Dust (Kay Scarpetta Series #21)

Overview

With unparalleled high-tension suspense and the latest in forensic technology, Patricia Cornwell once again proves her exceptional ability to surprise—and to thrill—in this electrifying Kay Scarpetta novel.

A body, oddly draped in an unusual cloth, has just been discovered inside the sheltered gates of MIT, and it’s suspected the identity is that of missing computer engineering grad student Gail Shipton, last seen the night before at a trendy Cambridge bar. It appears she’s been...

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Dust (Kay Scarpetta Series #21)

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Overview

With unparalleled high-tension suspense and the latest in forensic technology, Patricia Cornwell once again proves her exceptional ability to surprise—and to thrill—in this electrifying Kay Scarpetta novel.

A body, oddly draped in an unusual cloth, has just been discovered inside the sheltered gates of MIT, and it’s suspected the identity is that of missing computer engineering grad student Gail Shipton, last seen the night before at a trendy Cambridge bar. It appears she’s been murdered, mere weeks before the trial in her $100 million lawsuit against her former financial manager, and Massachusetts Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta doubts it’s a coincidence. She also fears the case may have a connection with her computer genius niece, Lucy.

In Dust, Scarpetta and her colleagues are up against a force far more sinister than a sexual predator who fits the criminal classification of a “spectacle killer.” The murder of Gail Shipton soon leads deep into the dark world of designer drugs, drone technology, organized crime, and shocking corruption at the highest levels.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

After an exhausting case, Kay Scarpetta returns home to Cambridge, Massachusetts sick and badly in need of rest. Instead, she receives harrowing news that a M.I.T. graduate school student has been found dead on the college rugby field, her body posed grotesquely in a manner Scarpetta finds all too recognizable and with residue near the corpse that sounds an ominous note. Brainteasers and compelling characters.

Publishers Weekly
12/16/2013
At the start of bestseller Cornwell's 21st novel starring Dr. Kay Scarpetta (after 2012's The Bond Bed), Scarpetta, now the director of the Cambridge Forensic Center and chief medical examiner of Massachusetts, receives a call from Det. Pete Marino, who like her has relocated from Virginia, about a body found on the MIT campus. Scarpetta is quick to recognize similarities between this killing and ones her husband, Benton Wesley, and his FBI colleagues at the Behavioral Analysis Unit in Washington, D.C., are investigating. The Cambridge victim, Gail Shipton, was suing a powerful international company, Double S, and her former financial manager, Dominic Lombardi. Aided by Benton, Scarpetta soon realizes that Benton's boss, Ed Granby, will do anything to thwart their investigation. One of Scarpetta's former bosses tells her that it's "not the job of a forensic pathologist to make deductions," but she does that as well as the best detectives. Cornwell's strength remains the intricate details of forensic examinations as her heroes fight to uncover both a serial killer and a high-level cover-up. Agent: Esther Newberg, ICM. (Nov.)
Library Journal
Home in Cambridge, MA, medical examiner Kay Scarpetta must deal with the murder of a female grad student from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology whose body is found wrapped in linen and carefully posed on the rugby field. Strange how this case resembles one that Scarpetta's FBI husband is handling in Washington, DC.
Kirkus Reviews
2013-11-17
Kay Scarpetta is back, as world-weary and sharp-eyed as ever, in this latest Cornwell (The Bone Bed, 2012, etc.) outing, the 21st in the series. Scarpetta has reason to be jaded: She's just returned from Connecticut, where she conducted 27 autopsies, "most of them children, and when I pulled off my bloody scrubs and stepped into the shower I refused to think about what I'd just done." Teamed with a much more excitable Cambridge cop, she's scarcely back home in Boston when she's called to examine a corpse that's turned up "out in the mud at one end of the athletic fields, what's called Briggs Field," as Cornwell curiously puts it. And not just any corpse, of course: The victim was a computer whiz who just happened to be involved in a complex lawsuit involving heaps of money and, as it develops, some shadowy connections to the federal government. Scarpetta's husband, an FBI profiler, plays a more significant role in the tale than in other Cornwell whodunits precisely due to that Washington connection, but it takes a good while for Scarpetta to piece the puzzle together, with a parade of potential bad guys to choose from, including a rich dude who you know, just know, has to be bad because he owns "a shaving set made of mammoth ivory." The red herrings and MacGuffins are standard mystery fare, complicated by Cornwell's deep appreciation for the work of medical examiners in even the relatively simple matter of distinguishing a murder from a suicide, to say nothing of deciding who did the foul deed. The takeaway? "People still suck." Yes, they do, and they do very bad things to each other. Stay tuned.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425270042
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 9/2/2014
  • Series: Kay Scarpetta Series , #21
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 544
  • Sales rank: 54,137
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Patricia  Cornwell

Patricia Cornwell is one of the world’s major internationally bestselling authors, translated into thirty-six languages in more than 120 countries. She is a founder of the Virginia Institute of Forensic Science and Medicine; a founding member of the National Forensic Academy; a member of the Advisory Board for the Forensic Sciences Training Program at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, New York City; and a member of the Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital’s National Council, where she is an advocate for psychiatric research. In 2008, Cornwell won the Galaxy British Book Awards’ Books Direct Crime Thriller of the Year—the first American to win this prestigious award. In 2011, she was awarded the Medal of Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the Ministry of Culture in Paris. Her most recent bestsellers include The Bone Bed, Red Mist, Port Mortuary, The Scarpetta Factor, The Front, and Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper. Her earlier works include Postmortem—the only novel to win five major crime awards in a single year—and Cruel and Unusual, which won Britain’s Gold Dagger Award for best crime novel of 1993. Dr. Kay Scarpetta herself won the 1999 Sherlock Award for the best detective created by an American author.

Biography

Patricia Cornwell writes crime fiction from an unusually informed point of view. While many writers are, as she says, conjuring up "fantasy" assumptions regarding what really goes into tracking criminals and examining crime scenes, Cornwell really does walk the walk, which is why her novels ring so true.

Before becoming one of the most widely recognized, respected, and read writers in contemporary crime fiction, she worked as a police reporter for The Charlotte Observer and as a computer analyst in the chief medical examiner's office in Virginia. During this period of her life, Cornwell observed literally hundreds of autopsies. While the vast majority of people would surely regard such work unsavory beyond belief, Cornwell was acquiring valuable information that would not only help her write the groundbreaking 2002 study Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper -- Case Closed but would also enrich her fiction with uncommon authenticity.

"Most of these crime scene shows... are what I call ‘Harry Potter' policing," she said in a candid, heated interview. "They're absolutely fantasy. And the problem is the general public watches these, 60 million people a week or whatever, and they think what they're seeing is true." If Cornwell comes off as a bit vehement in her criticism of television shows meant to simply entertain, that's just because she takes her work so seriously.

Not that Cornwell's novels are ever anything short of entertaining, even if their grisly details may require extra-strong stomachs of her readers. She has created a tremendously well-defined and complex character in her favorite fictional crime solver Dr. Kay Scarpetta. Cornwell introduced medical examiner Scarpetta in her first novel, Postmortem in 1990. Today, Scarpetta is still cracking cases and cracking open cadavers. (She has even inspired a cook book called Food to Die For: Secrets from Kay Scarpetta's Kitchen.) In addition, Cornwell writes more lighthearted cop capers in her Andy Brazil & Judy Hammer series.

Good To Know

Cornwell knows what its like to shatter records. Her debut, Postmortem, was the only novel by a first-time author to ever win five major mystery awards in a single year.

Cornwell may be a former crime solver, but she shudders to think that her books could actually contribute to crime. In fact, she says she has received "thank you" notes from prisoners who claim they have gleaned information from her books that might help them cover their tracks while committing future crimes.

If parody is indeed the sincerest form of flattery, then Cornwell has a fan in Chris Elliott. The professional wisenheimer published a hilarious takeoff on her true crime book Portrait of a Killer called The Shroud of the Thwacker.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Patricia Daniels Cornwell (full name)
    2. Hometown:
      Boston, MA and New York, NY
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 9, 1956
    2. Place of Birth:
      Miami, Florida
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English, Davidson College, 1979; King College
    2. Website:

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