Unnatural Exposure (Kay Scarpetta Series #8)

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Overview

Always packed with unrelieved tension and constant surprises, a new novel from Patricia Cornwell is cause for celebration. Virginia's chief medical examiner, Kay Scarpetta, is called in to examine the remains of a woman found in a landfill, her body dismembered in the same expert way she'd seen before. And while Scarpetta is investigating, the bold killer contacts her through the Internet, inviting her to download the police photos, and signs off with the chilling name, deadoc. When Scarpetta and her niece ...
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Unnatural Exposure (Kay Scarpetta Series #8)

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Overview

Always packed with unrelieved tension and constant surprises, a new novel from Patricia Cornwell is cause for celebration. Virginia's chief medical examiner, Kay Scarpetta, is called in to examine the remains of a woman found in a landfill, her body dismembered in the same expert way she'd seen before. And while Scarpetta is investigating, the bold killer contacts her through the Internet, inviting her to download the police photos, and signs off with the chilling name, deadoc. When Scarpetta and her niece discover that the victim was exposed to a rare smallpox-like virus before she died, she realizes that they re up against a killer with access to an incredible arsenal of deadly force -- and now it's directed at her!
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this return to the luridly fascinating world of Dr. Kay Scarpetta, Cornwell delivers the goods her fans love best. Moving from serial dismemberment to a high-tech virus that threatens a pox-like epidemic, this eighth appearance (following last year's Cause of Death) of the compulsive forensics pathologist who is Virginia's Medical Examiner and a consultant to the FBI ranges from Dublin to Richmond, Va., making stops at a tiny barrier island in the Chesapeake Bay and the government's huge biological defense facility in Dugway, Utah. Tours of Graceland in Memphis and Atlanta's Center for Disease Control are added before the closing in London. The dismembered corpse of an elderly woman found in a Virginia landfill doesn't quite fit the profile of earlier dismemberments; also puzzling is the pattern of pustules found on the torso. As Scarpetta follows the forensics clues, she faces the unscrupled ambitions of a slick FBI agent; the difficulties encountered by Lucy, her beloved niece, computer genius and a lesbian; her own exposure to the unidentified, sometimes fatal virus (and subsequent quarantine); and the turbulent ambivalence of her feelings for Agent Wesley Benton. Fully as satisfying as previous Kay Scarpetta novels, this one is built on a sturdy workmanlike plot and doles out rewards in the gory, high-tech details, allowing readers to overlook the lapses of Cornwell's non-Scarpetta venture in this year's earlier "Hornet's Nest."
Library Journal
Kay Scarpetta grapples with a serial killer who contacts her via the Internet in this latest from crime novelist Cornwell, who is involved in some headline-making scandal of her own: In a recent trial, she was named as the former lover of a woman whose husband attempted to murder her in a rage over the affair.
Kirkus Reviews
Whoever shot the latest unidentified female victim Dr. Kay Scarpetta's called out to examine—whoever cut off her head, dismembered her, and bagged her torso for disposal in a Virginia landfill—may have been doing her a favor. Though Virginia's chief medical examiner doesn't realize it until she's called out to an even more horrific death scene—an inoffensive old woman on Tangier Island who seems to have died of smallpox—the earlier victim had signs of the same ravaging illness, supposedly eradicated in 1977. The violence to the first victim, and the care taken to conceal her identity, would point to murder even if Scarpetta hadn't started to get sinister computer messages from somebody called "deadoc," who soon goes on to order the President: "apologize if not i will start on france" [sic]. Arrayed against deadoc are the Richmond homicide squad (headed by Scarpetta's old friend Capt. Pete Marino), the Virginia State Police, the FBI (including Scarpetta's on-again lover Benton Wesley and her niece Lucy), the Center for Disease Control, and the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. But in true Cornwell fashion, the good guys are their own worst enemies: The state cops and the FBI are mired in turf wars; a slick state investigator's determined to arrest the wrong perp and smear Lucy for an old lesbian affair; the USAMRIID, woefully underfunded, has furloughed so many unessential employees that there's hardly a nurse to care for Scarpetta when she comes down with a fever she can only pray isn't smallpox.

Cornwell's tenth ("Hornet's Nest", 1997, etc.) shows her bestselling formula—in-your-face forensics, computer terrorism, agency infighting, soap-opera romance, penny-dreadful villain—wearing a little thin. But fans, swept up in a fever of their own, won't care a bit.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425163405
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 7/28/1998
  • Series: Kay Scarpetta Series , #8
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 4.24 (w) x 6.74 (h) x 1.03 (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.

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:

Read an Excerpt



Chapter One


Night fell clean and cold in Dublin, and wind moaned beyond my room as if a million pipes played the air. Gusts shook old windowpanes and sounded like spirits rushing past as I rearranged pillows one more time, finally resting on my back in a snarl of Irish linen. But sleep would not touch me, and images from the day returned. I saw bodies without limbs or heads, and sat up, sweating.

    I switched on lamps, and the Shelbourne Hotel was suddenly around me in a warm glow of rich old woods and deep red plaids. I put on a robe, my eyes lingering on the phone by my fitfully-slept-in bed. It was almost two A.M. In Richmond, Virginia, it would be five hours earlier, and Pete Marino, commander of the city police department's homicide squad, should be up. He was probably watching TV, smoking, eating something bad for him, unless he was on the street.

    I dialed his number, and he grabbed the phone as if he were right next to it.

    "Trick or treat." He was loudly on his way to being drunk.

    "You're a little early," I said, already regretting the call. "By a couple of weeks."

    "Doc?" He paused in confusion. "That you? You back in Richmond?"

    "Still in Dublin. What's all the commotion?"

    "Just some of us guys with faces so ugly we don't need masks. So every day is Halloween. Hey! Bubba's bluffing," he yelled out.

    "You always think everybody's bluffing," a voice fired back. "It's from being a detective too long."

    "What you talking about? Marinocan't even detect his own B.O."

    Laughter in the background was loud as the drunk, derisive comments continued.

    "We're playing poker," Marino said to me. "What the hell time is it there?"

    "You don't want to know," I answered. "I've got some unsettling news, but it doesn't sound like we should get into it now."

    "No. No, hold on. Let me just move the phone. Shit. I hate the way the cord gets twisted, you know what I mean? Goddamn it." I could hear his heavy footsteps and a chair scraping. "Okay, Doc. So what the hell's going on?"

    "I spent most of today discussing the landfill cases with the state pathologist. Marino, I'm increasingly suspicious that Ireland's serial dismemberments are the work of the same individual we're dealing with in Virginia."

    He raised his voice. "You guys hold it down in there!"

    I could hear him moving farther away from his pals as I rearranged the duvet around me. I reached for the last few sips of Black Bush I had carried to bed.

    "Dr. Foley worked the five Dublin cases," I went on. "I've reviewed all of them. Torsos. Spines cut horizontally through the caudal aspect of the fifth cervical vertebral body. Arms and legs severed through the joints, which is unusual, as I've pointed out before. Victims are a racial mix, estimated ages between eighteen and thirty-five. All are unidentified and signed out as homicides by unspecified means. In each case, heads and limbs were never found, the remains discovered in privately owned landfills."

    "Damn, if that don't sound familiar," he said.

    "There are other details. But yes, the parallels are profound."

    "So maybe the squirrel's in the U.S. now," he said. "Guess it's a damn good thing you went over there, after all."

    He certainly hadn't thought so at first. No one really had. I was the chief medical examiner of Virginia, and when the Royal College of Surgeons had invited me to give a series of lectures at Trinity's medical school, I could not pass up an opportunity to investigate the Dublin crimes. Marino had thought it a waste of time, while the FBI had assumed the value of the research would prove to be little more than statistical.

    Doubts were understandable. The homicides in Ireland were more than ten years old, and as was true in the Virginia cases, there was so little to go on. We did not have fingerprints, dentition, sinus configurations or witnesses for identification. We did not have biological, samples from people missing to compare to the victims' DNA. We did not know the means of death. Therefore, it was very difficult to say much about the killer, except that I believed he was experienced with a meat saw and quite possibly used one in his profession, or had at one time.

    "The last case in Ireland, that we know of, was a decade ago," I was saying to Marino over the line. "In the past two years we've had four in Virginia."

    "So you're thinking he stopped for eight years?" he said. "Why? He was in prison, maybe, for some other crime?"

    "I don't know. He may have been killing somewhere else and the cases haven't been connected," I replied as wind made unearthly sounds.

    "There's those serial cases in South Africa," he thickly thought out loud. "In Florence, Germany, Russia, Australia. Shit, now that you think of it, they're friggin' everywhere. Hey!" He put his hand over the phone. "Smoke your own damn cigarettes! What do you think this is? Friggin' welfare!"

    Male voices were rowdy in the background, and someone had put on Randy Travis.

    "Sounds like you're having fun," I dryly said. "Please don't invite me next year, either."

    "Bunch of animals," he mumbled. "Don't ask me why I do this. Every time they drink me outa house, home. Cheat at cards."

    "The M.O. in these cases is very distinctive." My tone was meant to sober.

    "Okay," he said. "So if this guy started in Dublin, maybe we're looking for someone Irish. I think you should hurry back home." He belched. "Sounds like we need to go to Quantico and get on this. You told Benton yet?"

    Benton Wesley headed the FBI's Child Abduction Serial Killer Unit, or CASKU, for which both Marino and I were consultants.

    "I haven't had a chance to tell him yet," I replied, hesitantly. "Maybe you can give him a heads-up. I'll get home as soon as I can."

    "Tomorrow would be good."

    "I'm not finished with the lecture series here," I said.

    "Ain't a place in the world that don't want you to lecture. You could probably do that and nothing else," he said, and I knew he was about to dig into me.

    "We export our violence to other countries," I said. "The least we can do is teach them what we know, what we've learned from years of working these crimes ..."

    "Lectures ain't why you're staying in the land of leprechauns, Doc," he interrupted as a flip-top popped. "It ain't why, and you know it."

    "Marino," I warned. "Don't do this."

    But he kept on. "Ever since Wesley's divorce, you've found one reason or another to skip along the Yellow Brick Road, right on out of town. And you don't want to come home now, I can tell from the way you sound, because you don't want to deal, take a look at your hand and take your chances. Let me tell you. Comes a time when you got to call or fold ..."

    "Point taken." I was gentle as I cut off his besotted good intentions. "Marino, don't stay up all night."


The Coroner's Office was at No. 3 Store Street, across from the Custom House and central bus station, near docks and the river Liffey. The brick building was small and old, the alleyway leading to the back barred by a heavy black gate with MORGUE painted across it in bold white letters. Climbing steps to the Georgian entrance, I rang the bell and waited in mist.

    It was cool this Tuesday morning, trees beginning to look like fall. I could feel my lack of sleep. My eyes burned, my head was dull, and I was unsettled by what Marino had said before I had almost hung up on him.

    "Hello." The administrator cheerfully let me in. "How are we this morning, Dr. Scarpetta?"

    His name was Jimmy Shaw, and he was very young and Irish, with hair as fiery as copper ivy, and eyes as blue as sky.

    "I've been better," I confessed.

    "Well, I was just boiling tea," he said, shutting us inside a narrow, dimly lit hallway, which we followed to his office. "Sounds like you could use a cup."

    "That would be lovely, Jimmy," I said.

    "As for the good doctor, she should be finishing up an inquest." He glanced at his watch as we entered his cluttered, small space. "She should be out in no time."

    His desk was dominated by a large Coroner's Inquiries book, black and bound in heavy leather, and he had been reading a biography of Steve McQueen and eating toast before I arrived. Momentarily, he was setting a mug of tea within my reach, not asking how I took it, for by now he knew.

    "A little toast with jam?" he asked as he did every morning.

    "I ate at the hotel, thanks." I gave the same reply as he sat behind his desk.

    "Never stops me from eating again." He smiled, slipping on glasses. "I'll just go over your schedule, then. You lecture at eleven this morning, then again at one P.M. Both at the college, in the old pathology building. I should expect about seventy-five students for each, but there could be more. I don't know. You're awfully popular over here, Dr. Kay Scarpetta," he cheerfully said. "Or maybe it's just that American violence is so exotic to us."

    "That's rather much like calling a plague exotic," I said.

    "Well, we can't help but be fascinated by what you see."

    "And I guess that bothers me," I said in a friendly but ominous way. "Don't be too fascinated."

    We were interrupted by the phone, which he snapped up with the impatience of one who answers it too often.

    Listening for a moment, he brusquely said, "Right, right. Well, we can't place an order like that just yet. I'll have to ring you back another time.

    "I've been wanting computers for years," he complained to me as he hung up. "No bloody money when you're the dog wagged by the Socialist tail."

    "There will never be enough money. Dead men don't vote."

    "The bloody truth. So what's the topic of the day?" he wanted to know.

    "Sexual homicide," I replied. "Specifically the role DNA can play."

    "These dismemberments you're so interested in." He sipped tea. "Do you think they're sexual? I mean, would that be the motivation on the part of whoever would do this?" His eyes were keen with interest.

    "It's certainly an element," I replied.

    "But how can you know that when none of the victims has ever been identified? Couldn't it just be someone who kills for sport? Like, say, your Son of Sam, for example?"

    "What the Son of Sam did had a sexual element," I said, looking around for my pathologist friend. "Do you know how much longer she might be? I'm afraid I'm in a bit of a hurry."

    Shaw glanced at his watch again. "You can check. Or I suppose she may have gone on to the morgue. We have a case coming in. A young male, suspected suicide."

    "I'll see if I can find her." I got up.

    Off the hallway near the entrance was the coroner's court, where inquests for unnatural deaths were held before a jury. This included industrial and traffic accidents, homicides and suicides, the proceedings in camera, for the press in Ireland was not allowed to print many details. I ducked inside a stark, chilly room of varnished benches and naked walls, and found several men inside, tucking paperwork into briefcases.

    "I'm looking for the coroner," I said.

    "She slipped out about twenty minutes ago. Believe she had a viewing," one of them said.

    I left the building through the back door. Crossing a small parking lot, I headed to the morgue as an old man came out of it. He seemed disoriented, almost stumbling as he looked about, dazed. For an instant, he stared at me as if I held some answer, and my heart hurt for him. No business that had brought him here could possibly be kind. I watched him hurry toward the gate as Dr. Margaret Foley suddenly emerged after him, harried, her graying hair disarrayed.

    "My God!" She almost ran into me. "I turn my back for a minute and he's gone."

    The man let himself out, the gate flung open wide as he fled. Foley trotted across the parking lot to shut and latch it again. When she got back to me, she was out of breath and almost tripped over a bump in the pavement.

    "Kay, you're out and about early," she said.

    "A relative?" I asked.

    "The father. Left without identifying him, before I could even pull back the sheet. That will foot me up the rest of the day."

    She led me inside the small brick morgue with its white porcelain autopsy tables that probably belonged in a medical museum and old iron stove that heated nothing anymore. The air was refrigerated-chilly, modern equipment nonexistent except for electric autopsy saws. Thin gray light seeped through opaque skylights, barely illuminating the white paper sheet covering a body that a father could not bear to see.

    "It's always the hardest part," she was saying. "No one should ever have to look at anyone in here."

    I followed her into a small storeroom and helped carry out boxes of new syringes, masks and gloves.

    "Strung himself up from the rafters in the barn," she went on as we worked. "Was being treated for a drink problem and depression. More of the same. Unemployment, women, drugs. They hang themselves or jump off bridges." She glanced at me as we restocked a surgical cart. "Thank God we don't have guns. Especially since I don't have an X-ray machine."

    Foley was a slight woman with old-fashioned thick glasses and a penchant for tweed. We had met years ago at an international forensic science conference in Vienna, when female forensic pathologists were a rare breed, especially overseas. We quickly had become friends.

    "Margaret, I'm going to have to head back to the States sooner than I thought," I said, taking a deep breath, looking about, distracted. "I didn't sleep worth a damn last night."

    She lit a cigarette, scrutinizing me. "I can get you copies of whatever you want. How fast do you need them? Photographs may take a few days, but they can be sent."

    "I think there is always a sense of urgency when someone like this is on the loose," I said.

    "I'm not happy if he's now your problem. And I'd hoped after all these years he had bloody quit." She irritably tapped an ash, exhaling the strong smoke of British tobacco. "Let's take a load off for a minute. My shoes are already getting tight from the swelling. It's hell getting old on these bloody hard floors."

    The lounge was two squat wooden chairs in a corner, where Foley kept an ashtray on a gurney. She put her feet up on a box and indulged her vice.

    "I can never forget those poor people." She started talking about her serial cases again. "When the first one came to me, I thought it was the IRA. Never seen people torn asunder like that except in bombings."

    I was reminded of Mark in a way I did not want to be, and my thoughts drifted to him when he was alive and we were in love. Suddenly he was in my mind, smiling with eyes full of a mischievous light that became electric when he laughed and teased. There had been a lot of that in law school at Georgetown, fun and fights and staying up all night, our hunger for each other impossible to appease. Over time we married other people, divorced and tried again. He was my leitmotif, here, gone, then back on the phone or at my door to break my heart and wreck my bed.

    I could not banish him. It still did not seem possible that a bombing in a London train station would finally bring the tempest of our relationship to an end. I did not imagine him dead. I could not envision it, for there was no last image that might grant peace. I had never seen his body, had fled from any chance, just like the old Dubliner who could not view his son. I realized Foley was saying something to me.

    "I'm sorry," she repeated, her eyes sad, for she knew my history well. "I didn't mean to bring up something painful. You seem blue enough this morning."

    "You made an interesting point." I tried to be brave. "I suspect the killer we're looking for is rather much like a bomber. He doesn't care who he kills. His victims are people with no faces or names. They are nothing but symbols of his private, evil credo."

    "Would it bother you terribly if I asked a question about Mark?" she said.

    "Ask anything you want." I smiled. "You will anyway."

    "Have you ever gone to where it happened, visited that place where he died?"

    "I don't know where it happened," I quickly replied.

    She looked at me as she smoked.

    "What I mean is, I don't know where, exactly, in the train station." I was evasive, almost stuttering.

    Still she said nothing, crushing the cigarette beneath her foot.

    "Actually," I went on, "I don't know that I've been in Victoria at all, not that particular station, since he died. I don't think I've had reason to take a train from there. Or arrive there. Waterloo was the last one I was in, I think."

    "The one crime scene the great Dr. Kay Scarpetta will not visit." She tapped another Consulate out of the pack. "Would you like one?"

    "God knows I would. But I can't."

    She sighed. "I remember Vienna. All those men and the two of us smoking more than they did."

    "Probably the reason we smoked so much was all those men," I said.

    "That may be the cause, but for me, there seems to be no cure. It just goes to show, that what we do is unrelated to what we know, and our feelings don't have a brain." She shook out a match. "I've seen smokers' lungs. And I've seen my share of fatty livers."

    "My lungs are better since I quit. I can't vouch for my livers," I said. "I haven't given up whiskey yet."

    "Don't, for God sake. You'd he no fun." She paused adding pointedly. "Course, feelings can be directed, educated, so they don't conspire against us."

    "I will probably leave tomorrow." I got back to that.

    "You have to go to London first to change planes." She met my eyes. "Linger there. A day."

    "Pardon?"

    "It's unfinished business, Kay. I have felt this for a long time. You need to bury Mark James."

    "Margaret, what has suddenly prompted this?" I was tripping over words again.

    "I know when someone is on the run. And you are, just as much as this killer is."

    "Now, that's a comforting thing to say," I replied, and I did not want to have this conversation.

    But she was not going to let me escape this time. "For very different reasons and very similar reasons. He's evil, you're not. But neither of you wants to be caught."

    She had gotten to me and could tell.

    "And just who or what is trying to catch me, in your opinion?" My tone was light but I felt the threat of tears.

    "At this stage, I expect it's Benton Wesley."

    I stared off, past the gurney and its protruding pale foot tied with a tag. Light from above shifted by degrees as clouds moved over the sun, and the smell of death in tile and stone went back a hundred years.

    "Kay, what do you want to do?" she asked kindly as I wiped my eyes.

    "He wants to marry me," I said.


I flew home to Richmond and days became weeks with the weather getting cold. Mornings were glazed with frost and evenings I spent in front of the fire, thinking and fretting. So much was unresolved and silent, and I coped the way I always did, working my way deeper into the labyrinth of my profession until I could not find a way out. It was making my secretary crazy.

    "Dr. Scarpetta?" She called out my name, her footsteps loud and brisk along the tile floor in the autopsy suite.

    "In here," I answered over running water.

    It was October 30. I was in the morgue locker room, washing up with antibacterial soap.

    "Where have you been?" Rose asked as she walked in.

    "Working on a brain. The sudden death from the other day."

    She was holding my calendar and flipping pages. Her gray hair was neatly pinned back, and she was dressed in a dark red suit that seemed appropriate for her mood. Rose was deeply angry with me and had been since I'd left for Dublin without saying good-bye. Then I forgot her birthday when I got back. I turned off the water and dried my hands.

    "Swelling, with widening of the gyri, narrowing of the sulci, all good for ischemic encephalopathy brought on by his profound systemic hypotension," I cited.

    "I've been trying to find you," she said with strained patience.

    "What did I do this time?" I threw up my hands.

    "You were supposed to have lunch at the Skull and Bones with Jon."

    "Oh, God," I groaned as I thought of him and other medical school advisees I had so little time to see.

    "I reminded you this morning. You forgot him last week, too. He really needs to talk to you about his residency, about the Cleveland Clinic."

    "I know, I know." I felt awful about it as I looked at my watch. "It's one-thirty. Maybe he can come by my office for coffee?"

    "You have a deposition at two, a conference call at three about the Norfolk-Southern case. A gunshot wound lecture to the Forensic Science Academy at four, and a meeting at five with Investigator Ring from the state police." Rose went down the list.

    I did not like Ring or his aggressive way of taking over cases. When the second torso had been found, he had inserted himself into the investigation and seemed to think he knew more than the FBI.

    "Ring I can do without," I said, shortly.

    My secretary looked at me for a long moment, water and sponges slapping in the autopsy suite next door.

    "I'll cancel him and you can see Jon instead." She eyed me over her glasses like a stern headmistress. "Then rest, and that's an order. Tomorrow, Dr. Scarpetta. Don't come in. Don't you dare let me see you darken the door."

    I started to protest and she cut me off.

    "Don't even think of arguing," she firmly went on. "You need a mental health day, a long weekend. I wouldn't say that if I didn't mean it."

    She was right, and as I thought about having a day to myself, my spirits lifted.

    "There's not a thing I can't reschedule," she added. "Besides." She smiled. "We're having a touch of Indian summer and it's supposed to be glorious, in the eighties with a big blue sky. Leaves are at their peak, poplars an almost perfect yellow. Maples look like they're on fire. Not to mention, it's Halloween. You can carve a pumpkin."

    I got suit jacket and shoes out of my locker. "You should have been a lawyer," I said.

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Table of Contents

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First Chapter

Chapter 1 of Unnatural Exposure

Night fell clean and cold in Dublin, and wind moaned beyond my room as if a million pipes played the air. Gusts shook old windowpanes and sounded like spirits rushing past as I rearranged pillows one more time, finally resting on my back in a snarl of Irish linen. But sleep would not touch me, and images from the day returned. I saw bodies without limbs or heads, and sat up, sweating.

I switched on lamps, and the Shelburne Hotel was suddenly around me in a warm glow of rich old woods and deep red plaids. I put on a robe, my eyes lingering on the phone by my fitfully-slept- in bed. It was almost two A.M. In Richmond, Virginia, it would be five hours earlier, and Pete Marino, commander of the city police department's homicide squad, should be up. He was probably watching TV, smoking, eating something bad for him, unless he was on the street.

I dialed his number, and he grabbed the phone as if he were right next to it.

"Trick or treat." He was loudly on his way to being drunk.

"You're a little early," I said, already regretting the call. "By a couple of weeks."

"Doc?" He paused in confusion. "That you? You back in Richmond?"

"Still in Dublin. What's all the commotion?"

"Just some of us guys with faces so ugly we don't need masks. So every day is Halloween. Hey! Bubba's bluffing," he yelled out.

"You always think everybody's bluffing," a voice fired back. "It's from being a detective too long."

"What you talking about? Marino can't even detect his own B.O."

Laughter in the background was loud as the drunk, derisive comments continued.

"We're playing poker," Marino said to me. "What the hell time is it there?"

"You don't want to know," I answered. "I've got some unsettling news, but it doesn't sound like we should get into it now."

"No. No, hold on. Let me just move the phone. Shit. I hate the way the cord gets twisted, you know what I mean? Goddamn it." I could hear his heavy footsteps and a chair scraping. "Okay, Doc. So what the hell's going on?"

"I spent most of today discussing the landfill cases with the state pathologist. Marino, I'm increasingly suspicious that Ireland's serial dismemberments are the work of the same individual we're dealing with in Virginia."

He raised his voice. "You guys hold it down in there!"

I could hear him moving farther away from his pals as I rearranged the duvet around me. I reached for the last few sips of Blackbush I had carried to bed.

"Dr. Foley worked the five Dublin cases," I went on. "I've reviewed all of them. Torsos. Spines cut horizontally through the caudal aspect of the fifth cervical vertebral body. Arms and legs severed through the joints, which is unusual, as I've pointed out before. Victims are a racial mix, estimated ages between eighteen and thirty-five. All are unidentified and signed out as homicides by unspecified means. In each case, heads and limbs were never found, the remains discovered in privately owned landfills."

"Damn, if that don't sound familiar," he said.

"There are other details. But yes, the parallels are profound."

"So maybe the squirrel's in the U.S. now," he said. "Guess it's a damn good thing you went over there, after all."

He certainly hadn't thought so at first. No one really had. I was the chief medical examiner of Virginia, and when the Royal College of Surgeons had invited me to give a series of lectures at Trinity's medical school, I could not pass up an opportunity to investigate the Dublin crimes. Marino had thought it a waste of time, while the FBI had assumed the value of the research would prove to be little more than statistical.

Doubts were understandable. The homicides in Ireland were more than ten years old, and as was true in the Virginia cases, there was so little to go on. We did not have fingerprints, dentition, sinus configurations or witnesses for identification. We did not have biological samples from people missing to compare to the victims' DNA. We did not know the means of death. Therefore, it was very difficult to say much about the killer, except that I believed he was experienced with a meat saw and quite possibly used one in his profession, or had at one time.

"The last case in Ireland, that we know of, was a decade ago," I was saying to Marino over the line. "In the past two years we've had four in Virginia."

"So you're thinking he stopped for eight years?" he said. "Why? He was in prison, maybe, for some other crime?"

"I don't know. He may have been killing somewhere else and the cases haven't been connected," I replied as wind made unearthly sounds.

"There's those serial cases in South Africa," he thickly thought out loud. "In Florence, Germany, Russia, Australia. Shit, now that you think of it, they're friggin' everywhere. Hey!" He put his hand over the phone. "Smoke your own damn cigarettes! What do you think this is? Friggin' welfare!"

Male voices were rowdy in the background, and someone had put on Randy Travis.

"Sounds like you're having fun," I dryly said. "Please don't invite me next year, either."

"Bunch of animals," he mumbled. "Don't ask me why I do this. Every time they drink me outa house, home. Cheat at cards."

"The M.O. in these cases is very distinctive." My tone was meant to sober.

"Okay," he said. "So if this guy started in Dublin, maybe we're looking for someone Irish. I think you should hurry back home." He belched. "Sounds like we need to go to Quantico and get on this. You told Benton yet?"

Benton Wesley headed the FBI's Child Abduction Serial Killer Unit, or CASKU, for which both Marino and I were consultants.

"I haven't had a chance to tell him yet," I replied, hesitantly. "Maybe you can give him a heads-up. I'll get home as soon as I can."

"Tomorrow would be good."

"I'm not finished with the lecture series here," I said.

"Ain't a place in the world that don't want you to lecture. You could probably do that and nothing else," he said, and I knew he was about to dig into me.

"We export our violence to other countries," I said. "The least we can do is teach them what we know, what we've learned from years of working these crimes . . ."

"Lectures ain't why you're staying in the land of leprechauns, Doc," he interrupted as a flip-top popped. "It ain't why, and you know it."

"Merino," I warned. "Don't do this."

But he kept on. "Ever since Wesley's divorce, you've found one reason or another to skip along the Yellow Brick Road, right on out of town. And you don't want to come home now, I can tell from the way you sound, because you don't want to deal, take a look at your hand and take your chances. Let me tell you. Comes a time when you got to call or fold . . ."

"Point taken." I was gentle as I cut off his besotted good intentions. "Merino, don't stay up all night."

* * * * * * * * *

The Coroner's Office was at No. 3 Store Street, across from the Custom House and central bus station, near docks and the river Liffey. The brick building was small and old, the alleyway leading to the back barred by a heavy black gate with MORGUE painted across it in bold white letters. Climbing steps to the Georgian entrance, I rang the bell and waited in mist.

It was cool this Tuesday morning, trees beginning to look like fall. I could feel my lack of sleep. My eyes burned, my head was dull, and I was unsettled by what Marino had said before I had almost hung up on him.

"Hello." The administrator cheerfully let me in. "How are we this morning, Dr. Scarpetta?"

His name was Jimmy Shaw, and he was very young and Irish, with hair as fiery as copper ivy, and eyes as blue as sky.

"I've been better," I confessed.

"Well, I was just boiling tea," he said, shutting us inside a narrow, dimly lit hallway, which we followed to his office. "Sounds like you could use a cup."

"That would be lovely, Jimmy," I said.

"As for the good doctor, she should be finishing up an inquest." He glanced at his watch as we entered his cluttered small space. "She should be out in no time."

His desk was dominated by a large Coroner's Inquiries book, black and bound in heavy leather, and he had been reading a biography of Steve McQueen and eating toast before I arrived. Momentarily, he was setting a mug of tea within my reach, not asking how I took it, for by now he knew.

"A little toast with jam?" he asked as he did every morning.

"I ate at the hotel, thanks." I gave the same reply as he sat behind his desk.

"Never stops me from eating again." He smiled, slipping on glasses. "I'll just go over your schedule, then. You lecture at eleven this morning, then again at one P.M. Both at the college, in the old pathology building. I should expect about seventy-five students for each, but there could be more. I don't know. You're awfully popular over here, Dr. Kay Scarpetta," he cheerfully said. "Or maybe it's just that American violence is so exotic to us."

"That's rather much like calling a plague exotic," I said.

"Well, we can't help but be fascinated by what you see."

"And I guess that bothers me," I said in a friendly but ominous way. "Don't be too fascinated."

We were interrupted by the phone, which he snapped up with the impatience of one who answers it too often.

Listening for a moment, he brusquely said, "Right, right. Well, we can't place an order like that just yet. I'll have to ring you back another time.

"I've been wanting computers for years," he complained to me as he hung up. "No bloody money when you're the dog wagged by the Socialist tail."

"There will never be enough money. Dead men don't vote."

"The bloody truth. So what's the topic of the day?" he wanted to know.

"Sexual homicide," I replied. "Specifically the role DNA can play."

"These dismemberments you're so interested in." He sipped tea. "Do you think they're sexual? I mean, would that be the motivation on the part of whoever would do this?" His eyes were keen with interest.

"It's certainly an element," I replied.

"But how can you know that when none of the victims has ever been identified? Couldn't it just be someone who kills for sport? Like, say, your Son of Sam, for example?"

"What the Son of Sam did had a sexual element," I said, looking around for my pathologist friend. "Do you know how much longer she might be? I'm afraid I'm in a bit of a hurry."

Shaw glanced at his watch again. "You can check. Or I suppose she may have gone on to the morgue. We have a case coming in. A young male, suspected suicide."

"I'll see if I can find her." I got up.

Off the hallway near the entrance was the coroner's court, where inquests for unnatural deaths were held before a jury. This included industrial and traffic accidents, homicides and suicides, the proceedings in camera, for the press in Ireland was not allowed to print many details. I ducked inside a stark, chilly room of varnished benches and naked walls, and found several men inside, tucking paperwork into briefcases.

"I'm looking for the coroner," I said.

"She slipped out about twenty minutes ago. Believe she had a viewing," one of them said.

I left the building through the back door. Crossing a small parking lot, I headed to the morgue as an old man came out of it. He seemed disoriented, almost stumbling as he looked about, dazed. For an instant, he stared at me as if I held some answer, and my heart hurt for him. No business that had brought him here could possibly be kind. I watched him hurry toward the gate as Dr. Margaret Foley suddenly emerged after him, harried, her graying hair disarrayed.

"My God!" She almost ran into me. "I turn my back for a minute and he's gone."

The man let himself out, the gate flung open wide as he fled. Foley trotted across the parking lot to shut and latch it again. When she got back to me, she was out of breath and almost tripped over a bump in the pavement.

"Kay, you're out and about early," she said.

"A relative?" I asked.

"The father. Left without identifying him, before I could even pull back the sheet. That will foul me up the rest of the day."

She led me inside the small brick morgue with its white porcelain autopsy tables that probably belonged in a medical museum and old iron stove that heated nothing anymore. The air was refrigerated-chilly, modern equipment nonexistent except for electric autopsy saws. Thin gray light seeped through opaque skylights, barely illuminating the white paper sheet covering a body that a father could not bear to see.

"It's always the hardest part," she was saying. "No one should ever have to look at anyone in here."

I followed her into a small storeroom and helped carry out boxes of new syringes, masks and gloves.

"Strung himself up from the rafters in the barn," she went on as we worked. "Was being treated for a drink problem and depression. More of the same. Unemployment, women, drugs. They hang themselves or jump off bridges." She glanced at me as we restocked a surgical cart. "Thank God we don't have guns. Especially since I don't have an X-ray machine."

Foley was a slight woman with old-fashioned thick glasses and a penchant for tweed. We had met years ago at an international forensic science conference in Vienna, when female forensic pathologists were a rare breed, especially overseas. We quickly had become friends.

"Margaret, I'm going to have to head back to the States sooner than I thought," I said, taking a deep breath, looking about, distracted. "I didn't sleep worth a damn last night."

She lit a cigarette, scrutinizing me. "I can get you copies of whatever you want. How fast do you need them? Photographs may take a few days, but they can be sent."

"I think there is always a sense of urgency when someone like this is on the loose," I said.

"I'm not happy if he's now your problem. And I'd hoped after all these years he had bloody quit." She irritably tapped an ash, exhaling the strong smoke of British tobacco. "Let's take a load off for a minute. My shoes are already getting tight from the swelling. It's hell getting old on these bloody hard floors."

The lounge was two squat wooden chairs in a corner, where Foley kept an ashtray on a gurney. She put her feet up on a box and indulged her vice.

"I can never forget those poor people." She started talking about her serial cases again. "When the first one came to me, I thought it was the IRA. Never seen people torn asunder like that except in bombings."

I was reminded of Mark in a way I did not want to be, and my thoughts drifted to him when he was alive and we were in love. Suddenly he was in my mind, smiling with eyes full of a mischievous light that became electric when he laughed and teased. There had been a lot of that in law school at Georgetown, fun and fights and staying up all night, our hunger for each other impossible to appease. Over time we married other people, divorced and tried again. He was my leitmotif, here, gone, then back on the phone or at my door to break my heart and wreck my bed.

I could not banish him. It still did not seem possible that a bombing in a London train station would finally bring the tempest of our relationship to an end. I did not imagine him dead. I could not envision it, for there was no last image that might grant peace. I had never seen his body, had fled from any chance, just like the old Dubliner who could not view his son. I realized Foley was saying something to me.

"I'm sorry," she repeated, her eyes sad, for she knew my history well. "I didn't mean to bring up something painful. You seem blue enough this morning."

"You made an interesting point." I tried to be brave. "I suspect the killer we're looking for is rather much like a bomber. He doesn't care who he kills. His victims are people with no faces or names. They are nothing but symbols of his private, evil credo."

"Would it bother you terribly if I asked a question about Mark?" she said.

"Ask anything you want." I smiled. "You will anyway."

"Have you ever gone to where it happened, visited that place where he died?"

"I don't know where it happened," I quickly replied.

She looked at me as she smoked.

"What I mean is, I don't know where, exactly, in the train station." I was evasive, almost stuttering.

Still she said nothing, crushing the cigarette beneath her foot.

"Actually," I went on, "I don't know that I've been in Victoria at all, not that particular station, since he died. I don't think I've had reason to take a train from there. Or arrive there. Waterloo was the last one I was in, I think."

"The one crime scene the great Dr. Kay Scarpetta will not visit." She tapped another Consulate out of the pack. "Would you like one?"

"God knows I would. But I can't."

She sighed. "I remember Vienna. All those men and the two of us smoking more than they did."

"Probably the reason we smoked so much was all those men," I said.

"That may be the cause, but for me, there seems to be no cure. It just goes to show that what we do is unrelated to what we know, and our feelings don't have a brain." She shook out a match. "I've seen smokers' lungs. And I've seen my share of fatty livers."

"My lungs are better since I quit. I can't vouch for my liver," I said. "I haven't given up whiskey yet."

"Don't, for God's sake. You'd be no fun." She paused, adding pointedly, "Course, feelings can be directed, educated, so they don't conspire against us."

"I will probably leave tomorrow." I got back to that.

"You have to go to London first to change planes." She met my eyes. "Linger there. A day."

"Pardon?"

"It's unfinished business, Kay. I have felt this for a long time. You need to bury Mark James."

"Margaret, what has suddenly prompted this?" I was tripping over words again.

"I know when someone is on the run. And you are, just as much as this killer is."

"Now, that's a comforting thing to say," I replied, and I did not want to have this conversation.

But she was not going to let me escape this time. "For very different reasons and very similar reasons. He's evil, you're not. But neither of you wants to be caught."

She had gotten to me and could tell.

"And just who or what is trying to catch me, in your opinion?" My tone was light but I felt the threat of tears.

"At this stage, I expect it's Benton Wesley."

I stared off, past the gurney and its protruding pale foot tied with a tag. Light from above shifted by degrees as clouds moved over the sun, and the smell of death in tile and stone went back a hundred years.

"Kay, what do you want to do?" she asked kindly as I wiped my eyes.

"He wants to marry me," I said.

* * * * * * * * *

I flew home to Richmond and days became weeks with the weather getting cold. Mornings were glazed with frost and evenings I spent in front of the fire, thinking and fretting. So much was unresolved and silent, and I coped the way I always did, working my way deeper into the labyrinth of my profession until I could not find a way out. It was making my secretary crazy.

"Dr. Scarpetta?" She called out my name, her footsteps loud and brisk along the tile floor in the autopsy suite.

"In here," I answered over running water.

It was October 30. I was in the morgue locker room, washing up with antibacterial soap.

"Where have you been?" Rose asked as she walked in.

"Working on a brain. The sudden death from the other day."

She was holding my calendar and flipping pages. Her gray hair was neatly pinned back, and she was dressed in a dark red suit that seemed appropriate for her mood. Rose was deeply angry with me and had been since I'd left for Dublin without saying good-bye. Then I forgot her birthday when I got back. I turned off the water and dried my hands.

"Swelling, with widening of the gyri, narrowing of the sulci, all good for ischemic encephalopathy brought on by his profound systemic hypotension," I cited.

"I've been trying to find you," she said with strained patience.

"What did I do this time?" I threw up my hands.

"You were supposed to have lunch at the Skull and Bones with Jon."

"Oh, God," I groaned as I thought of him and other medical school advisees I had so little time to see.

"I reminded you this morning. You forgot him last week, too. He really needs to talk to you about his residency, about the Cleveland Clinic."

"I know, I know." I felt awful about it as I looked at my watch. "It's one-thirty. Maybe he can come by my office for coffee?"

"You have a deposition at two, a conference call at three about the Norfolk-Southern case. A gunshot wound lecture to the Forensic Science Academy at four, and a meeting at five with Investigator Ring from the state police." Rose went down the list.

I did not like Ring or his aggressive way of taking over cases. When the second torso had been found, he had inserted himself into the investigation and seemed to think he knew more than the FBI.

"Ring I can do without," I said, shortly.

My secretary looked at me for a long moment, water and sponges slapping in the autopsy suite next door.

"I'll cancel him and you can see Jon instead." She eyed me over her glasses like a stern headmistress. "Then rest, and that's an order. Tomorrow, Dr. Scarpetta. Don't come in. Don't you dare let me see you darken the door."

I started to protest and she cut me off.

"Don't even think of arguing," she firmly went on. "You need a mental health day, a long weekend. I wouldn't say that if I didn't mean it."

She was right, and as I thought about having a day to myself, my spirits lifted.

"There's not a thing I can't reschedule," she added. "Besides." She smiled. "We're having a touch of Indian summer and it's supposed to be glorious, in the eighties with a big blue sky. Leaves are at their peak, poplars an almost perfect yellow. Maples look like they're on fire. Not to mention, it's Halloween. You can carve a pumpkin."

I got suit jacket and shoes out of my locker. "You should have been a lawyer," I said.

Excerpted from Unnatural Exposure by Patricia Cornwell. Copyright 1997 by Patricia Cornwell. Excerpted by permission of G.P. Putnam's Sons, a division of Putnam Penguin. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 94 )
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(53)

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(23)

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(12)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 95 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 13, 2012

    Excellent book .....A must read.

    Excellent book...keeps you in suspence!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 23, 2010

    Patricia Cornwell just keeps getting better.

    I read a lot of books and Patricia Cornwell is one author who is consistent and keeps my attention. I have a hard time putting down her books - any of them! This book is one more example of why she is one author I always find time for.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2004

    Terrific Cornwell again!!

    I've read several of the Kay Scarpetta books and loved them all! This one was unique in style and subject. I recommend it to anyone who loves a good mystery!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 4, 2014

    DON'T WASTE MONEY ON THIS BOOK. I FAST FORWARDED THROUGH THREE

    DON'T WASTE MONEY ON THIS BOOK. I FAST FORWARDED THROUGH THREE CHAPTERS AND DIDN'T MISS A THING. VERY REDUNDANT.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 18, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Chilling!

    This is the third book I have read in the Kay Scarpetta series by Patricia Cornwell. The plot was incredible, it kept me on the edge of my seat; a real page-turner! There is no way anyone would guess the outcome of this book, which is one of the things I admire so much about it. Another is how close the plot hits to home. Samples and such are sent through the mail to millions of people on a daily basis... what happened in this book could happen to anyone anytime.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2006

    Wow!

    This book has topped my list for my favorite Cornwell novels. To me, there was not a boring moment in this book. The end totally captivated me and I was stunned. One of the best books I've read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2014

    Deercloud to Rosepetal

    If I am not on at the tribe, tell me to get over there here.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2014

    C

    Suspenseful but a little graphic. Should i keep reading? Tell me your opinion right here!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2014

    Moon

    She shruggs and walks away.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2014

    Andrew

    Grabs a few gaterades

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2014

    Asylum

    Or a sense or spelling.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2014

    Cafeteria

    Big, room for everyone, etc.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2013

    Loved It!!!!!

    It was a great read. Couldn't put it down. I love the character of Kay Scarpetta. Not so much her niece Lucy. But I couldn't get to the end fast enough.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 16, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    Was as suspenseful as her other books. Enjoying the background of the characters.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2005

    Okay, but not great.....

    When I was asked to choose from four different popular authors in my English Lit class I chose the one I was most familiar with, which just so happened to be Patricia Cornwell. I looked up and checked out the first Cornwell book I found in the University Library and have to admit, I wasn't too excited about reading a contemporary ¿popular¿ novel out of a series. As I began to read Unnatural Exposure however, I started to feel as if I was in the novel. Cornwell does an excellent job of getting your attention from the beginning with an intense dilemma in the first chapter. Nevertheless the anatomical jargon during the autopsies was a little too much for me. Stick to simple, not effusive. Also, the characters were not given any personality development other than what you were left to imagine and in your mind, and conclude about them. She once again introduces herself in the first chapter, but doesn¿t reintroduce any of the other characters or the relationships between them. It was definitely a little sketchy; and of course as in all novelists¿ series, pretty predictable¿the main character always prevails one way or another. I have to hand it to Cornwell though, the plot was something you definitely didn't get in other popular novels, especially in a series. A biological disease as the killer¿s weapon is pretty original. All in all, it was a decent novel, but not one to keep on your bookshelf of favorites.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2004

    Scarpetta + smallpox = winning combination

    This was one of the more unique Scarpetta novels, and it didn't disappoint. Scarpetta is thrust into the investigation of a serial murderer who kills his victims and then dismembers them. One of the bodies is found to have been infected with smallpox. A gripping read, especially in light of the fact that a virulent outbreak probably could occur at any moment. Terrific novel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2003

    A Very Simple Read

    I think that if you like this type of writing, than you will enjoy this book. However, if you are looking for a book with depth...than this is not the book for you. A very quick read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2003

    The main mystery not answered at the end.

    Unnatural Exposure was a good read as all of Patricia Cornwell's promise to be. But, the question at the beginning of the book about who the serial killer was that began his/her killing spree in Dublin and came to the USA was not revealed.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2002

    First Cornwell Novel I Read!

    I recieved a copy of this book from my sister for my 16th birthday. I sat down and started to read it, then couldn't put it down. Ms. Cornwell has a talent for making her readers become part of the book and lives of the characters!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2002

    Pretty Good

    This was pretty good, really kept my attention all the way through from first page to the last, I almost wished this book didn't have to end!!!!!!Sad about Wingo though, also sad what Kay had to find out about Mark, maybe she'll feel better now.

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