Customer Reviews for

Port Mortuary (Kay Scarpetta Series #18)

Average Rating 3.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

16 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

Cornwell scores with another winner

Dr. Kay Scarpetta is the new director of the Cambridge Forensic Center in Massachusetts. Working with her at the Massachusetts facility is her niece Lucy and Pete Marino. Kay attends a training fellowship at Port Mortuary in Dover Air Force Base where she is learning ...
Dr. Kay Scarpetta is the new director of the Cambridge Forensic Center in Massachusetts. Working with her at the Massachusetts facility is her niece Lucy and Pete Marino. Kay attends a training fellowship at Port Mortuary in Dover Air Force Base where she is learning the latest technology that she can apply at the CFC. While she is at the Delaware installation, her second in command Jack Fielding runs CFC until he freaks out when a corpse starts bleeding.

Knowing Jack cannot cope with the situation, Kay returns home having finished the course anyway. When she arrives at CFC, she finds the inmates running the asylum. Scarpetta takes 3-D virtual technology x-rays, which shows internal injuries unlike any she has seen before. She has no idea what weapon could have caused such damage. Benton is working a case in which a suspect swore he killed a child, but he believes the confession is false as he thinks the victim's death is connected to Scarpetta's odd case. Soon there are two more deaths seemingly separate cases but Scarpetta makes connections that tie her victim to Benton's case and feels all the deaths are linked but her husband is not talking about the cases as he usually does.

Ignoring that Scarpetta as the director would not have time for bench work and follow-up especially on a new Fed-State-MIT venture; her latest forensic inquiry is a fantastic thriller with the lab work as gripping if not more so as the foot work. Told in the first person by the heroine, readers obtain Scarpetta's perspective on the case, her marriage, her new job, Dover (past and present), and her feeling about Lucy and Marino. The story line retains throughout a fast pace and is action-packed even in the lab as Patricia Cornwell interweaves state of the art technology (we've come a long ways from the Body farm) into a strong whodunit.

Harriet Klausner

posted by harstan on November 17, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

35 out of 35 people found this review helpful.

A Scarpetta Fan Disappointed...

After looking forward to this latest Patricia Cornwell novel, I have to say it doesn't hold a candle to almost any of her previous works. I was missing more of the forensics and could have done with much less of the inner thought dialogue of Scarpetta herself. Suspens...
After looking forward to this latest Patricia Cornwell novel, I have to say it doesn't hold a candle to almost any of her previous works. I was missing more of the forensics and could have done with much less of the inner thought dialogue of Scarpetta herself. Suspense? Not much here. Even the regular characters weren't as interesting as they usually are-Benton, Marino, and Lucy are just side characters to Scarpetta's sleep deprived internal dialogue. I LOVE Patricia Cornwell, and have read every one of her books, but I think she missed the mark on this book.

posted by mainegrl on January 17, 2011

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  • Posted January 17, 2011

    A Scarpetta Fan Disappointed...

    After looking forward to this latest Patricia Cornwell novel, I have to say it doesn't hold a candle to almost any of her previous works. I was missing more of the forensics and could have done with much less of the inner thought dialogue of Scarpetta herself. Suspense? Not much here. Even the regular characters weren't as interesting as they usually are-Benton, Marino, and Lucy are just side characters to Scarpetta's sleep deprived internal dialogue. I LOVE Patricia Cornwell, and have read every one of her books, but I think she missed the mark on this book.

    35 out of 35 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 1, 2011

    You have me at "Scarpetta"-but something is missing...

    It was with undisguised glee (as in a 45-year old woman jumping up and down and squealing) that I ripped open the package when this book came in the mail. It was with complete satisfaction and expectation of another mind-twisting adventure with Kay Scarpetta, Lucy, Benton, Marino-and whoever gets to be the baddie in this installment of my much-loved series of Scarpetta novels. Although I read it with as much enjoyment as any other, I have to admit is just seemed to be missing something. Like it was "Scarpetta lite", or a baked potato without the sour cream.
    Let me see if this example makes sense: without giving away the end of the book, something occurs that, although expected, seems unlike something that would happen in a Scarpetta novel. Like I took a bathroom break at the end of a great thriller movie, just when they were about to confront the baddie-and by the time I got back, all I caught was the mop-up scene. Call me weird, but I want to be there for the details; I don't want to hear about what happened after the fact. In Ms. Cornwell's books, what has always brought me back for more is the attention to detail, whether it be what is going on in Marino's mind, what is happening in the crime-site discovery scene, how Lucy checks out whatever flying vehicle (usually a helicopter) she is getting ready to take off in. As much as it pains me to say it, some of these important details were just missing in "Port Mortuary".
    I am not sure when the last time was that Ms. Cornwell has actually gone back-if ever?-and read one or two of her earlier works. Like just before Benton "died" would be a good place to start. This is the writing that got me hooked. Compared to this latest attempt, the older writing is so coherent and detailed it seems like it had to be an exhausting endeavor. However tiring it may be, this is what I have come to expect from Patricia Cornwell.
    I have spent many hours completely enthralled by the pages of her books. It is nearly a form of meditation for me. Everyone is entitled to their ups and downs, personally and professionally. It is a fact of life. I am going to consider this a minor misfire and have the nerve to say that maybe she needs a long vacation-where she takes along a couple of her older books to read. I can wait for a year or more to read more of what I know full well she is capable of doing-telling me an action-packed, highly-detailed whopper of a great story.

    24 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 6, 2010

    Say no!!!!

    This is a ridiculous price for an e-book, especially since Patricia Cornwell's latest books have not been well-written. I'll wait until the price goes down. There are a lot of great authors out there whose new books are not $14.99 in an e-book format. Talk about greed!!!!!

    23 out of 31 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 17, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Cornwell scores with another winner

    Dr. Kay Scarpetta is the new director of the Cambridge Forensic Center in Massachusetts. Working with her at the Massachusetts facility is her niece Lucy and Pete Marino. Kay attends a training fellowship at Port Mortuary in Dover Air Force Base where she is learning the latest technology that she can apply at the CFC. While she is at the Delaware installation, her second in command Jack Fielding runs CFC until he freaks out when a corpse starts bleeding.

    Knowing Jack cannot cope with the situation, Kay returns home having finished the course anyway. When she arrives at CFC, she finds the inmates running the asylum. Scarpetta takes 3-D virtual technology x-rays, which shows internal injuries unlike any she has seen before. She has no idea what weapon could have caused such damage. Benton is working a case in which a suspect swore he killed a child, but he believes the confession is false as he thinks the victim's death is connected to Scarpetta's odd case. Soon there are two more deaths seemingly separate cases but Scarpetta makes connections that tie her victim to Benton's case and feels all the deaths are linked but her husband is not talking about the cases as he usually does.

    Ignoring that Scarpetta as the director would not have time for bench work and follow-up especially on a new Fed-State-MIT venture; her latest forensic inquiry is a fantastic thriller with the lab work as gripping if not more so as the foot work. Told in the first person by the heroine, readers obtain Scarpetta's perspective on the case, her marriage, her new job, Dover (past and present), and her feeling about Lucy and Marino. The story line retains throughout a fast pace and is action-packed even in the lab as Patricia Cornwell interweaves state of the art technology (we've come a long ways from the Body farm) into a strong whodunit.

    Harriet Klausner

    16 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 15, 2010

    Strap Yourself In For The Ride!

    From start to finish, it's outright suspense. Kay Scarpetta finds herself in the midst of turmoil surrounding her latest confab with State and Federal agencies and the birth of a new operation she is heading. Lucy, Morino, Fielding and Benton are all in, and even Rose gets a nostalgic mention taking us back to the her formidible early years. But can she count on everyone's loyalty, dedication? There are no punches pulled in this fight and it, indeed, is a fight to the keep her good name and reputation intact and, yes, even Benton is scrutinized for his loyalty to her. Secrets? Lies? Reality?

    13 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 25, 2010

    Not Jumping for Joy

    I was a little disappointed in this book. Much has been said about this book being in the "first person voice" of Scarpetta and while that is fine, there was not the usual connection between the characters. Lucy and Marino while certainly in the book, feel like "filler" characters. Benton is combative and secretive and now seems to be back in good with the FBI. When did that happen; wasn't referenced in the previous book. There is none of the camaraderie between the original characters in this series; still festering feelings. Then we are introduced to General Briggs and a situation that occurred 20 years ago. This book took place over a period of 1 - 2 days and it was just a one dimensional plot. There was none of the intrigue as in the previous novels. Maybe I missed something in the last book, but it just seemed like this book started out of nowhere, totally in left field, and we pick up at a time and place that is completely unexpected. I hated the ending but it does leave room open for maybe continued explanations of what exactly is between Scarpetta and General Briggs. I still love the Scarpetta series and look forward to the next installment but I am hoping that it will have a more intriguing plot than this one did.

    12 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 7, 2010

    Don't bother

    I have been a fan of Patricia Cornwell for a very long time. However, I'm really having a hard time wading through this book. The story seems to be taking place in real-time and frankly, I'm finding it very boring. I'm only planning to finish it because I paid so much for it. Then I'm afraid, I'm through with Patrica. Too bad. I suspect her publicist is writing all the 5 star reviews.

    10 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 31, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't be captivated by this!

    This is a hard one to put down! Beautifully portrayed through Kay's eyes, from her perspective, this story will captivate you with new questions, new mysteries to solve that only Kay Scarpetta can do. This is another mind-bender that is full of interesting info and insight into the world of forensics that will keep you entertained for hours. The suspense is incredible in this one revealing yet more about Kay and her past, military? New high-tech sources to learn and her return to the Cambridge Forensic Center after training at Dover Air Force Base in virtual autopsy is intriguing. She faces the task of organizing the center which had been mismanaged by her assistant while she was away and discovers that he is missing and that things are in total chaos. The body of a young man is brought in with a video of his murder, but no explanation of what killed him. This is completely compelling. I can't imagine why anyone wouldn't be captivated by this!!

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 26, 2010

    Advanced Reader's Copy - Review

    It gripped me from page one.

    It started right off with the mystery that drives this novel and I was instantly hooked. I had been hesitant to read Patricia Cornwell's latest novel because the last couple of Kay Scarpetta novels had not kept my interest like the previous ones had.

    However being a fan of Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta for many years, I could not pass up the chance to review an advanced reader's copy.

    This novel went back to the earlier pathology aspect of her books so if you are fan of her early work you will enjoy this newest story.

    By bringing back Scarpetta's military training it shows you a new side to Scarpetta you did not know about in previous books. Just when you think you know this character, Cornwell reveals a new side.

    You want to keep turning the page to follow the mystery along, and it grips you the entire ride.

    Without giving too much away an old colleague resurfaces that I was pleasantly surprised to "see" again, and it felt natural.

    If you were not a fan of the New York move, you will love the Cambridge/MIT setting especially for those of you from the area.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 22, 2010

    MUST READ

    Scarpetta fans, Ms Cornwell finally returns to the first-person perspective. That alone adds so much to the book. Port Mortuary may very well be Patricia's best. All of the usual characters are there, but this one seems to be all about Kay and Benton, and their relationship. The amount of work, research, and detail that this author puts into her books is nothing short of amazing. She doesn't just sit in front of a computer and type words. Ms Cornwell devotes months and months to doing the research for each book and leaves no stone unturned or task untried to get the information she wants. Her books are exciting to read because you feel like you are there. Loved this book. Could not put it down and didn't want it to end.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 21, 2010

    A must-read!

    "Port Mortuary" was next to impossible to put down! Ms Cornwell totally nailed the life of an AFME forensic pathologist, the 24/7 war-time pace of work with death never taking a holiday. It is obvious that she is meticulous with every aspect of her research. As a military officer who was stationed with the AFME during my career, I felt like I was re-living my tour of duty there with those very dedicated and caring physicians& scientists as I read portions of the book. Col Scarpetta, I would be honored to serve with you!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2010

    INCREDIBLE READ!!!!

    Patricia Cornwell, YOU'VE DONE IT AGAIN!!!! I was hooked on this book from page one! You have never disappointed me. I love Patricia's meticulous details to forensic knowledge and how smooth and flowing the twists and turns are created. The research that must have gone into writing this book astonishes me. It tells me that Patricia cares not just about the characters in the book, but, us her fans who are always looking for a good read. I love that Patricia has written through Kay's eyes once again. Kay is a real life character that at one time or another, we can all relate to. She struggles not just in her career, but, in the everyday mundane issues of life. The book is skillfully written with much depth and hard to put down. A must read........

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 24, 2010

    Lots of Twists and Turns

    This book is one of the most engaging books that Patricia Cornwell has written in years. Within this latest Scarpetta thriller she draws the reader into the world of military autopsies and cutting edge surveillance equipment. Just when you think you have the murders all figured out the plot takes a one hundred eighty degree twist. Warning: you won't be able to put this book down!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 22, 2010

    WOW WHAT A BOOK!

    I have been reading Cornwell for 20 years now and I think this book was my favorite. It was captivating. My husband accused me of having the book surgically attached because I could not put it down and took it with me everywhere. I particularly loved reading from Kay's perspective. Seems to make the book easier to read. I felt like I was in the room. It was exciting from cover to cover and I have already read it twice. If you like Cornwell, this is a must read. If you have never read the Scarpetta series, you simply must.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 20, 2010

    Scarpetta is back and better than ever!

    It's here.....the latest installment of the life of Patricia Cornwell's best character, Kay Scarpetta. Port Mortuary is the 18th novel featuring our beloved Kay and her close associates, Benton, niece Lucy and Marino. The book is hard to put down, and you keep turning the pages to find out more, and yet when you immerse yourself in Kay's world, you want to stay and follow the day to day cases in her life. We enter Scarpetta's world in a very intimate way, the book is told from her point of view. The sights, smells, fears and reactions are all hers, showing an even deeper and darker world of thoughts than I thought existed for her. The book brings her back to her early professional career and the dual purpose she has in serving her country. Scarpetta is in my home state of Massachusetts, with a new Forensic Center, and a man is brought in after dropping dead, but could he have been left to die alone in the Center's cooler by mistake? This is Patricia Cornwell at her best, but with a unique look into a character you only thought you knew....don't miss this latest book.....it will leave you wanting even more from this author.... I want to fill out a job application at the new center, a world so real when seen through Kay's eyes you almost believe you can!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 30, 2010

    Awesome read

    I thought this was much better than the last book and a great read

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 30, 2010

    HIGHLY RECOMMEND......

    What can I say? Patricia Cornwell, you have done it again! Once again, you do not disappoint your readers with your brilliant writing abilities. I've always loved reading your books, and once again, I could not put this book down. I am so pleased that you have reacquainted us with the old style of reading through Kay's eyes. I adore the usual unpredictable way the book was written and the amazing research that appears to have been done. This is a polished gem that leaves the reader wanting for more. I have been a long time fan, and hope that Patricia will continue to write about Kay, Benton, Marino and Lucy.....keep them coming......Your forever fan!!!!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 5, 2010

    Another side of Scarpetta

    There is a vulnerable side of Scarpetta that we have not seen before. Secrets of the past, combined with cumulative stress from recent happenings, have her questioning, and it seems rightly so, her intuition and decision-making abilities in both her personal and professional life. Benton, Marino and her niece, Lucy, as well as characters from her past, all play a role in this novel, though there is not as much synchronicity as the previous novel may have led one to believe. And with Lucy's involvement, you can be assured of techno-twists. Her compassion for a greyhound, abandoned at a crime scene, seems a metaphor for the bi-peds she allows close to her. Tough secrets are revealed, the ending seems incomplete. but more to come, I'm sure. Definitely worth the read.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 4, 2010

    Intriguing story. Excellent reading

    Cornwell is a writer in control of her story. Scarpetta is an engaging female, ready to go for the most pulse-pounding escapades. The research on the science of forensics is very educational.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Great read as Scarpetta is back with her own POV!

    I found Port Mortuary to be a great read as Patricia Cornwell wows us again with her knowledge of everything forensic! But, more importantly, she has given Scarpetta her voice back in this 18th book of the series! I much prefer this first person point of view! The plot is new and different with all our beloved characters back in action. Scarpetta comes back from Dover to find herself being kept in the dark regarding a case involving her self-appointed fill in Jack Fielding. I am not going to give anything away regarding the plot, as I don't want to spoil it for those people who haven't read it yet. It's a brilliant story with all the usual twists & turns. I couldn't put it down. Scarpetta is back!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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