Dust (Kay Scarpetta Series #21)

Dust (Kay Scarpetta Series #21)

by Patricia Cornwell
3.4 282


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Dust (Kay Scarpetta Series #21) by Patricia Cornwell

The new Kay Scarpetta novel from the world's #1 bestselling crime writer. 

After working one of the worst mass killings in U.S. history, Scarpetta returns home to Cambridge, Massachusetts. Exhausted and ill, she’s recovering at home when she receives an unsettling call. 

The body of a young woman has been discovered on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's rugby field. The victim, a graduate student named Gail Shipton, is oddly draped in unusual cloth and posed in a way that is too deliberate to be the killer's first strike. A preliminary examination in the sea of red mud where the body has been left also reveals a bizarre residue that fluoresces blood red, emerald green and sapphire blue.

Physical evidence links the case to a series of uniquely weird homicides in Washington, D.C., where Scarpetta's FBI husband has been deployed to help capture a serial killer dubbed the Capital Murderer.

The cases all connect and yet seem to conflict. Gail Shipton was murdered for financial gain—or was she? It will require the usual ensemble of characters to find out the truth, including Scarpetta's sidekick Pete Marino, who has undergone a drastic change in his life that places him center stage in a Cambridge investigation that puts everyone at risk. 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780399157578
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/12/2013
Series: Kay Scarpetta Series , #21
Pages: 512
Product dimensions: 6.62(w) x 9.38(h) x 1.85(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

PATRICIA CORNWELL’s most recent bestsellers include The Bone Bed, 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.


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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Dust 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 282 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Waited a year for her next book after 20 very good books. I'm not sure what happened in Dust but she got so wrapped up in details and flaunting her knowledge of medical science she forgot about the story. We bounced across many years, many crimes, many rights and wrongs, and somewhere we lost the story. Finally in the last 60 pages she decides it's time to close the case....bang, we're done. Horrible read. Very difficult to stay tuned in.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is Patricia Cornwell at her finest in pulling in her readers attention.   From the beginning when Scarpetta has just returned from a horrific shooting in Connecticut, which continues to haunt her, to a phone call from Marino concerning a shooting and the mysterious person in her back yard.  Who is he and what does he want? All of the main characters are in this book: from Benton with his extraordinary profiling skill at getting in touch with the minds of a murderer to Marino who has returned back to his usual gruff talking machismo strutting cop ways then on to Lucy with her defiant attitude towards authority and rules to Scarpetta with her unquestionable ability to help solve murders through forensics and add in Bryce, Scarpetta's admin, who provides just the right touch of humor and you have the makings for a powerful must read book.  I could not put this book down until I finished it.  Now, I will reread it for some of the finer points that I may have missed the first time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I stopped reading Patricia Cornwell after Blowfly. I don't know what happened to her but her books and writing style are just horrible now.  I am surprised she is selling any books at all anymore.  Such a huge and disappointing difference from early scarpetta (before last precinct) to now. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am having trouble getting into the last few books of Kate Scarpetta. Her character defends those who hurt her the most. This cannot be realistic. The relationships Scarpetta has with all the other characters is tedious. I may not finish this one, and probably won't bother with any more. Pete Morino needs to go away.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I look forward to reading Patricia Cornwell's books, but was disappointed in this one. I finished it quickly, but that was because I didn't want to drag on reading it like the book was dragging on. There is way too much time spent on descriptions of things that really have no relevance to the story. The story itself was very short and with a quick conclusion like her books have had as of late. I found the use of the Sandy Hook trauma to be in poor taste and reprehensible.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the worse book I have ever tried to read. Too many words, uninteresting storyline. If I could give NO stars I would, but gave 1 because the author took the time to write it. I'm sooooo disappointed. A total waste of money. I usually read a book of this size in 1 day. It took me almost 2 weeks, and I still could not finish it. DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY!!! I want a refund!
Catcat More than 1 year ago
I'm only 50 pages in and I am most disappointed. The mass murders at Sandy Hook should not be used as a part of any novel. Shame on you Cornwell.
SleeperRD More than 1 year ago
Wonderful read, Cornwell continues to dazzle us with her detailed crime scenes and vivid descriptions of places in, and around Cambridge MA. The first person point of view puts us in the mind of our heroine, Kay Scarpetta, as she takes us through the scene of several gruesome murders. Dust keeps you guessing right up until the end, wondering who you can trust, from the jogger in the park to the FBI. Scarpetta, along with her usual gang, let the dead do the talking in order to solve the crime. Another hit for Patricia Cornwell
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a return to the strong writing and characters of Cornwell's work, and we'll worth reading.  I so much wish, however, that she had resisted using the Sandy Hook shootings for a commercial purpose.  This aspect of the book is in poor taste.
C_Vanderlee More than 1 year ago
Patricia Cornwell's 21st novel Dust is a return to all the things that made the Scarpetta series great. As with past books Cornwell subtly and smoothly incorporates current technology into the storyline. The reader is given a taste of this in Dust when a droid cell phone mixes into the crime scene and when Scarpetta uses cutting edge technology to autopsy the victim - technologies that may seem far-fetched to readers but that are actually currently being used in real life. The plot is an intricate web of Scarpetta, Benton, Lucy and Marino working to solve the crime as FBI hands of corruption reach out and try to stop the wheels of justice. This brings Benton into the foreground and we get a glimpse into his world as he struggles to work against the FBI and solve the case at hand. Nothing is left out in Dust and character relationships are again at the forefront of this book. Marino's new position has shifted the dynamics between him and other characters making everyone cautious around him. Lucy is her usual strong-willed self and this time becomes embroiled in the case at hand. And Cornwell finally reveals more information about Scarpetta's husband Benton Wesley. The reader now sees a new depth to Benton, has a better understanding of how he works and ultimately gains insight about his important role in Scarpetta's life. (I thoroughly enjoyed this aspect of Dust.) Scarpetta is more like she was in the earlier books of the series and drives the story forward. Strong-willed, independent minded and protective of her family and friends, she carefully yet deliberately works the crime scene, slowly sorting through all the clues which ultimately leads to the case being solved. As I like to give a balanced review I will mention that in a couple of spots I felt the story slowed down a little bit - but all in all I thoroughly enjoyed Dust. It even had the added surprises of Scarpetta revealing secrets from her past and of meeting her mother. If you are a fan of the Scarpetta series this one will hit the spot!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can't believe anyone actually read this to the end. It was so bogged down with details I doubt were necessary, that I quit half way thru.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A terrible Scarpetta, Cornwell has continued her downward spirall. Don't waste your time a lot better books out there!!
JD-LEESBURG More than 1 year ago
Worst Scarpetta novel yet ! To much extra detail , that has nothing to do with anything. read the last 50 pages to read the book and skip the extra BS. 
AHHP More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be boring and tedious.  I am a huge PC fan but this book went into too many details and had very little plot.  If someone were a new reader of PC, they would hve no idea abouth the personalities of the main characters who are usual outstanding .  I had a hard time finishing this book.  Usually I read hers non-stop.  What a disappointment
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am usually a big big fan. I ve read every.book of hers. But the last few are just not very good. They seem to heavy on prose and character development is non existent. Lucy seems like a stereotype. No substance. Benton has no real interactions with his wife to feel their relatonship. Just disappointed. I wanted to.love it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stopped reading and skipped to end. Boring and repeats of prior books. Will finally have to stop buying her books, sadly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is my least favorite book in the Kay Scarpetta series.  It dragged on and didn't hold my interest at all.  I was disappointed but love Patricia Cornwell's books overall.  This one was just a snore.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Was disapointed not up to ptevious boooks
LesLC More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed Dust. It's the 21st book in the Scarpetta series. Ms. Cornwell has a way of transporting her readers into her stories, and her characters are like visiting with old friends. Her attention to forensic details and her character driven story lines keep Ms. Cornwell on my must read list.
cloggiedownunder More than 1 year ago
Dust is the twenty-first book in the Kay Scarpetta series by American author, Patricia Cornwell. A few days before Christmas, Kay is woken at 4am by Pete Marino, no longer in her employ but back with the Police Force of Cambridge. A body, posed, wrapped in a white sheet, on the playing fields at nearby MIT. From the photos Marino sends her, Kay immediately sees features common to several victims of a serial killer, cases in Washington DC being investigated by the FBI, about which she has learned from Benton. Social media are already buzzing with speculation, and then Benton is dropped in by Lucy’s helicopter, a surprise return from DC. For readers who have not yet, after twenty instalments, abandoned Kay Scarpetta, it’s more of the same: Pete Marino continues to be his same, obnoxious self; Lucy, lawless Lucy, still exempting herself from laws the rest of America has to obey, and ignoring any person’s right to privacy; Benton, silent, enigmatic and deep, when he chooses to share at all; and Kay, superior as always, persists with her self-righteous whining at every opportunity. There is actually a decent murder mystery in there somewhere, and, if only it were not excessively diluted by the minutiae of everyday life, this could have been an enjoyable read. There is plenty of politics, paranoia and corruption, and some interesting information on trace evidence and autopsy, but the endless repetition blunts the effect. Why Cornwell chooses to pad out her stories with all this mundane detail (Kay: I remember to take off my coat and I place it in my lap) is perhaps more of a mystery than the identity of the serial killer. The banter between the characters, which might be fun if they were still somewhat appealing (they no longer are), sounds wooden. Seriously, who would actually say “I’ll get the evidence to the labs expeditiously”? Cornwell takes almost five hundred pages to painstakingly (some would say painfully) detail about twenty hours of Kay Scarpetta’s life. No doubt there are still die-hard fans who pay full retail for each hardback as it appears, but by this time many readers will be refusing even charity store prices or library copies, and saving their precious reading time for something better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Why in the world did she have to use Sandy Hook in the start of this novel? That is still too fresh in all our minds. I was so looking forward to this book. However, this spoiled the book before I read it. Shame on you for trying to make money on other peoples grief. Did she stop to think that maybe one of the parents was going to read it? A fictional account of that time is horrible.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Almost forgot, Benton is starting to be an insufferable, egotistical boor. I suppose the writer was attempting to create an air of mystery about him but instead, he comes across like the kid no one like in school who grew up to be a.....yes, a spoiled brat with an impeccable wardrobe.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is terrible! I have read all of Cornwell's books and this is just plain bad. Bad plot, bad writing and horrific editing. The editor should have sent Cornwell back to the drawing board after she read this. I think Cornwell needs to go back and reread her early work. Stop trying to impress with big words and fancy medical jargon and just focus on your characters and where they are going. Time to go back to the beginning and refocus. This reader will give you one more shot and then I am giving up on you. It has been a demise coming for a while and you just hit rock bottom. Get it together!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very difficult to follow or enjoy. she is all over the place i struggled to finish this one
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I agree with anonymous' remarks written on Nov 17, 2013. This was one of the slowest, boring reads of the past decade. Save your money!