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Flesh and Blood (Kay Scarpetta Series #22)

Flesh and Blood (Kay Scarpetta Series #22)

3.4 140
by Patricia Cornwell

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It’s Dr. Kay Scarpetta’s birthday, and she’s about to head to Miami for a vacation with Benton Wesley, her FBI profiler husband, when she notices seven pennies on a wall behind their Cambridge house. Is this a kids’ game? If so, why are all of the coins dated 1981 and so shiny they could be newly minted? Her cellphone rings, and Detective


It’s Dr. Kay Scarpetta’s birthday, and she’s about to head to Miami for a vacation with Benton Wesley, her FBI profiler husband, when she notices seven pennies on a wall behind their Cambridge house. Is this a kids’ game? If so, why are all of the coins dated 1981 and so shiny they could be newly minted? Her cellphone rings, and Detective Pete Marino tells her there’s been a homicide five minutes away. A high school music teacher has been shot with uncanny precision as he unloaded groceries from his car. No one has heard or seen a thing.

In this 22nd Scarpetta novel, the master forensic sleuth finds herself in the unsettling pursuit of a serial sniper who leaves no incriminating evidence except fragments of copper. The shots seem impossible, yet they are so perfect they cause instant death. The victims appear to have had nothing in common, and there is no pattern to indicate where the killer will strike next. First New Jersey, then Massachusetts, and then the murky depths off the coast of South Florida, where Scarpetta investigates a shipwreck, looking for answers that only she can discover and analyze. And it is there that she comes face to face with shocking evidence that implicates her techno genius niece, Lucy, Scarpetta’s own flesh and blood.

Includes an exclusive excerpt from the riveting next novel in the Kay Scarpetta series, DEPRAVED HEART.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Bestseller Cornwell’s thrilling 22nd novel featuring Dr. Kay Scarpetta (after 2013’s Dust) pits the chief medical examiner against a threat uncomfortably close to home. On the eve of a Florida birthday trip with her FBI agent husband, Benton Wesley, Det. Pete Marino calls Scarpetta to the scene of a fatal shooting in Cambridge, Mass., with all the hallmarks of a sniper attack. Even worse are the alarming similarities between the victim, music teacher Jamal Nari—recently erroneously classified as a terrorist—and two shooting deaths in New Jersey. Not only is the killer an ace shot, but even handcrafts the bullets. Scarpetta knows the signature copper bullets are somehow connected to an odd discovery outside her and Wesley’s home: seven shiny pennies, all from 1981. Soon the hunt is on, stretching from the tonier streets of Cambridge to the murky waters off the coast of Florida. Series fans may be pleasantly shocked by the return of a once-vanquished nemesis. Agent: Esther Newberg, ICM. (Nov.)
“In her twenty-second Scarpetta novel, Cornwell’s forensic knowhow is still at the cutting edge - even though Scarpetta was the prototype for most of TV’s crack forensic investigators today - and her final scenes are both logical and shocking.”
“This is in many ways the best of the recent Scarpetta novels, boasting an involving story and some fine writing. Kay has finally found her voice as a first-person narrator. . . . Readers will give this one an enthusiastic thumbs up.”
Suspense Magazine
“Everyone knows Scarpetta; she has the wit, intelligence, and strength that any forensic sleuth should own. This never-stop action plot is yet another gift to readers from Patricia Cornwell-a literary artist that is never going to stop writing some of the best and most memorable thrillers out there.”
RT Book Reviews
“Cornwell is still the ace of forensic science mysteries. Dr. Kay Scarpetta and her family and friends just keep growing as characters, and Cornwell’s plots are still taut and tangled. . . . With Flesh and Blood, Cornwell is at the top of her game.”
CT Post
“Readers should be both thrilled and jolted…”
New York Times Book Review
“Dr. Kay Scarpetta… [is] an awesome force in the field of forensic science.”
Chapter 16
“From its opening pages, Flesh and Blood offers an adrenaline-fueled yet cerebral chase for a serial-killer that opens Scarpetta and her entourage to mortal danger. . . . Another chilling, delicious ride.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Sullivan County Democrat
“What [Cornwell and Scarpetta] continue to have crucially in common . . . is an unslacking commitment to doing their jobs right-getting to the bottom of things, in Scarpetta’s case; providing complexity and depth and suspense and thrills, in Cornwell’s. I should warn you that there’s a cliffhanger ending.”
No Source
“From its opening pages, Flesh and Blood offers an adrenaline-fueled yet cerebral chase for a serial-killer that opens Scarpetta and her entourage to mortal danger. . . . Another chilling, delicious ride.”
Library Journal
★ 11/15/2014
In Cornwell's 22nd Kay Scarpetta thriller (after Dust), Kay and her FBI profiler husband, Benton Wesley, ready themselves to leave for a much-needed vacation. But a curious discovery on her garden rocks—seven shiny pennies that date from 1981—and the flashing of a small reflective light from the distant trees put their getaway plans on hold when Det. Pete Marino calls to tell her that a long-distance sniper had targeted a music teacher, one of several victims who appear to have nothing in common. Kay is still adjusting to Marino now working for the "other" side on the police force, rather than for her as an investigator. Another unsettling fact for Kay is that her niece, Lucy, is an expert markswoman. Is someone trying to frame Lucy? The ending is unseen and unexpected—and terrifying. VERDICT Deduction is the key to solving this mystery, and Scarpetta fans will relish this nail-biting novel, Cornwell's debut with publisher Morrow. [See Prepub Alert, 5/12/14; turn to p. 80 for a profile of Cornwell.—Ed.]—Susan Carr, Edwardsville P.L., IL

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Patricia Cornwell is recognized as one of the world’s top bestselling crime authors with novels translated into thirty-six languages in more than 120 countries. Her novels have won numerous prestigious awards including the Edgar, the John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger, the Anthony, the Macavity and the Prix du Roman d’Aventures. Beyond the Scarpetta series, Patricia has written a definitive book about Jack the Ripper, a biography and two more fiction series among others. Cornwell, a licensed helicopter pilot and scuba diver, actively researches the cutting-edge forensic technologies that inform her work. She was born in Miami, grew up in Montreat, North Carolina, and now lives and works in Boston.

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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Flesh and Blood 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 140 reviews.
C_Vanderlee More than 1 year ago
Blast from the Past - Scarpetta Resurrected Patricia Cornwell's Flesh and Blood is a return to what made the Scarpetta series great. Suspense, foreshadowing and an intricately woven plot all drive this novel forward and is reminiscent of Cornwell's earlier writing style. Wherein recent novels the main characters seemed to be meandering and acting out of character, in Flesh and Blood their roles are clearly defined as they were in earlier novels. While there is still interpersonal character development it does not overpower the story and in facts adds to it, helping move the story forward. When you watch Scarpetta, Benton, Marino and Lucy interact you can't help but feel you are visiting with old friends. As you read Flesh and Blood, Cornwell thrills us with the return of character that was previously thought to be dead. Little by little she reveals the identity of this character and you can't help but remember the feeling you got the first time the character was introduced into the series. Pure evil has risen again and it will be interesting to see where Cornwell takes this character next. With all Scarpetta novels Cornwell includes the latest and greatest technology. In Flesh and Blood this aspect focuses on guns and ammo. With detailed descriptions Cornwell walks you through using high-tech rifles. While this information is somewhat interesting I found that it was easy to get bogged down in the details of it all. If you are person who is interested in guns and ammo you'll enjoy this aspect of the book. For me it was too detailed and a little boring. While there are plot points that have yet to be explained in Flesh and Blood, I believe this will lead nicely into the next Scarpetta book where I suspect they will be wrapped up. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I loved how the foreshadowing moved the plot forward, how the characters were back to being themselves and how Cornwell's writing style was so much like her earlier novels. Good job, Patricia! I highly recommend this amazing read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the worst Scarpetta novel I have read. I really hate that I have to give this book only 3 stars out of 5. Patricia Cornwell is one of my favorites and I was so looking forward to this book. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a major let-down. The writing style was excellent but the plot left allot to be desired. It was slow-paced to the point of being a drag and the excessive intrusion of Scarpetta's more petty thoughts seemed out of place. The whole book seemed forced and the climax lasted for less than a page. It was like the author just got tired of dragging it out and decided to just get it over with. Major disappointment Stephanie Clanahan
matt1066 More than 1 year ago
What an awful book for Patricia Cornwell. This was her worst Scarpetta book ever, and I seriously think it is time for her to retire Dr. Scarpetta from the medical profession. It is obvious within the first two chapters who the murderer is, and the ending is very anticlimactic. Benton and Kay do not act like the serious investigators that they are: they allow a serious threat to go uninvestigated, one that even I would not overlook. The book is chock-full of acronyms, constantly in your face. The best thing I can say is that I did not pay for this book, but withdrew it from my public library. Patricia Cornwell is just reshuffling characters form her old books, much like James Patterson. I think a little more effort would have been prudent before submitting this manuscript. I must say that I recommend waiting until you can get it at your library; do not waste your money on this, I am warning you. The characters that we have grown so familiar with are shadows of their true selves; complete one-dimensional. I don't like writing this because I have always been a great fan of the author, but I feel I must in this case. If Patricia needs a collaborator on her next book, please contact me. I am sure the next book will contain the same protagonist as this one. Sorry Kay; Patricia did not do you justice in this installment of your life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have been a faithful fan of this author for many years, but I am tired of the same old conflicts that these incredibly intelligent people can't overcome. Glad I got it at the library.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was well over 100 pages in and the story wasnt progressing. Just a book with conversations between characters and no actual juice.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another failed book. Who is writing these really bad recent scarpetta books? Plot missing. Characters very thin. Lots of mumbo jumbo about guns computers helilcopters etc. Im finished with this author-- shes just no good these days. Sad but true.
lulu1950 More than 1 year ago
What is this "Dallas"? Dead characters revived so Cornwell can make more money? I'm surprised her editors didn't advise her better. And the ending??????????????? Sucks! I would ask for my money back if I could. Don't bother. Worst Cornwell ever!!!
labrat1851 More than 1 year ago
Not well developed. Boring. I loved the original Carrie story line and knew she would return but the book has awful. Kate seems psychotic. Very disappointing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book was so mundane and redundant I wish I had gotten it at the library. Don't waste your time or money. Move on to an author with a true sense of imagination. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Got it read it and wanting to know whats next. Once you start reading the book your finished before you know it and wonder what the 'SNAP' was!!!!!
LesLC More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed FLESH AND BLOOD. Ms. Cornwell has written another great Scarpetta novel. I have never been a big fan of Benton Wesley and unfortunately he still annoys me. Dr. Scarpetta is joined by all our favorites, Marino, Lucy and Janet. The twist and turns are all intertwined with the past. I don't want to be a spoiler by giving away too much, but I will say FLESH AND BLOOD is a worthwhile read. Thank you Ms. Cornwell for all the great books. Can't wait for the next Scarpetta novel.
SleeperRD More than 1 year ago
Patricia Cornwell continues to be unpredictable in her newest Kay Scarpetta novel. Though it starts offa little slow, Cornwell quickly launches into another terrifying tale of death, corruption and wonderment of who to trust. Our heroine, Kay Scarpetta, is supposed to be going on a much needed vacation for her birthday, only to be thwarted at the last minute by another unexplainable murder. This time in her own backyard. Everyone is a suspect, including her niece Lucy. Scarpetta fights, like only she can, by letting the dead speak to herand lead her to the answers. Cornwell's thorough first person descriptions of places, medical procedures and artillery make the reader feel as if they are experiencing it with Scarpetta. One always learns a lot reading one of her novels.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Way too much descriptive writing. Page after page. I have to stop buying her books as they have not been good for some time now!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've been a Scarpetta fan since the first book back in college and I can't believe how horrible this, and the last five books, is. Surely the author is phoning this in and cashing in on her previous success, but it's become very sad to see how she's selling out and writing this crap just for the money. She should have ended this series years ago and left on a high note (see Seinfeld). 1. The main character are bitter, judgemental, and frankly, shadows of their former selves. 2. We get it, Patricia, you know all about guns and forensics. But while you drone and on about the details about Sock, you can take the time and do the same thing to explain to the user about all the guns and forensics you pack in the book. 3. Why is every storyline now based on people who are out to get Kay, Benton, Marino, and Lucy? It's old and boring. I've never read so many selfish characters in one book before. 4. Why is the pathologist always performing investigations in the first place? That's what the cops are for. I know how hard it is to resist buying a book in a series you used to love, but you'll regret it, trust me. You keep hoping that this will be the one to redeem the series, that the author will make a triumphant comeback, but she doesn't. There are a ton of other books more deserving of your time and money.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Maybe one of them could have her not personally having it out with the killer. Still my favorite author...
cloggiedownunder More than 1 year ago
Flesh and Blood is the twenty-second book in the Kay Scarpetta series by American author, Patricia Cornwell. Kay and Benton are about to leave for a vacation in Florida when Kay spots seven shiny 1981 pennies on the back wall. There’s a shooting nearby, and Marino turns up quick as a flash to take Kay to the scene. Apparently, shooting bears similarities to two in New Jersey. On the way, Marino has an argument with a gardener. A teenage girl drowns, a nasty insurance agent hangs around a lot, a young tennis player confesses. Aaand from there the plot just gets more and more convoluted. Things to like about Scarpetta 22: • It’s much shorter than previous books (
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The past 2 books have been the best in a long time!
NJKate More than 1 year ago
I can't believe I allowed myself to get sucked in to another Scarpetta novel. They have gone from bad to worse. the plot is practically non-existent, but the misery and paranoia fuel the entire novel. How can such talented characters be so miserable, depressed, paranoid, damaged and simply not worth caring about. It seems Cornwell has run out of plot ideas so that all she can fill the pages with are how unhappy her characters her. This is a shame because her earlier novels were brilliant. I won't be wasting money on future installments of the Scarpetta misery show.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a long time fan, I am disappointed in the Scarpetta novels lately. This one was slow moving to the point of boredom. It was only when they moved the plot down to Florida that it got interesting
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Far from her best.
Biota1067 More than 1 year ago
The usual good read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm not sure if you have to be familiar with this series to get the most out of this book. It's a an excellent mystery but a lot of background for it comes from the series. I enjoyed the mystery of it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another great cliffhanger from Patricia Cornwell.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago