Erickson sound much better. It also reduced this 15 hour novel to 10 hours.

Recommended for Patricia Cornwell fans when played at 150% speed.

15 of 22 people found this review helpful

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  • Linda
  • Bowie, MD, United States
  • 11-01-15

Another Thriller But Nervewracking

I have read every Scarpetta book and find the relationships among the husband and wife bothersome. I know there is room for secrets in how Benton as FBI agent relates to his wife, Dr. Kay Scarpetta, but this book has so many possible placed for mistrust that pretty soon the reader is questioning who is supporting who. Marino is his usual gruff cop but more arrogant than usual. I read the book wondering if Scarpetta was losing her grip, if her injury had truly made her less than she appears. At one point I wondered if the family group was going to survive. It was a masterful writing. Job with the weaving of mistrust and lots of "in her head thoughts of the past and worries" by Scarpetta. Through it all the sub plot of the evil ex-lover of Lucy. It was a superb book and one that I wanted to listen to all at once. I had to finish reading it at 1 a.m. Because all I could think about was the eeriness of the booming sound in the house. In true Cornwell fashion, the ending leaves you wondering how they can live with the stress. Susan Erickson is a wonderful narrator.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 11-11-15

A haunting story

This is book twenty three in the series. It is best to read the series in order otherwise the reader will be lost. I keep wondering how Cornwell keeps coming up with ideas for the next book.

This book is more of a psychological and technological thriller than the other books in the series. Lucy has always been my favorite character. In this story someone is trying to frame Lucy and put her in prison. The FBI has raided Lucy’s home. Dr. Kay Scarpetta is out to save Lucy and quickly determines it is Lucy’s old enemy Carrie Grethen behind the plot to get Lucy. I am enjoying the dogs that Cornwell has added to the list of character recently.

The book is well written with a plot that twists and turns. I enjoy the fact that Dr. Kay uses cutting edge forensics to help Lucy. The tension builds and builds throughout the story but the ending of the book is the type I hate; but, I realize it is designed to make you buy the next book. Cornwell missed an opportunity to add to the book if she had only added more information about the history of the house and the original family. I wish Cornwell would have a murder of a stranger that needs to be solved and all the team works in clever ways to solve the crime. I am getting tired of having the characters go through some crisis or being framed. The characters are not revealing their better side in the last few books. Susan Ericksen does a good job narrating the book.

6 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Love Scarpetta novels, hate this one

I have been an audible member since it first began. This is the first book I returned. I have read and enjoyed every Scarpetta novel. Pre-ordered this one and began listening. At first I thought that there had been a mistake and one of cornwall's previous novels had been sent to me. I knew what was going to happen next!? I was listening to a previous novel, I thought. Next the performance began to grate on me. It has become narrator's "fashion" in many recently released books that I have listened to for the narrator to speak in a melancholy voice (read BORING). It is very s l o w and plodding. I began to investigate whether or not a mistake had been made an I got the wrong recording. I Soon discovered from the reviews that the beginning of the book, but I am talking hours, is a rehash of prior novels. I guess that was to bring us all up to speed. I determined to slog on though hoping it would get better. I turned the narrators speed up to 125% so that I wouldn't be in such pain listening to it. Well what did pick up was the narrators pace but not the story line. I returned the book and I would like to say, returning was simple. Thank you Aubible for standing behind your product. Great customer service. Glad I am a member.

6 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Not her best

I thought this book seemed to drag along compared to all of her other Scarpetta novels. I usually can't wait to get to the next chapter and I read her books to fast because they are that good but this one I found myself daydreaming and had to rewind to see what I missed.😒 I was disappointed and feel like the book is isn't finished .

5 of 9 people found this review helpful

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I give up. Seriously.

Would you try another book from Patricia Cornwell and/or Susan Ericksen?

No

Has Depraved Heart turned you off from other books in this genre?

No

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Susan Ericksen?

Anyone - her voice was extremely annoying.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment

Any additional comments?

I've listened to them all, but enough is enough. I used to like these books before they became so repetitive. I hate Scarpetta and don't love the rest of them. The best thing that could happen in this series would be for Dr. Kay to finally get killed. What happened to the murder mysteries? These are now boring trips into Kay's psychosis. I know the moment I started hating the series - when she inexplicably had Marino attack Kay about 10 books ago. I should have stopped then. He was the only character I really cared about after she turned Lucy into a loon about 15 books back. I'm giving up now. I'm going to try to figure out how to return this without finishing it. It's hours of my life I'll never get back. Why waste them on this useless series. Ready your reviews, Patricia! <br/>

6 of 11 people found this review helpful