Port Mortuary (Kay Scarpetta Series #18)

Port Mortuary (Kay Scarpetta Series #18)

3.3 1110
by Patricia Cornwell
     
 

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Port Mortuary, the title of Patricia Cornwell's 18th Scarpetta novel, is literally a port for the dead. In this fast-paced story, a treacherous path from 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… See more details below

Overview


Port Mortuary, the title of Patricia Cornwell's 18th Scarpetta novel, is literally a port for the dead. In this fast-paced story, a treacherous path from 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 twenty 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, and this is her story.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Bestseller Cornwell's compelling 18th Kay Scarpetta novel (after The Scarpetta Factor), her strongest work in years, involves the chief medical examiner in a case that's both far-reaching in its national security implications and deeply personal. The story begins at the real Port Mortuary at Dover Air Force Base, where Scarpetta is assisting in developing techniques for virtual autopsies, then shifts back to her recently adopted home at Boston's Cambridge Forensic Center (CFC). A young man's mysterious death becomes even stranger after full-body scans reveal destruction so extensive it's as if a bomb went off inside his body. Scarpetta and husband Benton Wesley-along with her niece, Lucy Farinelli, and ex-cop turned CFC investigator Pete Marino-discover links not only to a government project with the ability to cause mass casualties but also to another grisly case currently under investigation. As Scarpetta's military past rears its head, the emotional damage the investigation of the cases is bound to wreak on Cornwell's steadfast heroine will leave readers eager for the next installment. Long-time fans will welcome the return after a decade to a first-person narration with direct access to Scarpetta's thoughts.
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Library Journal
The 18th installment of Cornwell's best-selling series (after The Scarpetta Factor) weaves together ghosts of Kay Scarpetta's murky military past with modern-day high-tech terrorism. Scarpetta is finishing a fellowship at Dover Air Force Base, where she spends her days dealing in dead U.S. soldiers arriving at Port Mortuary—literally a port for the dead. Meanwhile, back at the Massachusetts-based Cambridge Forensic Center (CFC), where she is the director, disaster is brewing when evidence seems to indicate that a young man may still have been alive when his body was locked up inside the CFC's cooler. As Scarpetta begins to investigate this death, she is astounded to discover wounds inflicted by a new weapon unfamiliar to her. Scarpetta and her team soon realize that a terrifying new nanotechnology is being employed for evil purposes. Cornwell breathes new life into timeworn characters and captivates readers with intensive character development and a detailed plot.Verdict Fans of the Scarpetta series will be clamoring for this fast-paced foray into the intriguing world of forensic science and technological terrorism. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/10.]—Amy M. Handley, Kent State Univ., Columbus, OH
Kirkus Reviews

Quite a homecoming for Dr. Kay Scarpetta after her six months at Dover Air Force Base—a corpse back in Cambridge that seems to have been locked away in a mortuary still alive.

The man who died a block from Scarpetta's home in Norton's Woods is surrounded by mystery. No one knows his name, how he was killed, whether he died of natural causes or who installed the tiny audio receivers in his headphones and why. The most baffling mystery, however, is why, after collapsing and dying without shedding a drop of blood, he began to bleed hours after being placed in a drawer at the Cambridge Forensic Center. The answer to this riddle, which will plunge Scarpetta up to her elbows in another memorable postmortem investigation, will connect the unknown man to two other murder victims—a star college quarterback and a 6-year-old boy—and to three recent victims of roadside Afghanistan bombs whose memory she thought she'd left behind in Dover. And the connection, some wickedly cutting-edge work in robotics and nanotechnology, gives Scarpetta the chance to interrupt her ongoing quarrels with her posse—her anti-authority niece Lucy, her ex-profiler husband Benton Wesley, her investigator Pete Marino—and show how much she knows about absolutely everything.

"While this is a work of fiction, it is not science fiction," Cornwell announces in a preliminary note. Well, maybe. Though it has little feeling for its new characters and shows the regulars wallowing in complications instead of developing them, there's less of the fulsome self-mythologizing that drove The Scarpetta Factor (2009).

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780751545593
Publisher:
Little, Brown Young Readers
Publication date:
05/28/2011
Series:
Kay Scarpetta Series, #18

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