Scarpetta (Kay Scarpetta Series #16) [NOOK Book]


View our feature on Patricia Cornwell’s Scarpetta.

From America’s #1 bestselling crime writers comes the ...
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Scarpetta (Kay Scarpetta Series #16)

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View our feature on Patricia Cornwell’s Scarpetta.

From America’s #1 bestselling crime writers comes the extraordinary new Kay Scarpetta novel.

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.

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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.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781440654503
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 12/2/2008
  • Series: Kay Scarpetta Series , #16
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 592
  • Sales rank: 16,414
  • File size: 560 KB

Meet the Author

Patricia  Cornwell

Patricia Cornwell was born on June 9, 1956, in Miami, Florida, and grew up in Montreat, North Carolina.

Following graduation from Davidson College in 1979, she began working at the Charlotte Observer, rapidly advancing from listing television programs to writing feature articles to covering the police beat. She won an investigative reporting award from the North Carolina Press Association for a series of articles on prostitution and crime in downtown Charlotte.

Her award-winning biography of Ruth Bell Graham, A Time for Remembering, was published in 1983. From 1984 to 1990 she worked as a technical writer and a computer analyst at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond, Virginia.

Her first crime novel, Postmortem, was published by Scribner’s in 1990. Initially rejected by seven major publishing houses, it became the first novel to win the Edgar, Creasey, Anthony, and Macavity awards as well as the French Prix du Roman d’Aventure in a single year. In Postmortem, Cornwell introduced Dr. Kay Scarpetta as the intrepid Chief Medical Examiner of the Commonwealth of Virginia. In 1999, Dr. Scarpetta herself won the Sherlock Award for best detective created by an American author.

Following the success of her first novel, Cornwell has written a series of bestsellers featuring Kay Scarpetta, her detective sidekick Pete Marino, and her brilliant and unpredictable niece, Lucy Farinelli: Body of Evidence (1991), All That Remains (1992), Cruel and Unusual (1993) [which won Britain’s prestigious Gold Dagger Award for the year’s best crime novel], The Body Farm (1994), From Potter’s Field (1995), Cause of Death (1996), Unnatural Exposure (1997), Point of Origin (1998), Black Notice (1999), The Last Precinct (2000), Blow Fly (2003), Trace (2004), Predator (2005), Book of the Dead (2007) [which won the 2008 Galaxy British Book Awards’ Books Direct Crime Thriller of the year; she is the first American ever to win this award], Scarpetta (2008), and The Scarpetta Factor (2009).

In addition to the Scarpetta novels, she has written three best-selling novels featuring Andy Brazil: Hornet’s Nest (1996), Southern Cross (1998), and Isle of Dogs (2001); two cook books: Scarpetta’s Winter Table (1998) and Food to Die For (2001); and a children’s book: Life’s Little Fable (1999). In 1997, she updated A Time for Remembering, and it was reissued as Ruth, A Portrait: The Story of Ruth Bell Graham. Intrigued by Scotland Yard’s John Grieve’s observation that no one had ever tried to use modern forensic evidence to solve the murders committed by Jack the Ripper, Cornwell began her own investigation of the serial killer’s crimes. In Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper—Case Closed (2002), she narrates her discovery of compelling evidence to indict the famous artist Walter Sickert as the Ripper.

In January 2006, the New York Times Magazine began a 15-week serialization of At Risk, featuring Massachusetts State Police investigator Win Garano and his boss, District Attorney Monique Lamont. Its sequel, The Front, was serialized in the London Times in the spring of 2008.

Both novellas were subsequently published as books and promptly optioned for adaptation by Lifetime Television Network, starring Daniel Sunjata and Andie MacDowell. In April 2009, Fox acquired the film rights to the Scarpetta novels, featuring Angelina Jolie as Dr.Kay Scarpetta. Cornwell herself wrote and co-produced the movie ATF for ABC.

Often interviewed on national television as a forensic consultant, Cornwell 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, NYC; and a member of the Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital’s National Council, where she is an advocate for psychiatric research. She is also well known for her philanthropic contributions to animal rescue and criminal justice as well as endowing college scholarships and promoting the cause of literacy on the national scene. Some of her projects include the establishment of an ICU at Cornell’s Animal Hospital, the archaeological excavation of Jamestown, and the scientific study of the Confederacy’s submarine H.L. Hunley. Most recently she donated a million dollars to Harvard’s Fogg Museum to establish a chair in inorganic science.

Her books are translated into thirty-six languages across more than fifty countries, and she is regarded as one of the major international best-selling authors. Her novels are praised for their meticulous research and an insistence on accuracy in every detail, especially in forensic medicine and police procedures. She is so committed to verisimilitude that, among other accomplishments, she became a helicopter pilot and a certified scuba diver and qualified for a motorcycle license because she was writing about characters who were doing these things. “It is important to me to live in the world I write about,” she often says. “If I want a character to do or know something, I want to do or know the same thing.”


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
( 423 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 424 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Where Was the Story???

    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.

    43 out of 48 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 1, 2008

    Impressive Addition to the Scarpetta Series

    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.

    10 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2009

    Am I missing something?

    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.

    9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 2, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    INDESCRIBABLY WONDERFUL!! Classic Cornwell!!

    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!¿ <BR/><BR/>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.¿<BR/>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!<BR/><BR/>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!!

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 2, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Amazing.... Patricia Cornwell is back...

    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.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 1, 2008

    Another great Cornwell book!

    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!

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 1, 2008

    Patricia Cornwell Did It Again!

    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!

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 2, 2008

    Smart, well researched thriller.

    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.<BR/>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.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 2, 2008

    Wow well worth the wait.

    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.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 1, 2008

    She does it again!

    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!

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 1, 2008

    I have been waiting for this book

    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.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 26, 2008

    What You've Been Waiting For

    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!!

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 26, 2008

    Wonderful, as expected

    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!

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2008

    One of the best Scarpetta books in years!

    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!

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 22, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Nothing like this

    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.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 21, 2008


    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.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    Another Scarpetta Winner! Now I can't wait until the next one.

    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.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 6, 2008


    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.<BR/>I would also recommend James Patterson and Rick Mofina books.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 5, 2008

    Thanks to Patricia Cornwell Christmas came early this year!

    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.<BR/>Thanks to Cornwell my Christmas shopping will be easy this year!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 2, 2008

    Another Fantastic Book

    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.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 424 Customer Reviews

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