Red Mist (Kay Scarpetta Series #19)

( 633 )

Overview

With high-tension suspense and cutting-edge technology, Patricia Cornwell—the world’s #1 bestselling crime writer—once again proves her exceptional ability to entertain and enthrall in this remarkable novel featuring chief medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta.

On her quest to find out exactly what happened to her former deputy chief, Jack Fielding, murdered six months before, Scarpetta drives to the Georgia Prison for Women to meet a convicted sex offender and the mother of a ...

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Red Mist (Kay Scarpetta Series #19)

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Overview

With high-tension suspense and cutting-edge technology, Patricia Cornwell—the world’s #1 bestselling crime writer—once again proves her exceptional ability to entertain and enthrall in this remarkable novel featuring chief medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta.

On her quest to find out exactly what happened to her former deputy chief, Jack Fielding, murdered six months before, Scarpetta drives to the Georgia Prison for Women to meet a convicted sex offender and the mother of a vicious and diabolically brilliant killer. Against the advice of her FBI criminal intelligence agent husband, Benton Wesley, Scarpetta is determined to hear this woman out.

Scarpetta has both personal and professional reasons to learn more about a string of grisly killings: the murder of a Savannah family years earlier, a young woman on death row, and then other inexplicable deaths that begin to occur at a breathtaking pace. Driven by inner forces, Scarpetta discovers connections that compel her to conclude that what she thought ended with Fielding’s death and an attempt on her own life is only the beginning of something far more destructive: a terrifying terrain of conspiracy and potential terrorism on an international scale.

And she is the only one who can stop it.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The aftermath of the bloodshed in 2010’s Port Mortuary figures heavily in bestseller Cornwell’s solid if scattered 19th thriller featuring medical examiner Kay Scarpetta. Lured from her home in Cambridge, Mass., to Savannah, Ga., to visit Kathleen Lawler—the woman who molested Scarpetta’s recently murdered colleague, Jack Fielding, as a child and later bore their daughter—at the Georgia Prison for Women, Scarpetta angrily realizes that she’s been tricked. Ex-Manhattan ADA Jaime Berger wants Scarpetta’s help exonerating a woman on death row for the murder nine years earlier of Savannah’s Dr. Clarence Jordan and his family. What first seems like a cold case becomes terrifyingly current when fresh bodies start appearing. Scarpetta begins questioning whether the Jordan family slaying is linked to the murders in Massachusetts in Mortuary at the hands of Dawn Kincaid, the brilliant psychopath daughter of Lawler and Fielding. As in other recent work, Cornwell overloads the plot, but Scarpetta’s tangled emotional state and her top-notch forensic knowledge more than compensate. Author tour. Agent: Esther Newberg at ICM. (Dec.)
Library Journal
Kay Scarpetta's former deputy chief, Jack Fielding, has been murdered, and she wants to know why. So she heads to the Georgia Prison for Women, where an inmate claims to have information. Soon she's uncovering initially inexplicable links to the murder of an Atlanta family, the deaths of homeless people in California, and more. Scarpetta's on the loose again; hope this one has real luster.
Kirkus Reviews
Yet another demonstration that the murderous enemies of forensic pathologist Dr. Kay Scarpetta aren't neutralized by life imprisonment or death. Especially not death. After Dawn Kincaid was jailed for attacking Scarpetta in her own garage and nearly killing her, you'd think she'd be out of the picture. No such luck: Claiming self-defense, she's commenced legal action against Scarpetta for attempted murder. Meanwhile, Kathleen Lawler, the mother who conceived Dawn by seducing 12-year-old Jack Fielding, Scarpetta's late assistant, has invited Scarpetta to the Georgia Prison for Women, where she's serving 10 years for DUI manslaughter, to chat. Their talk, like much of this tale's overextended first half, is creepy but inconclusive, and Scarpetta comes away wondering what she's gotten into this time—or what she failed to get out of last time (Port Mortuary, 2010, etc.). The pivotal figures turn out to be two women who never appear: Lola Daggette, GPFW's celebrity inmate, who maintains her innocence even though she's doing life for the slaughter of Savannah physician Clarence Jordan and his family, and Barrie Lou Rivers, the Deli Devil who fed arsenic to 17 patrons of her sandwich stand, 9 of them fatally, then choked to death in her cell hours before her date with the executioner's needle. Working with her usual posse—her husband, profiler Benton Wesley; her hot-tempered investigator Pete Marino; and her niece Lucy, whose latest dead lover, Manhattan Sex Crimes prosecutor Jaime Berger, gives her a personal stake in the case—Scarpetta, working feverishly in the story's much more rewarding second half, unearths the connections among a series of conveniently timed suicides in GPFW. She may even close the books on this set of monsters for good. Cornwell at her worst, Cornwell at her best, but mainly Cornwell at her most.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425250433
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/4/2012
  • Series: Kay Scarpetta Series , #19
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 544
  • Sales rank: 59,931
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Patricia  Cornwell

Patricia Cornwell is one of the world’s major internationally bestselling authors, translated into more than thirty-five 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’s Book 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 Port Mortuary, The Scarpetta Factor, The Front, and Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper—Case Closed. Her earlier works include Postmortem—the only novel to win five major crime awards in a single year—and Cruel & 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:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 633 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(240)

4 Star

(145)

3 Star

(127)

2 Star

(50)

1 Star

(71)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 636 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2011

    Another horrible one in the Scarpetta series!

    After the last two, I swore I wouldn't purchase another P. Cornwell novel. Well, I did hoping this would be better than the past three. It wasn't. Reading this was torture. What happened to Kay? Does Patricia Counwell even write these books anymore? Go back and read some of the older ones. You'll know what I mean.

    39 out of 47 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2011

    JUST DISMAL.

    I have read all of the Scarpetta novels but must confess that after reading the confusing mess that was Port Mortuary I said I would no longer read them. Well, of course I bought and read Red Mist. Never again. The 4 main characters (Scarpetta, Benton, Lucy, Marino) no longer have any redeeming qualities. None. They have become so very unlikable that it is easy to understand that in every recent book someone is trying to kill one of them; I would to. They live in an insular world of their own and nobody is allowed in, lest that person somehow contaminate their brilliance and beauty.
    The writing and plotlines have also become dreadful. As another reviewer put it, it seems that Scarpetta...and ONLY Scarpetta....... has to save the world in every novel. So THIS time I really mean it when I say I won't be reading any more P.Cornwell novels. Good riddance, for heaven's sake.

    37 out of 42 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2011

    Sigh

    Many of her books are well written, but lately the characters are just too depressing.

    23 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 7, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    good book

    I loved reading this book. it's very entertaining & well written. did not disappoint.

    21 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 21, 2011

    Everytime!

    I have read every one of her books, and will continue to do so in the future. No matter the price. Always worth the price. I just hate to have to wait.

    20 out of 29 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 23, 2011

    Best book in a while...

    After reading Port Mortuary, I felt like either there were unanswered questions or I just didn't like the book enough to care that I didn't get it. Red Mist answers all the questions left from Port Mortuary and plainly explains what happened in that book. Written in the first person again, thankfully this time Kay actually has more interaction with other people and it's not 500 pages of long technical narratives and her suspicions that never get resolved. That said, the Scarpetta books aren't as great as the earlier ones and recurring themes are becoming apparent - such as constant paranoia and someone trying to frame Kay for crimes. I also figured out the ending very early in the book - it was almost too obvious. So, I'm going with 3 stars, better than it has been, but not as good as it was in the beginning.

    17 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 14, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I am dissappointed in the way that Kay Scarpetta's character is developing in this series . . .

    I never thought I would say that I am through with reading about Kay Scarpetta, but that is exactly how I feel at this point. I wish the author would revisit her earlier books in this series and the way they were written. I feel that things started going south for the Kay Scarpetta storyline after her FBI husband's death was faked (in an earlier book) and everyone in Kay's inner circle knew, except her. I am uncomfortable with the dysfunctional, melancholy feel Kay's stories have now. How are the readers ever supposed to believe how accomplished and professional these characters are supposed to be, when they can't even handle their own personal relationships? The book before this one wasn't even that good, but now it is being addressed as a central there in this story. I could only get through about 1/3 of this book before I gave up on it. . . . so disappointed.

    17 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2012

    Why?

    Why do I keep reading these books??? I keep saying that I won't but then I read another one with hopes it will be better than the last, but it never is! Patricia.Corwell has changed her writing/style so much since her earlier books and I have no clue why. This book was not good. Her writing is annoying and pretentious. Think I'm finally done.

    14 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2011

    Absolutely Love this series!!

    I can't wait to read it! I have read all the books in the series and was commenting to a friend today and discovered she has started reading the series. When she showed me a list with "Red Mist" listed as "2011" I screamed and thought I had missed the hardcover edition :)!! This is a MUST READ series no matter the price! The only down side... I'm a fast reader and will be done in two (lazy) days.

    13 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 6, 2011

    Do yourself a favor, and gift yourself by reading Patricia Cornwell's Scarpetta series.

    I have never been disappointed in any of Ms. Cornwell's books. She is a master, and implore anyone who hasn't yet, to start reading the Scarpetta series from the beginning, otherwise it's like going into a movie at the end. Happy Reading!

    10 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 16, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Cornwell's Dismemberment of Scarpetta seems... Reversible?

    The last few Scarpetta novels have seemed like an exercise in futility. The characters I grew to love from my favorite crime novelist seemed to disintegrate with the turn of each page. The plotlines were just so god-awful: not cheesy, by any stretch... just all-too-human, mired in heavy subject matter, with seemingly no purpose. Even the "resolution" to the past few novels just felt hollow. Each story worked together to destroy whatever positive feelings I had for any of the characters. I've always liked Lucy, Benton was just "whatever", but Scarpetta, and most of all, Marino... I can't believe Ms. Cornwell went there with his character (in Book of the Dead). It's like the author just began to... hate them all. The feeling of totally stifled rage, and shrewish lashings-out was pervasive in every book. Scarpetta was no longer a strong, powerful woman, but a whiney, "why me" personality. It seemed like Ms. Cornwell wanted to tear each of the characters apart. It was, in a word, painful (both to read and to process). So, starting this novel, it was more of the same. I liken this book to riding a rollercoaster where the first 40% of the novel was riding up the incline at the start of the coaster... only it felt like it would never end... endlessly droning and droning... the absolute opposite of everything I love about Patricia Cornwell's writing. (At this point, you're probably really starting to wonder if I mis-rated my review...) Then, it's like the dam broke and it all began rushing back. Why I liked her writing so much. Why I liked the characters so much. I finished the second half of the book in only a few sittings. For the first time in several novels, at the end, I felt... hope... for the future... for all of the characters, and most of all, for a return to what made Ms. Cornwell the household name she is. That, and there was resolution... not total, but still some resolution nonetheless. I just hope she can finally realize that she doesn't have to torture her characters (and the rest of us, for that matter) to make her novels interesting. We loved them both before she ever went down that road.

    9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    An Enjoyable Read

    Red Mist by Patricia Cornwell was hard for me to put down. I found it intriguing. Scarpetta is still searching for clues as to why her deputy, Jack Fielding was murdered. A prison inmate seems to have some new information. Berger and Marino seem strangely ¿different¿ from what she remembered. There are many fascinating twists, hair-raising scenes and great and compelling characters. An enjoyable read.

    9 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2012

    DOA

    This book is not up to the level of older Kay Scarpetta novels! There are so many repetitive descriptions and thoughts in this book that it seems like Ms. Cornwell had a quota to meet and never mind how it made the story flow, or not flow, as long as she made her word count! The last couple of Scarpetta books I've read have been this way; sorry to say but I won't be reading any more!

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 26, 2011

    tmathson

    Witout a doubt, Ms.Corwell has a unique talant for the forensic side of the grisley deaths that end up in her morge. I think that what makes her writing so seductive to the reader, is her ability to bring the vunerable personalities of Marino,Benton& Lucy into the mix.What a complex set of people each with ther own burdens to bear. Like alot of readers,I to followed Ms. Cornwells "Scarpetta" series.Might I suggest that your local library should have any of thses books avaiable to you [at no charge] on audio,hardcover and downloading onto an ipod. Check out these resources fellow readers.Until then,don your green scrubs, those bone need boiling!

    7 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2011

    DISAPPOINTMENT

    I'VE READ CORNWELL SINCE HER BEGINNING BUT I AM SERIOUSLY DISAPPOINTED IN RED MIST. IT IS A MISHMASH OF A STORY, SEEMINGLY WITH NO CONTINUITY AND CERTAINLY THE WORST ENDING OF ANY BOOK I'VE EVER READ. THIS IS THE LAST OF CORNWELL FOR ME.

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 21, 2011

    Very Disappointing

    This book is really bad. It is just a repeat of the last theme and is just plain boring. I am sorry that I pre-ordered it. I should have waited for the reviews. She should have quit while she was ahead

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2011

    Hype Only

    I quit reading her books awhile back because of the "f-bombs" but now it will be because the character has become too unlikeable.

    The author spins the plot until it is completely without reason! Pretty pathetic.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2011

    Another in the ongoing saga

    The story moves along but is a bit strained with villains popping up and down. To my view it makes little sense if one hasn't read "Port Mortuary." As with many of the Scarpetta series it depends on a deus ex machina for its ending.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 30, 2011

    so disappointed

    after the last Scarpetta outing - Port Mortuary - i knew the character was corrupted beyond redemption - the only writing involves Kay talking to herself and telling the story. What happened to the clues, the discovery, the plot twists, and the hidden story lines? After the first Scarpetta novel i read i slept with the lights on for a week...now, i fall asleep reading them. Obviously, Patricia Cornwell has resorted to writing for the sake of writing and not to tell the story...i am done with this series.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2011

    LOST

    If it had not been a Kay Scarpetta novel I would not have finished this read. Way too much past history and too much internal struggle. After all these years only Benton has maintained any wisdom and his is rather tedious. The plot was lost in all internal struggles of everyone involved. Ilove you Kay, but you lost your way on this one. Come back to us soon.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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