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It is New Year's Eve, the last day of Virginia's bloodiest year since the Civil War. Dr. Kay Scarpetta plunges into the murky depths of a ship graveyard to recover the very human remains of Ted Eddings, an investigative reporter. What kind of story was Eddings chasing below the icy surface of the Elizabeth River? And why did Scarpetta receive a phone call from someone repo It is New Year's Eve, the last day of Virginia's bloodiest year since the Civil War. Dr. Kay Scarpetta plunges into the murky depths of a ship graveyard to recover the very human remains of Ted Eddings, an investigative reporter. What kind of story was Eddings chasing below the icy surface of the Elizabeth River? And why did Scarpetta receive a phone call from someone reporting the death before the police were notified? She soon discovers that Eddings' murder is merely the first layer of something much deeper --- a labyrinthine conspiracy that will put all of her criminal and forensic knowledge to the test like never before. For Scarpetts, the real challenge won't be cataloging the growing number of dead bodies, but preventing herself and those she loves from becoming the next victims.


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It is New Year's Eve, the last day of Virginia's bloodiest year since the Civil War. Dr. Kay Scarpetta plunges into the murky depths of a ship graveyard to recover the very human remains of Ted Eddings, an investigative reporter. What kind of story was Eddings chasing below the icy surface of the Elizabeth River? And why did Scarpetta receive a phone call from someone repo It is New Year's Eve, the last day of Virginia's bloodiest year since the Civil War. Dr. Kay Scarpetta plunges into the murky depths of a ship graveyard to recover the very human remains of Ted Eddings, an investigative reporter. What kind of story was Eddings chasing below the icy surface of the Elizabeth River? And why did Scarpetta receive a phone call from someone reporting the death before the police were notified? She soon discovers that Eddings' murder is merely the first layer of something much deeper --- a labyrinthine conspiracy that will put all of her criminal and forensic knowledge to the test like never before. For Scarpetts, the real challenge won't be cataloging the growing number of dead bodies, but preventing herself and those she loves from becoming the next victims.

30 review for Cause of Death

  1. 4 out of 5

    James

    Book Review Cause of Death is the 7th book in the "Kay Scarpetta" thriller and mystery series by award-winning author Patricia Cornwell. I've read about 2/3 of the series and now returning to write reviews on everything I've read in the hopes it'll push me to pick up the series again in the coming weeks. For those new to the series, Scarpetta is a Virginia-based medical examiner, but eventually she moves around a bit over the course of the 20+ book series. She's sharp, witty and tough. Book Review Cause of Death is the 7th book in the "Kay Scarpetta" thriller and mystery series by award-winning author Patricia Cornwell. I've read about 2/3 of the series and now returning to write reviews on everything I've read in the hopes it'll push me to pick up the series again in the coming weeks. For those new to the series, Scarpetta is a Virginia-based medical examiner, but eventually she moves around a bit over the course of the 20+ book series. She's sharp, witty and tough. She's had strong ties with the police and the FBI, as well as been on the outs with them over her career. She's been the targeted victim by a few of the serial killers she's helped to trap and capture. She's not married for most of the books, but has a boyfriend for a while. Her niece Lucy helps her solve crimes on occasion. And her cop friend Pete Marino was in love with her at one point. Some of this may have changed after book 13/14 when I temporarily stopped. I stopped because I felt like I needed a new character to focus on, a different set of stories in a different place, but they are still all generally good books. Cause of Death was one of the average books. Scarpetta's involved in more intrigue than usual, with international situations, and she's also filling in for a fellow ME on New Year's Eve when she is summoned to look at a dead body. The funny thing... she knows about it before the police do. Now who is after her? There are multiple story angles in this one, and Cornwell got too technical for me. I love to learn when I read, but I also don't want to have to look stuff up in an encyclopedia or online. By today's standards, some of this is more common knowledge, but over a decade ago, she was ahead of the curve. While still a good story, it's not my favorite and I wouldn't recommend this one to start with if you're interested in the series. About Me For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you'll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I've visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. [polldaddy poll=9729544] [polldaddy poll=9719251]

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tara

    So much for the books getting better, I guess I spoke too soon! In this book Dr. KS is filling in for an out of town medical examiner. Then she's scuba diving (because she's certified because Dr. K can do anything), then her niece is crying and drinking and crying and what? And then the Libyan’s kill Doc Brown to steal his plutonium so Marty McFly takes off with the time machine thanks to the flux capacitor... Oh wait.. well, it was something like that. It was like she took everything that was s So much for the books getting better, I guess I spoke too soon! In this book Dr. KS is filling in for an out of town medical examiner. Then she's scuba diving (because she's certified because Dr. K can do anything), then her niece is crying and drinking and crying and what? And then the Libyan’s kill Doc Brown to steal his plutonium so Marty McFly takes off with the time machine thanks to the flux capacitor... Oh wait.. well, it was something like that. It was like she took everything that was sort of timely at the moment she was writing- middle east, nuclear weapons and David Koresh and tossed it all in a blender and tried to make a plot out of it. The plot needed a ton of explaining and at the end it was like she realized that so she just stopped writing to save herself the trouble. Because there is no other reason for that abrupt ending. The characters are going downhill fast. Seriously- Lucy is a mess and there is no way she passed any sort of psych eval to get into the FBI. I mean I've been saying it for a while, she is a little crazy-cakes. Why would the government let her carry a gun? Kay is the most unsympathetic character ever. I'm over her affair and I'm really over Benton. The best character the series has is Marino, and that doesn't say much. He has a mystery son, and a heartbreaking love for Kay (that she shits on whenever possible) and he is trying to kill himself with food and cigarettes to get out of this series. I can't say I blame him...

  3. 5 out of 5

    C.

    I am an incongruous Patricia Cornwell fan. A medical examiner who occasionally describes autopsies, asks for thicker skin than my most frequent reading choices. Standard mystery is my milieu, literally in the middle. The family feel of Kay Scarpetta’s inner sanctum: computer-pro niece Lucy, chief of police friend Pete, and FBI director boyfriend Benton and the caring, professional leadership of her morgue staff, allow familiarity to build in their off-putting job field. Crime is my least favouri I am an incongruous Patricia Cornwell fan. A medical examiner who occasionally describes autopsies, asks for thicker skin than my most frequent reading choices. Standard mystery is my milieu, literally in the middle. The family feel of Kay Scarpetta’s inner sanctum: computer-pro niece Lucy, chief of police friend Pete, and FBI director boyfriend Benton and the caring, professional leadership of her morgue staff, allow familiarity to build in their off-putting job field. Crime is my least favourite mystery device, so the unexplained circumstances of a drowned journalist in scuba gear, propelling the major part of “Cause Of Death”, generated a puzzler closer to the intrigue I like better. Ted Eddings’ interest in a decommissioned navy wharf was odd. Base personnel forcing Kay to exert her authority to investigate was unsettling and the extended absence of the morgue manager she was replacing in that town, was puzzling. The novel shifted to Ted’s interest in a cult and police-grade weapons at his home. A whole other tone enters, when the out-of-town morgue assistant is murdered on his way to Kay’s office. It matches the intrigue at the wharf. There is recognisance of explosives, which unnerve Pete. Finally, Lucy’s investigation of an FBI internet infiltration intersected with Kay’s case, which I found implausible. In the late chapters, a joint law enforcement sting of a terrorist holdup, was a stretch too far in a novel already saturated with a variety of angles. It changed the pace of the novel from mystery suspense, to a police action thriller. It was far less compelling and didn’t belong to the story I started. The weakest point is that Ted’s girlfriend could reveal a lot, if Kay pressed his Mother to name her. This is my least favourite case but I am undaunted about enjoying the series overall.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    Cornwell continues the Scarpetta series with another great mystery that will keep the reader on the edge of their seat. When Scarpetta receives an odd phone call on New Year's Eve about a body, she is left to wonder what to do, as little information is provided to her. Only later do authorities call her to seek help and they deny anyone would have contacted Scarpetta before. As she is covering for one of her regional medical examiners, she is faced with a new cast of characters while on the scen Cornwell continues the Scarpetta series with another great mystery that will keep the reader on the edge of their seat. When Scarpetta receives an odd phone call on New Year's Eve about a body, she is left to wonder what to do, as little information is provided to her. Only later do authorities call her to seek help and they deny anyone would have contacted Scarpetta before. As she is covering for one of her regional medical examiners, she is faced with a new cast of characters while on the scene. What looks like a diving accident gone wrong soon unravels into a larger mystery with deeper implications. How does a local Zionist movement tie into all of this and what can Scarpetta do to solve this before the bodies begin to pile up? Cornwell treats the reader to another great installment of the Scarpetta series sure to keep her fans happy and add more to the list. Cornwell's ability to think up new scenarios surely keeps the character fresh and ever-evolving. She has a way of adding layers rather than piling on to already known facts, which surely keeps the avid reader liking the always-expanding character of Dr. Kay Scarpetta. With dry wit and excellent dialogue, the reader will laugh, gasp, and perhaps even cry as they join Scarpetta on this and other mysteries. Kudos Madam Cornwell on this excellent piece of work!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Bex

    Avoid at all costs! I would love to never have to read another page of conversation between Lucy and Kay. It drove me crazy and was endlessly irritating. I also have a hard time believing in a main character who committed affairs with married men. How am i ever supposed to believe what she says after that? Marino was cool and funny too. He is the only character worth anything in the story. The first half of the book was great and built up nicely. But the second half of the book was horrible and Avoid at all costs! I would love to never have to read another page of conversation between Lucy and Kay. It drove me crazy and was endlessly irritating. I also have a hard time believing in a main character who committed affairs with married men. How am i ever supposed to believe what she says after that? Marino was cool and funny too. He is the only character worth anything in the story. The first half of the book was great and built up nicely. But the second half of the book was horrible and it has one of the worst endings in the history of books. It left me laughing it was so bad.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Baz MW

    I'm usually such a fan of the Scarpetta series but this one just fell short for me. The beginning started well and there were promises of darkness and disturbing characters but then it seemed to lose its way. Starting like a Horror it developed into a James Bond. While Cornwell's writing is excellent as always, the action wasn't consistent, most secondary characters came and left without explanation and the darkness that often surrounds the Scarpetta investigations was minimal. I'm not sure if Corn I'm usually such a fan of the Scarpetta series but this one just fell short for me. The beginning started well and there were promises of darkness and disturbing characters but then it seemed to lose its way. Starting like a Horror it developed into a James Bond. While Cornwell's writing is excellent as always, the action wasn't consistent, most secondary characters came and left without explanation and the darkness that often surrounds the Scarpetta investigations was minimal. I'm not sure if Cornwell is moving in a new direction with this one (will see in the next book), but I found myself having to persevere during some points because it strayed quite a bit from our expectations of Scarpetta. 6.5/10 (3 Stars)

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    SPOILERS!!! 2/4 - This took me more nights to finish than I expected, I thought I'd get it done in two nights of reading, unfortunately sleep decided to kidnap me a few nights in a row and I just couldn't manage as many pages as I was expecting to. I'm starting to find the 'kill Scarpetta's staff' theme a little tedious, working for her is becoming a dangerous occupation. I remembered the fact that among all of Scarpetta's other accomplishments she's also a certified scuba diver and I remembe SPOILERS!!! 2/4 - This took me more nights to finish than I expected, I thought I'd get it done in two nights of reading, unfortunately sleep decided to kidnap me a few nights in a row and I just couldn't manage as many pages as I was expecting to. I'm starting to find the 'kill Scarpetta's staff' theme a little tedious, working for her is becoming a dangerous occupation. I remembered the fact that among all of Scarpetta's other accomplishments she's also a certified scuba diver and I remembered that Lucy and her robot dog saved the day, what I didn't remember was the uranium-stealing terrorist angle of the story. That's possibly because it was only mentioned near the end of the book and that end felt rushed. I felt like this could have been 50 pages longer in order so that the climax didn't end up feeling like an anticlimactic after-thought, rather than the big reveal it should have been. This is the last book in my mini Scarpetta marathon, for the moment at least. If I want to complete my challenges for the year (POPSUGAR and the one I set to read as many of the books I already own as possible) I have other books I need to get on with, I can't spend the rest of the year just reading Scarpetta. Well, I probably could but I don't think it's recommended with Cornwell as you begin to notice the flaws too easily if you read her books one after another till the end, plus I wouldn't feel like I've accomplished something I've set out to do the way I will if I finish this year's POPSUGAR list.

  8. 5 out of 5

    _inbetween_

    She reached the stage where it's so bad you laugh - it might not be a happy laugh, not even a very amused one, but you'll have to by the time it needs the state coroner to say "he ain't dead" instead of a more convincing actress. I regret that my reviews for the last four books run into each other, mostly because I wish I'd been able to make detailed notes (esp. since I'll have to get rid of these pretty volumes). This is the worst so far - it ends with IloveLucy and her aunt saving the world (a She reached the stage where it's so bad you laugh - it might not be a happy laugh, not even a very amused one, but you'll have to by the time it needs the state coroner to say "he ain't dead" instead of a more convincing actress. I regret that my reviews for the last four books run into each other, mostly because I wish I'd been able to make detailed notes (esp. since I'll have to get rid of these pretty volumes). This is the worst so far - it ends with IloveLucy and her aunt saving the world (aka USA) with a toy robot and some bad stoic acting. Even the only man that was interesting then caves in. Maybe he'll die between this book and the next? Seriously, terrorists and religious fanatics and all they are used for is for Lucy to move her hand and her aunt to visit a few laboratories she had not found a good excuse to describe so far. She does not even try to give excuses why generally considered crap Marino is involved anymore. I obviously already forgot if there was any plot, apart from the usual taking taxis and airplanes back and forth - but the little pointless showdown at the atomic reactor was the stupidest low point so far. I think. Don't remind me of others - see, the worst bit is that apart from four more KS I also have one more of the less beloved series that I found so interesting - and now it seems I was wrong, what seemed a refreshing and sharp meta text was perhaps really her utter inability to write stories and evolving human beings *sob* *must stop typing* the end.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lobstergirl

    There are some garish tidbits in this crime novel - a homicide victim whose urethra empties on the underside of his penis rather than the tip - but the whole thing is semi-interesting at best, and I truly became bored when domestic terrorists, inspired by a David Koresh-type leader and attempting to sell decomissioned submarines to Libya, took over a nuclear power plant. It was as if Tom Clancy had taken over writing duties, but a Tom Clancy obsessed with sullen lesbian FBI agents. (Ladies: why There are some garish tidbits in this crime novel - a homicide victim whose urethra empties on the underside of his penis rather than the tip - but the whole thing is semi-interesting at best, and I truly became bored when domestic terrorists, inspired by a David Koresh-type leader and attempting to sell decomissioned submarines to Libya, took over a nuclear power plant. It was as if Tom Clancy had taken over writing duties, but a Tom Clancy obsessed with sullen lesbian FBI agents. (Ladies: why so hostile?) Cornwell's characters have too many failed marriages, family issues, adulterous liaisons, and erectile dysfunction to sustain my empathy. Also, how is it that main character Kay Scarpetta, a medical examiner, seems to be directing the whole police investigation? Another bone to pick: the cover photo is of a diver in crystal clear blue water, but the only diving that goes on in the book is in brown murky water where Scarpetta can't see her hand in front of her face. She also quotes Luke 23:22 at the front of the book, because, conveniently, she found a bible verse that matches her title: "And he said unto them the third time, Why, what evil hath he done? I have found no cause of death in him." [She leaves out this part: "I will therefore chastise him, and let him go."] But of course what Pilate is saying there is that he hasn't found good reason to condemn Jesus to death, not that he's examined Jesus's dead body and can't determine what killed him. Beyond stupid.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sherri F.

    Audio version: 3 to 3.5 stars - #7 in Dr. Kay Scarpetta series I started off really liking this series, but the more I've read (esp. several back-to-back in a short time), I've become more frustrated or disappointed in several of them, including this one. The audio might have magnified it some. I'm not sure if KS was written a little harsher in this one or if some of that was the audio's narrator. I've read most of the others prior to this & the one audio had a different narrator, which was a muc Audio version: 3 to 3.5 stars - #7 in Dr. Kay Scarpetta series I started off really liking this series, but the more I've read (esp. several back-to-back in a short time), I've become more frustrated or disappointed in several of them, including this one. The audio might have magnified it some. I'm not sure if KS was written a little harsher in this one or if some of that was the audio's narrator. I've read most of the others prior to this & the one audio had a different narrator, which was a much better KS. I started off liking this one just b/c setting was a little different and finally not about Gault/Grethen as the 3 previously installments were, and for me it was getting old. However, not only did I begin to lose interest in the plot, but the sub-plot was so repetitive of several previous installments--KS still worrying about Lucy & complaining to anyone, including bosses, who would listen; someone else in law enforcement being crooked but turning it around & either making her look bad or outright accusing her; one of her staff being killed; all four main characters, despite different careers/orgs, miraculously all being assigned or working on same case, investigation or operation. Then it abruptly ended w/little to no wrap-up which is pretty unusual for this author/series so maybe was trying something different or she was as ready as I was for it to be over. There are still some positives esp. considering when they were written & published. I hope some of the newer installments are better and fresher.

  11. 4 out of 5

    TheMadHatter

    Aussie Readers Reading Challenge 2019: MARCH: A book that starts with the letter "C" I am continuing my re-read of the Scarpetta series. I haven't picked these books up for over 20 years and they have sat on my bookcase staring out wanting desperately for someone to read them. I am finally re-reading them and then passing them on to the second hand book shop (a book has one function - to be read and read often....keeping these as "ornaments" for over 20 years makes me feel very guilty). Parting w Aussie Readers Reading Challenge 2019: MARCH: A book that starts with the letter "C" I am continuing my re-read of the Scarpetta series. I haven't picked these books up for over 20 years and they have sat on my bookcase staring out wanting desperately for someone to read them. I am finally re-reading them and then passing them on to the second hand book shop (a book has one function - to be read and read often....keeping these as "ornaments" for over 20 years makes me feel very guilty). Parting with this book is unfortunately not a hard task as this has been my least favourite book in the series so far. The mystery is convoluted and not overly logical (mainly because it is dealing with fanatics and tries to cram in too many topical (for the time) issues with nuclear weapons, fanatics, Libya etc. Also it is the book where Kay and Lucy and Wesley are all in bad places in terms of relationships and all are remarkably unlikable. The whole book is rather quite miserable and unfortunately was a bit of a slog to read. Thank-god for Marino who just brought authenticity and joy to every scene he was in. Time to dust off book #8 now. Farewell book #7 may you find a brand new reader out there to embrace you...

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Carlson

    The thing to remember when reading fiction; latitude is a given. The more flawed a character is the more threads of a storyline are available. Dr. Scarpetta is a thriving type A personality who works in a man's world. Her impressions are going to be different and thankfully she is emotional. I have said and continue to think she's an extension of what Patricia Cornwell is like and I find that continually compelling. She gets involved in multiple things in this book just like the novels that have The thing to remember when reading fiction; latitude is a given. The more flawed a character is the more threads of a storyline are available. Dr. Scarpetta is a thriving type A personality who works in a man's world. Her impressions are going to be different and thankfully she is emotional. I have said and continue to think she's an extension of what Patricia Cornwell is like and I find that continually compelling. She gets involved in multiple things in this book just like the novels that have preceded it; The introduction of Lucy's personal life and her sexuality is wonderful. Everyone seems to think she would never be allowed to be an FBI agent but I'm not so sure; there are plenty of CIA/FBI agents who have a very messy private life. Genre fiction is supposed to introduce a pattern and may have a surprise twist at the end. A side note; if you read the introduction Cornwell states how uncomfortable she was with diving and never fully embraced it. Let's give Cornwell some credit in her 7th novel as she uses the gift fiction writers are known for; imagination.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Megargee

    If you are a fan of this series you may like this. Or not. This book appears to be an episode in a continuing story arc for the main characters, none of whose issues really engaged me. The main character, Va. Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta, wonders why other characters from other agencies are hostile and uncooperative. I suspected it was because of Scarpetta's own arrogance and unprofessional behavior as she intrudes on investigations that are out of her jurisdiction and job description. This i If you are a fan of this series you may like this. Or not. This book appears to be an episode in a continuing story arc for the main characters, none of whose issues really engaged me. The main character, Va. Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta, wonders why other characters from other agencies are hostile and uncooperative. I suspected it was because of Scarpetta's own arrogance and unprofessional behavior as she intrudes on investigations that are out of her jurisdiction and job description. This is especially true when she tries to shield her niece, an FBI agent, from possible danger instead of letting her do her job. (Spoiler alert.) However, after jetting on the Concorde to London with her (married) boss to interview a suspect (and have a quickie) Kay belatedly discovers the uncooperative officers are linked to the bad guys. Belatedly because by this time the cult's terrorists have taken over a nuclear power plant and threaten to irradiate half of Virginia unless, guess who, Kay can save the day. The book ends with a bang leaving enough loose ends to manufacture a mop.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Susan Robby

    I couldn't help but get immersed in this book. Literally, a diver gets killed and the action takes place in Norfolk Va, my old stomping grounds! It moves around VA... Chesapeake, Richmond, Back Bay and of course the US Navy is involved. I am an old Navy brat! I live on the opposite side of the country, now. So, I have to admit that some of my enjoyment of this book had to do with personal nostalgia. However,the female medical examiner/detective named Scarpetta was really well portrayed as the pr I couldn't help but get immersed in this book. Literally, a diver gets killed and the action takes place in Norfolk Va, my old stomping grounds! It moves around VA... Chesapeake, Richmond, Back Bay and of course the US Navy is involved. I am an old Navy brat! I live on the opposite side of the country, now. So, I have to admit that some of my enjoyment of this book had to do with personal nostalgia. However,the female medical examiner/detective named Scarpetta was really well portrayed as the protagonist that does not give up. This book led me to read another Scarpetta detective novel, "Predator." Equally as good but takes place in Florida.

  15. 5 out of 5

    AC Squared Book Blog

    This book was just missing an ending. We had this huge long lead up that was AMAZING. It ended just so abruptly that I felt jipped. This story was so unique and had so many different layers that it made it so addicting! I truly think this could have been a 5+ star book if it had a more finished end. Kay really put herself out there at a completely different level in this one. It was really exhilarating!! I loved seeing so much more of Lucy and Janet too. Their part in Kay’s life is so crucial, s This book was just missing an ending. We had this huge long lead up that was AMAZING. It ended just so abruptly that I felt jipped. This story was so unique and had so many different layers that it made it so addicting! I truly think this could have been a 5+ star book if it had a more finished end. Kay really put herself out there at a completely different level in this one. It was really exhilarating!! I loved seeing so much more of Lucy and Janet too. Their part in Kay’s life is so crucial, so I love that Lucy is in this book more. I also loved seeing this more vulnerable side of Marino too, it was interesting to see!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ro

    This was my first Patricia Cornwell novel, and having worked in forensics for a few years, I was excited to finally delve into one of her novels. Apparently, I chose the wrong book. I found the plot moderately interesting, but the writing style habitually annoyed me. And I didn’t particularly love the main character. Maybe if it was written in the third person, I would have liked her better. But instead I found her a little arrogant. While I enjoy a strong female lead, KS’s self-confidence came o This was my first Patricia Cornwell novel, and having worked in forensics for a few years, I was excited to finally delve into one of her novels. Apparently, I chose the wrong book. I found the plot moderately interesting, but the writing style habitually annoyed me. And I didn’t particularly love the main character. Maybe if it was written in the third person, I would have liked her better. But instead I found her a little arrogant. While I enjoy a strong female lead, KS’s self-confidence came off as too much to me. Finally, I found the ending anti-climactic and abrupt. I may try again with an earlier KS novel, because millions of readers can’t possibly be all wrong.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Bookish Enchantment (Katherine Quirke)

    I love Kay Scarpetta, so independent and seemingly fearless yet human and intelligent. Not as racy as some of the others in the series I still found the book incredibly enjoyable and fast paced.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jonas

    :' - i

  19. 5 out of 5

    Honeythief

    Patricia Cornwell's Scarpetta novels were something of a guilty pleasure for me during the '90s. Enjoyable and addictive page-turner crime thrillers with a generous helping of pathology and forensic science detail, which appealed to my otherwise dormant inner science geek. But by this stage in the series - Cause of Death is the 7th Kay Scarpetta novel - Cornwell had well and truly lost the plot, both figuratively and literally. At her best, Cornwell had always written rather plodding, uninventive Patricia Cornwell's Scarpetta novels were something of a guilty pleasure for me during the '90s. Enjoyable and addictive page-turner crime thrillers with a generous helping of pathology and forensic science detail, which appealed to my otherwise dormant inner science geek. But by this stage in the series - Cause of Death is the 7th Kay Scarpetta novel - Cornwell had well and truly lost the plot, both figuratively and literally. At her best, Cornwell had always written rather plodding, uninventive prose, but as the series progressed any pretence at literary merit flew out of the window along with her dictionary. And the plots managed the seemingly impossible feat of becoming both formulaic and at the same time ludicrously outlandish and unbelievable. While it might be true that writing series genre fiction is by its nature inherently formulaic, I'm not sure the formula should be quite so transparent and simplistic as it is here and in the subsequent Scarpetta novels. Paul Sheldon's "No. 1 fan", Annie Wilkes, might have kidnapped the author in Misery in order to ensure that he didn't kill off his heroine, Misery Chastain, and thus end the series, but I'd be willing to bet that even the most ardent of Cornwell's fans would be more inclined to hold her hostage in order to prevent her from churning out any more of this bilge. If you're new to reading Cornwell my advice would be to start with her first novel, Postmortem, read the series in chronological order and stop while the going is still reasonably good. And whatever you do, don't touch the Judy Hammer/Andy Brazil books (Hornet's Nest, Southern Cross etc.) with a ten foot barge pole. Unfortunately for me, a fondness for Scarpetta's unfeasibly sexy FBI/ATF agent lesbian niece, Lucy Farinelli, has kept me plodding doggedly through the novels well after their prime. But now, thanks to a timely intervention in the form of Lucy's rather out of character sexual preference U-turn, even I've been freed from my addiction to this tosh.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Milley

    It seems churlish to give this a 2 since it opened so well. The first 80 pages were excellent. Spoilers. I have read a lot of mysteries with female protagonists. I enjoyed reading about their solo independent professional lives. i started reading these when i was about 10-15 years younger than the characters and now i am 10-15 years older. Luckily I feel like i have accomplished some measure of the same in that time! yikes! this one was different in that it gave or showed very little of that lif It seems churlish to give this a 2 since it opened so well. The first 80 pages were excellent. Spoilers. I have read a lot of mysteries with female protagonists. I enjoyed reading about their solo independent professional lives. i started reading these when i was about 10-15 years younger than the characters and now i am 10-15 years older. Luckily I feel like i have accomplished some measure of the same in that time! yikes! this one was different in that it gave or showed very little of that lifestyle/character. This is the first of this character that i have read so perhaps the earlier novels covered that. (Actually i don't think it is the first one. I think i have tossed this series/character before...the name kay scarpetta seems familiar). thanks for the lasagna lesson. using the word lasagne (plural form of lasagna since you use more than one noodle.) just came across as pedantic. and then the novel plunged into ridiculousness... On what planet would Kay be in charge of any deaths caused by a similar attack in another country? All of a sudden things went from a local death to an international incident where she was the expert due to very limited involvement in one death. and the Navy and FBI seemed to already know everything and be on top of everything. why was she there? and OMG OMG why would she be onsite at the end and go in with her niece who is junior? The niece controls the robot but no programming skills help you be a good person the ground like that. Its like the beginning and the ending weren't part of the same novel. The attackers were supposed to be so sophisticated and they turned into total duds. And why would they sell to a foreign power? If they dont like the American govn why would they like giving power to authoritarian North Korea? or whoever. It was a weird book in that the ending that was supposed to be a crescendo to climax instead turned into a ridiculous obvious conclusion. Oh and ah poor Kay felt faint.....cue curtains... I will try one more but will read reviews first and see how others felt...

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kavita

    I give up! I picked up about 50 books on a sale a couple of weeks ago and this was the first book I chose to read and it proved to be a bad start. I simply don't care about Kay Scarpetta, her colleagues, the murderers or the victims. The book is full of technical stuff, sometimes purposely inserted. Does the ordinary public even care about the make of guns or what the occipital bone is or how exactly a naval boat operates? I found myself skipping these parts and soon enough got hopelessly lost b I give up! I picked up about 50 books on a sale a couple of weeks ago and this was the first book I chose to read and it proved to be a bad start. I simply don't care about Kay Scarpetta, her colleagues, the murderers or the victims. The book is full of technical stuff, sometimes purposely inserted. Does the ordinary public even care about the make of guns or what the occipital bone is or how exactly a naval boat operates? I found myself skipping these parts and soon enough got hopelessly lost because among the endless technical jargon was some minor plot development. There is zero character development and I came away with the feeling that they were all zombies in the pay of the American government, hired to solve crimes. I think the author is so taken with trying to impress readers with her research that she forgot to show her writing skills. I would not recommend this book to anyone unless this kind of stuff interests you: "Land impressions are point oh-seven-four. Groove impressions are point one-five-three. I'm going to enter that into the GRC. Now let's determine the calibre." And then a long discussion on the calibre follows. And so on. No, just no.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    I thought this book started out really well. It got me hooked and reminded me how much I used to love reading this series. And then it just went downhill. For starters, I’m over her niece Lucy and her tortured, genius soul. Maybe if Kay would stop treating her like she’s five years old and trying to control her every move she could put her big girl panties on and get over it. My other issue is how involved do medical examiners usually get in their cases? She was basically in the Situation Room gi I thought this book started out really well. It got me hooked and reminded me how much I used to love reading this series. And then it just went downhill. For starters, I’m over her niece Lucy and her tortured, genius soul. Maybe if Kay would stop treating her like she’s five years old and trying to control her every move she could put her big girl panties on and get over it. My other issue is how involved do medical examiners usually get in their cases? She was basically in the Situation Room giving out orders. Really? Seems like there would be MANY more qualified people running the show. I would have only given the book one star but the first 3/4 of it was actually really good. I’m not going to let this book stop me from reading the rest of the series, but if the next couple are like this one, I’m tapping out.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Li'l Owl

    Plot was still excellent but the Kay Scarpetta character is depressing which really distracted me from enjoying it as much as the previous books in this series.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Brent Soderstrum

    This is the 7th book of Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta series. Things and characters don't seem to change from the previous books. Kay is still messing around with a married Wesley. Marino is still very needy and Lucy is a gifted messed up young lady. Oh, and Cornwell doesn't know how to end a story. Once again the story starts out strong and by the end we are left shaking our heads. It goes from a murder of an investigative reporter to hostages being taken at a nuclear facility and Virginia being thr This is the 7th book of Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta series. Things and characters don't seem to change from the previous books. Kay is still messing around with a married Wesley. Marino is still very needy and Lucy is a gifted messed up young lady. Oh, and Cornwell doesn't know how to end a story. Once again the story starts out strong and by the end we are left shaking our heads. It goes from a murder of an investigative reporter to hostages being taken at a nuclear facility and Virginia being threatened with nuclear destruction. All in about 25 pages. There is no really progression to this. All of a sudden the killer of a reporter is a religious nut job and his cult who are selling nuclear material to other countries out to get the US. Come one. Don't take a good story and try to take it to a global level. That fails. I so enjoy her tales till she tries to make it climactic with little or no lead up. Just use a twist at the end that leaves the reader saying "wow" to themselves.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Beverly

    The main character, Kay Scarpetta is chief medical examiner for the Commonwealth of Virginia. In this seventh in the series by Patricia Cornwell, she's covering for the Tidewater area ME and has to perform an autopsy on an AP reporter she liked. Finding out what killed him and why leads to several other deaths. Seems they're related to a cult and plutonium. Scarpetta is an interesting character. She's mostly all business and deals with male antagonism routinely and impatiently. And she loves and The main character, Kay Scarpetta is chief medical examiner for the Commonwealth of Virginia. In this seventh in the series by Patricia Cornwell, she's covering for the Tidewater area ME and has to perform an autopsy on an AP reporter she liked. Finding out what killed him and why leads to several other deaths. Seems they're related to a cult and plutonium. Scarpetta is an interesting character. She's mostly all business and deals with male antagonism routinely and impatiently. And she loves and is protective of her brilliant niece Lucy, now 23 and working for the FBI.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Baba

    Invariably with almost every single detective crime series, bar Ian Rankin's Rebus, there comes a book in the series, where a shark is jumped, and to all purposes it looks like it was written to a deadline... and unfortunately this 7th book in the series has done it for Kay Scarpetta for me... despite some great ongoing story arcs, a superb supporting cast and some cool forensic investigations. Cultists! Nuclear Weapons! Libya! Dearie me! 2 out of 12.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia Sillitoe

    This is the weirdest place I’ve ever seen a mystery writer go and that’s saying a lot.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Chalchihut

    Here we go again... I bought the whole series for a cheap deal (although it didn't end there since she writes a Scarpetta book per year!) and I intend to finish the series. I really do and I am not comfortable with my stupid ambition, because this is going nowhere. The book itself might worth 2-stars, but in the series it was the weakest one so far. I like detective stories even though I'm not an eager follower, and I really like the forensic details in this series. Yet the very perfect Scarpetta Here we go again... I bought the whole series for a cheap deal (although it didn't end there since she writes a Scarpetta book per year!) and I intend to finish the series. I really do and I am not comfortable with my stupid ambition, because this is going nowhere. The book itself might worth 2-stars, but in the series it was the weakest one so far. I like detective stories even though I'm not an eager follower, and I really like the forensic details in this series. Yet the very perfect Scarpetta knows everything, which enhances her unsympathetic character let alone the incredibility of the story. I pictured her different this time and my version of Scarpetta is much better. Personality development is essential in books, but here it goes way too far, covering the action and aim of a detective story. Because of the personal ups and downs of the characters, the drama takes its toll and nothing left for the murders to be solved. Not to even mention the "template" Cornwell is using: same old thing in every book; someone close to Scarpetta gets killed and Scarpetta saves the world again! The book is a page turner, has an easy language, but boring. The end of the book was one of the worst endings I've ever read. I thought some pages were missing because of the abrupt end. I think this New-Zionist stuff was too much in sight in the late 90s, so Cornwell just wanted to use them in her book and she didn't have anyone to talk about her lesbianism, therefore she just wanted to communicate about her personal rights through troubled characters. I only hope that Lucy and Scarpetta are going to be more lovable so that I can stand the same old template, but after seven books, I feel nothing but dissapointed. PS: The age correlation between Lucy and Kay is giving me a headache.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jak

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I started reading the Kay Scarpetta books ‘cos a friend of mine is addicted to them. I’ve been really patient and read seven of them but can’t fathom what it is she gets out of them. The plot always moves painfully slowly and the reactions of the protagonists never seems real. The relationships false and strained because nobody will actually talk to each other properly. Any issues is avoided and now says what they really think. And some of the plot twists have been utter garbage. In this book yo I started reading the Kay Scarpetta books ‘cos a friend of mine is addicted to them. I’ve been really patient and read seven of them but can’t fathom what it is she gets out of them. The plot always moves painfully slowly and the reactions of the protagonists never seems real. The relationships false and strained because nobody will actually talk to each other properly. Any issues is avoided and now says what they really think. And some of the plot twists have been utter garbage. In this book you have KS stands in for one of her local colleagues who is out of town and is immediately at odds with various police/military none of whom she ever takes to task despite being this fiercely strong and independent woman. She then goes scuba diving, a skill which I don’t remember ever being pointed out in the first six books and investigating the death of a local reporter she knows. Before she’s even established it was a murder she’s being stalked, had her tires slashed and a local cop hassling her. Where did all this come from? A colleague of her is the murdered and it’s all tied in some how. As the boredom unravels it all turns out that a local religious cult has got into bed with the Libyan’s to help them get plutonium to build nuclear weapons. Quite why this is wasn’t clearly explained. Anyway, the cult take over a nuclear plant and after their charismatic leader (who you never actually meet) accidently kills himself only KS can enter the plant to save the day. Well, KS and the virtually controlled robot Toto (controlled by KS’s niece Lucy). And before you can so much as start to expect an explanation and tying up of the myriad of lose ends the whole thing ends. No more Cornwall for me.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Charlynn

    In Cause of Death, Cornwell immediately dives into her heroine's latest case and mystery. And, yes, that is a pun, because the first victim is found submerged in a river, and Kay joins the diving team in recovering the body. While everyone wants to rule the death a drowning, the tell-tale scent of arsenic informs Kay that the case is anything but an accident; rather, it's a murder. And that's just the start of a mystery which ends up touching close to home for Virginia's Chief Medical Examiner a In Cause of Death, Cornwell immediately dives into her heroine's latest case and mystery. And, yes, that is a pun, because the first victim is found submerged in a river, and Kay joins the diving team in recovering the body. While everyone wants to rule the death a drowning, the tell-tale scent of arsenic informs Kay that the case is anything but an accident; rather, it's a murder. And that's just the start of a mystery which ends up touching close to home for Virginia's Chief Medical Examiner and then spirals out of control into a national terrorist crisis. This is perhaps Kay's most dangerous case yet. While Kay's niece Lucy, all her technology jargon, and all of her emotional baggage are still front and center in this novel, Cause of Death does not get bogged down too much in its subplots. The personal is present, but it's blended well into a mystery which starts fast and never lets up. Despite the presence of nuclear science, the clues in this book are accessible for the average reader, for they're more about the people and the psychology involved than anything else. What is not relatable is Kay's insistence upon inserting herself into dangerous situations and getting herself into messes she has no business becoming involved in. But perhaps this is why these books work so well, why they're so fun to read: while you and I have no business negotiating with terrorists, through Cornwell's Scarpetta, we can live an adrenaline packed existence... at least for a few hours – vicariously, of course.

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