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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 Ratings

Overall

  • 3.7 out of 5.0
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  • 2 Stars
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Performance

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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    282
  • 4 Stars
    147
  • 3 Stars
    97
  • 2 Stars
    34
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    23

Story

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    269
  • 4 Stars
    158
  • 3 Stars
    112
  • 2 Stars
    30
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  • Overall

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

  • Overall

Port Disappointed

There is no bigger Cornwell fan than I, and it truly pains me to pan this latest Scarpetta novel. When did Scarpetta become a paranoid whinner? Hour after hour that is all she does. It wears you out. All the wonderful characters that Cornwell created for the Scarpetta novels are ignored in this latest work. Every now and then you hear from Marino, Benton or Lucy, otherwise it is all Scarpetta droning on and on about the sky falling. Very disappointed. Take a pass on this one and preserve your recollection of one of the better mystery characters... K. Scarpetta, M.D.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Liked the narration, the book needs editing

I saw Patricia had a new book out and purchased it. I found that after the first five hours I was scratching my head and wondering why not much had happened aside from a lot of speculation about what could have happened. The editor should have chopped out a couple hundred thoughts that were previously thought to help the book flow. Why hadn't we gotten there yet? There is so much introspection and speculation. Reexplaining thoughts sometimes twice and three times. When I started the second part (downloaded) I wanted to stop listening. For me, the narration was very well done even though the book dragged the narrator kept me listening with her energy. I read the reviews and it seems as though everyone wants to blame the fact that the book is not very good on the narrator. This is not the case, the book is not exciting and doesn't flow. It has a good plot with plenty of potential, good subject matter. With just over two hours left I don't think I can take any more or fast forward. Abridged version aught to be ok I suppose. In my opinion great writing, poor editing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Awful

I couldn't finish the book. I love Kay Scarpetta novels but this was awful. What happened to the other narrator? I missed her.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Donna
  • Frisco, TX, United States
  • 12-29-10

a true time killer

this was the most confusing book I have ever read. If you did not afready love Kay Scarpetta you would not get past the first few chapters before giving up. I kept thinking eventually it would make sense but for the first time I was awfully disappointed, bored and as I said very confused.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Get it over with

If this book was available in an abridged format of say, 45 minutes, it would have been worth listening to. The idea was good, but the fill material was overwhelming. What a disappointment.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Scarpetta has really gone around the bend

I love Particia Cornwell and the Scarpetta series. I have been staying away because something had changed, her books were not that intersting anymore. BUT when I read about this one I thought we were maybe going to enjoy it. NOT! OMG! What has happened to the Doc? In this book we spend a lot of time in her mind... she is really talking to herself alot......and I do believe it is "outloud". Boring monologue...... I would faze out on Kate Burton's voice and nothing worth hearing registered. I was disappointed once again. Do not waste your time or $$

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Karen
  • Louisville, KY, United States
  • 12-20-10

Where did the real Scarpetta go?

This book seemed disjointed, lacking focus. First of all, I believe that it was revealed in one of the early Scarpetta novels that she did not have student loans because she got full scholarships through undergrad, medical, and law schools. Second, I have to agree with other reviewers that Scarpetta is quite self-centered, bitter, angry, and paranoid. If Marino is such an awful person, his character should be killed off or otherwise removed from Scarpetta's life. I coudn't understand the need for the South Africa story line. Come to think of it, I don't know what purpose the military angle served. Finally, the narrator was bad. I'm pretty tolerant of subpar narration, but this narrator was distracting, and I often had trouble distinguishing speakers/characters when both were female.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Couldn't follow it

All of a sudden Kay was in the militar in her early career? This book felt contrived and I thought it was difficult to follow. I started over when I was in the middle of it because I thought I had missed something. Narrator added a lilt to the her voice at the end of each sentence which makes this audiobook hard to listen to. No more Cornwell for me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Janet
  • ALBUQUERQUE, NM, United States
  • 12-18-10

The MONOTONE reading was a killer!

The story was depressing, Kate Burton was so mad and mostly monotone so it was hard to even follow the story. I have loved her novels in the past but not this one in the least. A steady dose of an anti-depressed would do someone good. Not sure though who needs it the writer, the character or the reader.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful