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The Body Farm (Kay Scarpetta Series #5)

The Body Farm (Kay Scarpetta Series #5)

4.3 125
by Patricia Cornwell

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Little Emily Steiner left a church meeting late one afternoon and strolled toward home along a lakeside path; a week later, her nude body was discovered, bound in blaze-orange duct tape. Called by the North Carolina authorities, forensic pathologist Kay Scarpetta recognizes similarities to the gruesome work of a serial killer who has long eluded the FBI But as she


Little Emily Steiner left a church meeting late one afternoon and strolled toward home along a lakeside path; a week later, her nude body was discovered, bound in blaze-orange duct tape. Called by the North Carolina authorities, forensic pathologist Kay Scarpetta recognizes similarities to the gruesome work of a serial killer who has long eluded the FBI But as she tries to make sense of the evidence, she is left with questions that lead her to the Body Farm, a little known research facility in Tennessee where, with the help of some grisly experiments, she might discover the answer.
It is Scarpetta alone who can interpret the forensic hieroglyphics that eventually reveal a solution to the case as staggering as it is horrifying. But she must also endeavor to help her niece, Lucy, who is embroiled in controversy at Quantico. And Scarpetta, too, is vulnerable, as she opens herself to the first physical and emotional bond she has felt in far too long a time.
Tenacious and brilliant, tender and gentle, this is Scarpetta even more realized and poignant than we've seen her before--in a stunning achievement from a best-selling author at the peak of her powers.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Cornwell ( Body of Evidence ; All That Remains ) casts a wider, surer narrative net in the latest case set for her increasingly complex heroine, Kay Scarpetta, Chief Medical Examiner for the Commonwealth of Virginia. As an FBI consultant, Scarpetta investigates the North Carolina murder of 11-year-old Emily Steiner, whose mutilation suggests the M.O. of an escaped killer met previously in Cruel and Unusual. Forensic clues from the body's second autopsy prompt Scarpetta to request that certain experiments be made at the University of Tennessee's Decay Research Facility, known as the Body Farm. Meanwhile, she, Pete Marino of the Richmond, Va., police, and her new love interest, FBI Unit Chief Benton Wesley investigate the apparent suicide (from autoerotic asphyxiation) of the local FBI agent in charge of the case. Then, Scarpetta's computer-whiz niece Lucy, working at FBI headquarters at Quantico, is charged with violating security. During her travels between North Carolina and Virginia, Scarpetta worries about both the less-than-forthcoming Lucy and Marino, who becomes emotionally entangled with Emily's beautiful stricken mother. Results at the Body Farm lead her to a convincing, if abrupt, resolution. Deeper characterization and a more intricate plot mark this fifth in a consistently compelling series. 500,000 first printing; paperback rights to Berkley; audio rights to Simon & Schus ter; Literary Guild selection. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Following the disappointing Cruel and Unusual (Scribner, 1993), one wondered whether Cornwell was getting bored with her popular Kay Scarpetta series. After all, that novel featured a tired, confused plot and cardboard characters. But, happily, Cornwell is back at the top of her form here. Sure, there are still the red herrings and the plot contrivances, but what makes The Body Farm stand out is the deeper characterizations, especially in the depiction of Scarpetta's relationship with her troubled niece, Lucy. "It seems this is all about people loving people who don't love them back," says Scarpetta, referring to the murder of an 11-year-old girl, which she is investigating as an FBI consultant. But this is also the novel's haunting theme: homicide detective Pete Morino, jealous of Scarpetta's affair with FBI Unit Chief Benton Wesley, becomes involved with the dead girl's mother; Lucy, in love with a calculating fellow FBI student, is accused of violating agency security. Emotionally satisfying reading. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/94.]-Wilda Williams, "Library Journal"
Emily Melton
Cornwell's name on the cover of a book virtually guarantees both instant best-seller status and enthusiastic raves from reviewers and readers alike. Her latest story is no exception, as popular heroine Dr. Kay Scarpetta is called in to help investigate the brutal slaying of an 11-year-old girl. Scarpetta believes the child may have been the victim of Temple Gault, a macabre, demented serial killer who remains at large despite Scarpetta's determined efforts to track him down. It turns out that Scarpetta is at least partly right about Gault, but the child's death is more complicated and horrifying than even the I can't be surprised anymore Scarpetta can imagine. Cornwell's plot is visceral, graphic, and frightening in a way that's vaguely reminiscent of "Silence of the Lambs". Her writing is masterful, and she provides evocative backgrounds, provocative characters, and enough ghoulish specifics about autopsies and dead bodies to induce weeks of nightmares. Scarpetta, as usual, is a tenacious, principled investigator who's the one voice of reason in a story fraught with bizarre unreason. This deserves a place in every mystery collection.
From the Publisher
"Among the grittiest of this season's crime novels...convincing...chilling."— Time

"All the pacing and suspense Cornwell fans have come to expect."— People

"Reminiscent of The Silence of the Lambs. Her writing is masterful."— Booklist

Product Details

Cengage Gale
Publication date:
Kay Scarpetta Series , #5
Edition description:
Large Print
Product dimensions:
6.36(w) x 9.50(h) x 0.92(d)

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
"Among the grittiest of this season's crime novels...convincing...chilling."— Time
"All the pacing and suspense Cornwell fans have come to expect."— People
"Reminiscent of The Silence of the Lambs. Her writing is masterful."— Booklist

Meet the Author

Patricia Cornwell is an award-winning former police reporter who spent time working both as an employee of the Virginia Chief Medical Examiner’s Office and as a volunteer police officer before she wrote her first Kay Scarpetta novel, Postmortem, which was the first novel ever to win the Edgar, Creasey, Anthony, Macavity, and French Prix du Roman d’Aventure awards in one year. She has followed that up with ten other bestselling novels featuring Kay Scarpetta. She then began a new series with her #1 New York Times bestsellers Hornet’s Nest and Southern Cross. She is also the author of two cookbooks, Scarpetta’s Winter Table and Food to Die For; A Time for Remembering, a biography of Ruth Bell Graham, wife of evangelist Billy Graham; a children’s book, Life’s Little Fable; and her #1 bestselling work of nonfiction, Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper—Case Closed. She lives in New York City.

Brief Biography

Boston, MA and New York, NY
Date of Birth:
June 9, 1956
Place of Birth:
Miami, Florida
B.A. in English, Davidson College, 1979; King College

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Body Farm 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 122 reviews.
DonnaApple More than 1 year ago
This summer I was assigned to read and do a report on my reading. I assumed that I would pick a girly book that I can relate to. Those books I usually read and go through them like there is no tomorrow. However, this year I went outside the box and chose something I usually do not read...a horror. I always loved horror films and figured I would love a horror book. The Body Farm by Particia Cornwell is a fantastic read. Now the book I have was published in 1994 and I was worried it would be outdated; the minute I sat down to read, it jumps right into the plot. The plot is of an eleven year old girl named Emily Steiner who went missing in Black Mountain, North Carolina. Dr. Kay Scarpetta is assigned to this case through the FBI, where she finds herself doing more than examining for the cause of death. Everyone in the case thinks the famous serial killer Gault is the one responsible for the disappearance and murder of the little girl. As Dr. Scarpetta gets more into the case she realizes this is not the one who abolished the perfectly innocent eleven years old. This is when the novel takes a turn and gets very interesting. This book is not your ordinary novel for it has more than one plot in it including the one of Dr. Scarpetta's rebellious niece and she pulls you into the book even more. You cannot put this down until you figure out the evil behind everything. I highly would recommend this book even if it isn't your usual read. Enjoy!
catCL More than 1 year ago
I recommend reading the whole series starting with book #1 [postmortem] I loved all the characters the twist and turn of the plots and am know patiently waiting for the next book. enjoy!!! Here's the titles in order #2 Body of Evidence #3 All that remains #4 Cruel and unusual #5 The body farm #6 From potter's field #7 Cause of death #8 Unnatural exposure #9 Point of origin #10 Black notice #11 The last precinct #12 Blow fly #13 Trace #14 Predator #15 Scarpetta.
AirForceWife810 More than 1 year ago
** spoiler alert ** This was my second time reading The Body Farm. I read it several years ago on a whim without reading any of the prior books. This time I am reading the Scarpetta series in order. Although The Body Farm was excellent the first time around, it was even better after reading Cruel and Unusual. I highly recommend reading Cruel and Unusual first. I feel like you get more out of The Body Farm by doing so. A lot of unexpected things happened in this book that I would have not suspected. Kay Scarpetta has an affair with Benton Wesley. Pete Marino has an affair with the mother with the mother of the little girl who was murdered. I did not expect those things out of those characters. Gault is suspected in the crimes that occur in the little town of Black Mountain, North Carolina. All the pieces seem to fit the puzzle. Lucy is almost killed in Virginia. Without the excellent detective skills of Dr. Scarpetta, the real killer would have never been caught. Her excellent intuition is what solves the case, saves Marino's life, and possibly her own life. I read other reviews and someone mentioned that they were disappointed at the title of the book, The Body Farm, because the book was not about that. Actually, the experiment on The Body Farm is what gave the clue that sealed the deal in the end. In fact, without that piece of evidence, I don't know that Scarpetta could have proven who the killer was. The Body Farm is my favorite so far in The Scarpetta Series. I am excited to start reading From Potters Field.
Amanda1988 More than 1 year ago
What a fantastic book...couldn't put it down! Kudos for a great book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I would like to give a zero stars, but it would not let me do that! The plot is awful, and looked to me, like she just wanted to add more pages to the book! Very poor narration, and style. She has 3 different stories running together, with no relationship what so ever. Will never buy her book again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have enjoyed all of Scapetta's books. This is one of my favorite so far. It's when Kay and Benton got to gather, I could not belive that in Point of Origin He dies I cried, and then in Black Notice, The letter that Benton wrote the a year after his death was so sad. I Can't wait to read The Last Precinct: I hope, Kay and Agent Talley get together.
Guest More than 1 year ago
¿There is no other in the world, mine was the only one¿ - Emily Dickinson Nothing ever happens in the small rural town of Black Mountain, nothing until the shocking murder of eleven-year-old Emily Steiner. Patricia Cornwell, a New York Times Best Seller, reintroduces Dr. Kay Scarpetta, a forensic scientist who plays the lead role in most of Cornwell¿s works, in the exhilarating novel, The Body Farm. The suspense o this novel will keep you on the edge of your seat and the mystery concealed within its pages will ensure that you stay hooked from the very beginning. Emily Steiner¿s case becomes increasingly difficult with the introduction of several peculiar pieces of evidence, such as: the mysterious mark found on Emily¿s body, the custom made fluorescent orange duct tape, the skin samples found in a dead sheriff¿s freezer and the unusual residue discovered lingering on the girls body. This evidence leads to several new suspects in the crime and makes the truth of the case more difficult to decipher. The hysterical, attention-seeking, mother of the victim is a major setback to the case, and ends up attracting the attention of the lead investigator in her daughter¿s murder. In attempting to find justice for Emily Steiner, Dr. Scarpetta finds her personal life growing in difficulty. While working on the case, she is introduced to many people who lead to several new interesting relationships, and a scandal at the high security facility where she works involving her niece, who later on nearly gets killed in a car crash, has her more than occupied. Yet Kay finds herself deeply embedded in this convoluted path of leads, dead ends, incriminating evidence, suspects, and criminals. Only one combination can be right, but the question is, can Kay figure it all out before time is up? There is only one way to tell. This story line¿s many twists and turns are sure to have your mind racing with questions and possible theories. It is guaranteed, however, that most of your theories will be wrong. This story will keep your nose in the book its several twists are intriguing, but the ending is the most shocking of all.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book over vacation and I loved it. I couldn't put it down once I started! I usually don't read unless I have too! However, I picked this up and I just couldn't stop. I have never read anything from the author before but I would love to recommend her to others becuase it is so good and it stays interesting through the whole thing. I didn't expect it to end the way it did but with my understanding of Biology it helped me to grasp the book very well! I hope all future readers will enjoy I know that I sure did.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Spots a squirrel in the distance. He gets into a crouching position and focuses on his prey. A few foxtail lengths away, he pounces on the furry animal. He gives a strong blow with a bite as the squirrel falls motionless. He proudly carries it in his teeth to Res 2.
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Great job!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoy the Kay Scarpetta series and as soon as I read one in the series, I immediately go to the next one. Keep them coming.
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tayelle2 More than 1 year ago
An 11-year old girls body was discovered and found evidence regarding tracks of a known serial killer. Since Scarpetta is a forensic pathologist she examines the body and noticed some conditions on the body, that will lead her to the Body Farm. The Body Farm is a laboratory where some forensic scientists studies the body, as well as the stage of decomposition they are in, which help her to get more evidence. Scarpetta gets a little distracted from the case due to her niece getting dismissed from her FBI internship, because she intended to kill her aunt. Scarpetta gets so overwhelmed with stuff and knows she needs to get back to the case of the girl, yet with her niece getting dismissed from the FBI, it let other clues to the serial killer that also had worked for the FBI. She begins to understand the murders incentive and motivations. Being involved in this case, she gets down to business by interviewing and questioning witnesses and suspects, visiting sites, and she goes out of her way to understand and crack down on this case and this killer. With many others trying to help her, she wants to do this case all on her own. She begins to figure out the case and who the serial killer could be. Patricia Cornwell has a different, although amazing writing which can really pull the reader in. Since I first starting reading this I could tell I would not be able to put this book down. It came so much into my attention that everything I read was like a movie in my mind because her writing painted a picture in my head understanding all that is going on. The only thing was that the story was complicated if your attention was not fully focused on the text. Otherwise, this book was an amazing book. I would definitely recommend this book to everyone, though it’s a suspense/ crime book, I think it will grab anyone’s attention, no matter what type of reading your into. Though I have no read any other works by Patricia Cornwell, I have heard the whole series is amazing, yet I started reading the series by reading the middle book, starting from the top might be better so you can get the full affect. Overall, this book was one the best I have ever read.
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Another great book in the Cornwell series. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND anyone who loves mysteries to read these books!