Scarpetta (Kay Scarpetta Series #16)

Scarpetta (Kay Scarpetta Series #16)

3.7 427
by Patricia Cornwell

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Leaving behind her private forensic pathology practice in Charleston, South Carolina, Kay Scarpetta accepts an assignment in New York City, where the NYPD has asked her to examine an injured man on Bellevue Hospital’s psychiatric prison ward. The handcuffed and chained patient, Oscar Bane, has specifically asked for her, and when she literally has her gloved hands on


Leaving behind her private forensic pathology practice in Charleston, South Carolina, Kay Scarpetta accepts an assignment in New York City, where the NYPD has asked her to examine an injured man on Bellevue Hospital’s psychiatric prison ward. The handcuffed and chained patient, Oscar Bane, has specifically asked for her, and when she literally has her gloved hands on him, he begins to talk—and the story he has to tell turns out to be one of the most bizarre she has ever heard.

The injuries, he says, were sustained in the course of a murder . . . that he did not commit. Is Bane a criminally insane stalker who has fixed on Scarpetta? Or is his paranoid tale true, and it is he who is being spied on, followed and stalked by the actual killer? The one thing Scarpetta knows for certain is that a woman has been tortured and murdered—and more violent deaths will follow. Gradually, an inexplicable and horrifying truth emerges: Whoever is committing the crimes knows where his prey is at all times. Is it a person, a government? And what is the connection between the victims?

In the days that follow, Scarpetta; her forensic psychologist husband, Benton Wesley; and her niece, Lucy, who has recently formed her own forensic computer investigation firm in New York, will undertake a harrowing chase through cyberspace and the all-too-real streets of the city -- an odyssey that will take them at once to places they never knew, and much, much too close to home.

Throughout, Cornwell delivers shocking twists and turns, and the kind of cutting-edge technology that only she can provide. Once again, she proves her exceptional ability to entertain and enthrall.

About the Author
PATRICIA CORNWELL’s most recent bestsellers include Book of the Dead, The Front, and Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper -- Case Closed. Her earlier works include Postmortem -- the only novel to win the Edgar, Creasey, Anthony, and Macavity awards and the French Prix du Roman d’Aventure in a single year -- and Cruel and Unusual, which won Britain’s prestigious Gold Dagger Award for the best crime novel of 1993. Dr. Kay Scarpetta herself won the 1999 Sherlock Award for the best detective created by an American author.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

At the start of bestseller Cornwell's plodding 16th thriller to feature Dr. Kay Scarpetta (after Book of the Dead), the forensic pathologist-who recently relocated to Belmont, Mass., with her forensic psychologist husband-is called to Manhattan's Bellevue Hospital for reasons that don't become clear until she gets there. Oscar Bane, who voluntarily committed himself to Bellevue while denying he brutally murdered his girlfriend, refuses to speak to anyone except the high-profile Scarpetta. Bane, Scarpetta discovers, is obsessed with her. Meanwhile, someone masquerading as Scarpetta is lurking in cyberspace and supplying an online gossip site with dirty secrets about the doctor. For help on the murder case, Scarpetta turns to her computer whiz niece and a macho former colleague whose shocking actions in Book of the Dead severely damaged his relationship with Scarpetta. With a plot full of holes and frustrating red herrings, this entry falls short of the high standard set by earlier volumes in this iconic series. (Dec.)

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Kirkus Reviews
Dr. Kay Scarpetta celebrates her 20th anniversary as a larger-than-life medical examiner by taking on a case of murder among little people. Hours after his 4'1" girlfriend Terri Bridges observes New Year's Eve by getting herself strangled, equally short Dr. Oscar Bane checks himself voluntarily into New York's Bellevue Hospital and begs to unburden himself to Scarpetta. Jaime Berger, the combative sex-crimes prosecutor in charge of the case, instantly has Scarpetta flown in from Boston. Scarpetta swiftly gets Oscar to admit that his injuries are self-inflicted, but nothing he says helps to clear up the mysteries of why Terri, a graduate student in forensic pathology, was obsessed with Scarpetta, or why the fluid sample taken from her body included the DNA of a 78-year-old paraplegic woman from Palm Beach. Stung by a series of scurrilous attacks via an online site called Gotham Gotcha, Scarpetta manfully works the case, but it's not easy to focus on the killer when there's so much bad blood among the series regulars: Berger, Scarpetta, her profiler husband Benton Wesley, her niece Lucy Farinelli and Pete Marino, the hot-headed, besotted investigator who assaulted Scarpetta the last time they worked together (Book of the Dead, 2007). Despite dozens of promising clues and reams of forensic evidence, in fact, all roads in the case lead inexorably back to Scarpetta. The title perfectly suits a challenging mystery that's only a pendant to the endless soap opera revolving around a heroine who just can't stop posing for Mt. Rushmore.

Product Details

Gale Group
Publication date:
Kay Scarpetta Series , #16
Edition description:
Large Print
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.40(d)


Meet the Author

Patricia Cornwell's most recent bestsellers include Red Mist, Port Mortuary, 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 and Unusual, which won Britain's prestigious Gold Dagger Award for the best crime novel of 1993. Dr. Kay Scarpetta herself won the 1999 Sherlock Award for the best detective created by an American author.

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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Scarpetta (Kay Scarpetta Series #16) 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 426 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read all the Kay Scarpetta books. The early ones that take place in Richmond, VA are great reading. However when Cornwell moved Kay and her gang out of Richmond, the books just went downhill. This book is just plain awful. It rambles on about a murder of woman I didn't know or care about. Then the plot deviates from the murder story to ramble on about animal rights, breasts implants, and Lucy again has a gay relationship that has nothing to do with the main story line. After years of wanting Westly, Kay is having problems with him. Marino, one my favorite characters, changed so much it was unrealistic. Marino and Kay never resolved their problem either at least not verbally so what is the reader suppose to conclude about them. The plot is boring, confusing, has no suspense, and the ending is terrible. This is the last book I will ever buy by Cornwell. Personally I think she has gone as far as she can with Kay Scarpetta or she has lost her touch as a writer of classy readable supense thriller books. I have already traded my copy to a used book store for a more interesting book to read and enjoy.
AzPO3 More than 1 year ago
A great read and impressive addition to the Scarpetta series. I am awed by how Cornwell can continue to generate such suspense and mystery in the Scarpetta lineup. It is fascinating to see Scarpetta and her old friends continue to develop through the mind¿s eye of Cornwell. I loved how clues are interwoven into each page in this layered Scarpetta adventure. In true Cornwell fashion the forensic detail was impeccable and the book the best yet.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There was a time when I would be at B&N the day the latest Cornwell/Scarpetta was released. It pains me to say her last few books were not her best so I decided the series had ran its course and moved on. Then this book was released and the reviews were making it seem like the old Cornwell was back. So I caved in and bought the book. I have read 3/4 of the book and feel the need to ask do I have a bad copy or are some of you early reviewers on something? There is little rhyme or reason to the flow of the story, the plot is so-so at best, the characters are walking around like they just had a labatomy.... I am hoping the next page I read is the start of the greatness of this book. If not I will donate the book to the library and not look back at PC anymore.
mistie More than 1 year ago
I was lucky enough to be able to read her book before it came out. I really enjoyed this book. Her last two had seemed to lack something and I found this book to be back to her amazing writting. I couldn't put Scarpetta down until I had read it all. Everything fell into place like it should and u weren't left hanging in the end. This is a must for all Patricia Cornwell fans.
Marcela28 More than 1 year ago
This book has it all! Without giving anything away, let me just say Patricia Cornwell's new book is a MUST-READ! You will not be able to put the book down until you have read each and every page of it. The wait to find out what happened to Investigator Pete Marino is finally over! Lucy's new love interest keeps the story line so much more interesting. Well written (of course!) and unbelievably entertaining... Don't miss out on your chance to read one of the best Scarpetta novels yet!
CrimefanID More than 1 year ago
Cornwell has once again wowed us with her new Scarpetta book! This is a must read for not only all Cornwell fans, but also for anyone interested in a great forensic thriller. Cornwell has written a best seller with the addition of new characters, as well as our favorites. Kay Scarpetta is back and she's better than ever! And I loved that Marino is back to his old self. And, as is Cornwell's signature style, all of the forensic details are true science. This mystery had me on the edge of my seat until the very end. This is a must read!
charlasc More than 1 year ago
This novel is definitely a five star in my book! Cornwell really worked to develop the characters, and the plot was full of her signature twists and turns! Her characters have grown and changed, some stronger, others not who we have known them to be. Cornwell also added a new level to the book by weaving current day issues into the plot. Smart, well-researched, thrilling and a tad bit dark, Cornwell really hit a home run with this one.
She kept me constantly jumping to incorrect conclusions and in one particular scene, actually physically jumping. I can't wait to share this with friends and family so we can discuss all the intricately woven threads and the sheer entertainment value of Scarpetta.
RDawg19 More than 1 year ago
ABSOLUTELY STUNNING!! Patricia Cornwell has done it again!! Scarpetta is a magnificent work sure to become a classic!! Focusing mainly on the brilliant work of Dr. Kay Scarpetta, and likewise bearing her name, Patricia Cornwell¿s newest work is truly a ¿must read!¿

In this latest thriller, Dr. Kay Scarpetta is called in from Boston to solve a heinous New Year¿s Eve crime that makes no sense to investigators. As a personal favor to her colleagues, Dr. Scarpetta walks right into this complex case and tackles it ¿head on.¿
The case has a confusing trail of DNA and a confounding set of circumstances that baffles even New York¿s finest. The plot swirls and spins around a complex cast of characters, all of which seem mutually exclusive until the final chapters of the book when Ms. Cornwell reveals a carefully woven matrix of unlikely and sinister connections. And, ¿¿. the ending will fool you!

This thriller has more twists and turns than a mountain road, and it enthralls its reader from its first word to its last. It¿s a true page turner. I stayed up half the night finishing this book because I simply could not put it down!!
Panther More than 1 year ago
Patricia Cornwell has done it again. She continues to keep the books coming and they never slack in comparrison. It is wonderful to have Kay Scarpetta back this book is awesome. I would suggest that anyone who is interested in Forensics read this its not just a book it gives understanding and excitement.
Scarpetta_4_Ever More than 1 year ago
She's back! Dr. Kay Scarpetta is back with new tales, new adventures! Who knows what she'll accomplish this time. New characters, old friends...all are included in the newest book. Patricia Cornwell keeps bringing Dr. Scarpetta back and throws her into something new that will capture you and won't let go! Keep her comin', Patricia Cornwell!
ME_Mom More than 1 year ago
Happy Anniversary Kay, it is 20 years since you came on the scene. I have been waiting for this book. Kay is no older but she is wiser and more compassionate. The characters in this book are really unique and the murder a real puzzle. Lucy is involved in a new enterprise that helps Aunt Kay and Marino is rehabilitated to my great relief. The solving of the murder was a real surprise - classic Cornwell. As usual you can take the forensic science to the bank. I am confident fans will love this book. I did.
diehard More than 1 year ago
Book of the Dead left us hanging by our fingernails, particularly when we're left wondering if Marino could survive his biggest obstacle: himself. And if Lucy has anything to do with it, he wouldn't or would he? The answers you've been asking yourself are answered in Patricia Cornwell's newest SCARPETTA. A "can't put down", "don't make me quit reading" book. Those of us who love the characters will not be disappointed --- you'll find yourself sighing for Rose, rooting for Marino and holding your breath for Lucy! The lead up to the end is in Ms.Cornwell's typical style of laying out the plot, peppering it with colorful people, sprinkling in some forensic jargon and slamming us against the back bookcover. The only time you'll be disappointed will be when you finish this book and there just isn't any more!!
rn2btlm More than 1 year ago
Cornwell's latest in the Kay Scarpetta series is a thrilling page-turner that I found difficult to put down! Picking up post-disaster in SC, we get a detailed series of events leading up to the current twisting & turning case Kay, et al find themselves wrapped up in. This is one of the best Scarpetta adventures yet!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of this book- and it's one of the best Kay Scarpetta books that Patricia Cornwell has written in years! Packed with action, plot twists, new characters as well as all our beloved regulars, this book will definately keep you on the edge of your seat- you won't want to put it down!
lsmith3125 More than 1 year ago
I have been an avid Scarpetta fan since the first volumes were published and, quite honestly, I had been disappointed in the last three or four installments. That made reading "Scarpetta" all the more enjoyable, as Cornwell seemed to be returning to some of the basics which made the early books so enjoyable. I found much more detail and development in the basic story plot, less rehashing of the "old" character flaws and more emphasis on solving a murder than on personal relationships. I have renewed interest in this series and I was at a point where I could have gone either way. But I would highly recommend "Scarpetta" and believe that you will find some of the old spark in this new installment.
retiredteach More than 1 year ago
Scarpetta is an exceptionally well-written book with unforgettable characters and a plot (and sub-plots) than only Cornwell could create - a book that is difficult to close until the very end.
VW58 More than 1 year ago
The book was worth the wait. It was true Scarpetta for me, I couldn't wait to turn the next page to see what strange twist the story was going to take. I was so sure that Dr. Lester was somehow involved, maybe that's another plot for another time. I was so relieved that the book ended without Scarpetta being hurt, I was a little worried that with the title being just Scarpetta that this would be the last book. As an avid PC and Scarpetta fan, I hope that there are many, many more to come. And I was so relieved to see Kay and Marino somewhat reunited, it was unbelievable to me as close as they were that they would never speak again. All I can say is PC has another winner on her hands and I can't wait for the next one.
China2Asia More than 1 year ago
This book, for me, did not start with a bang. Had to really force myself to continue reading. By the sixth chapter it was starting to come together and from there became quite the familiar Cornwell page turner. All in all it's a good book and I would recommend it to others.
I would also recommend James Patterson and Rick Mofina books.
azucar11 More than 1 year ago
Patricia Cornwell masters the art of research and brings it up a notch in Scarpetta.In vintage Cornwell style she sets the stage for an intense thriller.Lucy, Marino and Benton turn up like familiar old friends and take this suspenseful journey with us.She toys with our judgement and when we think we have solved the mystery she brings us in another direction.A nail-biter to the very end allowed for that rare "literary hangover" well worth the loss of a night's sleep.
Thanks to Cornwell my Christmas shopping will be easy this year!
The_ShadowDP More than 1 year ago
Another fantastic book!! It was definitely a page turner and very hard to put down. I love the way Cornwell keeps you guessing all through the novel with surprises and endless clues to beat the band. With Cornwell¿s elegant touch of characterizations and her detailed way of scene description, it¿s like savoring every bite of a triple chocolate cake followed by the best Columbian gourmet coffee that only Juan Valdez could appreciate. Cornwell fans will not be disappointed yet again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Scarpetta" is remarkable. The mystery, suspense, surprises, new characters, revealing technology, this story has it all. I hate to spoil this story with any description, it is great to have it unfold before you. YOu really feel captured in every page. I will say this, Benton begins the story with incredible fatigue from pulling 2 all nighters. Well get ready, you will too. Your heart will race even after you close the cover. I highly recomend "Scarpetta" you will never forget it.
JasperC More than 1 year ago
Scarpetta by Patricia Cornwell is a fast paced novel that will leave you on the edge of your seat from the first page to the last. If you are like me who prefers the earlier Kay Scarpetta novels then you won¿t be disappointed. This novel is packed with clues and surprises that will leave you guessing until the very end. Cornwell¿s description of settings and of characters are so detailed that the reader is drawn into the story like a moth to a flame. I was unable to put it down due to the intensity of the plot. My only criticism of the novel is that it ended. I enjoyed Scarpetta so much that I plan on re-reading it again. Unlike most novels that are given so much attention and hype prior to distribution this one truly deserves it.
Booky More than 1 year ago
¿Scarpetta¿ is a skillfully written thriller. There is no question that Ms. Cornwell knows her stuff when it comes to setting the stage. The first three-quarters of this novel is packed with an abundance of essential details ¿ anatomical, physiological, psychological, medical, forensic, technical ¿ all part of introducing and re-introducing the characters and the crimes. The last quarter of the book moves rapidly toward the conclusion. It is a well-crafted interwoven and complex resolution that reveals itself in layers. Except for some instances of conflict between Kay and Bennett, it does, however, seem that Kay, Bennett, Lucy and Marino have all attended sensitivity training since the previous novel. While there are new adversaries, I did miss the tension in the familiar relationships. If you are a Cornwell/Scarpetta fan as I am, don¿t miss ¿Scarpetta.¿
Tess48 More than 1 year ago
I read this book and boy I was blown away. She really out did herself, on this book. The main characters are terrifc. And so are the new ones. I see
why the book is thick?Because all of her characters deserve equal share in the book. It's worth the wait for me personilty. Everyone will be surpise at the ending. And through the whole book. For some of you die hard lovers of Kay Scarpetta (like myself)she is so fantastic of a character, only Miss Cornwell does her justice. But all of this is my personal opinion. And there be some who won't like the book (of course) that's their opinion also.But the die hard fans will out way the bad one's.The plot is really good,writing is terrfic,it's so thrilling. I could go on but, you read for your self just stay with it after the first chapter. Then you can't put it down it's really worth the read.Plus the main characters are fantastic and so are the new one's. Did I say I Love it. I just did. 11-26-08
Carolyn-Lee More than 1 year ago
Scarpetta is in a class all its own. Even in the Dr. Kay Scarpetta series there is nothing quite like this. The setting is in today's life from 9-11 to the job market. Patricia has never had a character like Oscar Bane. There are a few story lines to follow, and more incite to the people who surround Kay. You can not figure out the ending to this book till the end, down to the last chapter I was thinking it couldn't end this way, no way Patricia could do it. I couldn't put the book down, it is the longest one yet. The detail of the time line in this book isn't like any thing else Patricia has done, at least none I can recall. I have every one of Patricia's books and after twenty years of writing I do not feel like I have read the same thing once. This is one of my favorites, because I can see Kay Scarpetta in our world, dealing with our life. Thank you, Patricia Cornwell for sharing your work with us.