Book of the Dead : Scarpetta

  • by Patricia Cornwell
  • Narrated by Kate Reading
  • Series: Scarpetta
  • 13 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The "book of the dead" is the morgue log, a ledger in which all cases are entered by hand. For Kay Scarpetta, however, it is about to take on a new meaning. Fresh from her bruising battle with a psychopath in Florida, Scarpetta decides it's time for a change of pace. Moving to Charleston, South Carolina, she opens a unique private forensic pathology practice, one in which she and her colleagues, including Pete Marino and her niece, Lucy, offer expert crime-scene investigation and autopsy services to communities lacking local access to competent death investigation and modern technology. It seems like an ideal situation, until the new battles start: with local politicians, with entrenched interests, with someone whose covert attempts at sabotage are clearly meant to run her out of town. And that's before the murders and other violent deaths even begin. A 16-year-old tennis star, fresh from a tourament win in Charleston, is found nude and mutilated near Piazza Navona in Rome. The body of an abused young boy is discovered dumped in a desolate marsh. A woman is found ritualistically murdered in her multimillion-dollar beach home. Meanwhile, in distant New England, problems with a prominent patient at a Harvard-affiliated psychiatric hospital begin to hint at interconnections that are as hard to imagine as they are horrible. Scarpetta has dealt with many brutal and unusual crimes before, but never any as baffling, or as terrifying, as the ones confronting her now. Before she is through, that book of the dead will contain many names - and the pen may be poised to write in her own.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

RIP Kay Scarpetta

Patricia Cornwell continues her downhill slide in this latest Kay Scarpetta novel. All the characters we grew to care about in the earlier books - Scarpetta, Wesley, Pete, and Lucy - continue to revel in anger, jealousy, and pettiness. The writing is turgid and repetitive, the conversations between characters is often sophomoric, and the third person narrative only serves to push the characters away. I so enjoyed Cornwell's earlier efforts. This book was a real disappointment.
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- Jennifer

A Rare Occurrence

It's rare for me not to finish a book. Even more rare, not to get past the prologue. The opening sequence of this book was so distasteful, I stopped listening, and can't muster the interest or enthusiasm to continue past it. Although the Scarpetta novels aren't for the faint of heart or weak of stomach, and I've read most of them, this one struck me as offering up horrific brutality simply for the sake of sensationalism, or, perhaps, to see how far her readers are willing to follow her.

I heard a spoiler for the book on Good Morning America, from Cornwell herself. I won't repeat it here, but I had misgivings about the book based on the revelation. The opening sequence clinched it; this is definitely not a book I'm going to return to in the near future.

As a Cornwell/Scarpetta fan, I'm disappointed in the trends of the last few books, and most disappointed in this latest offering. I recognize the author's license to do as she pleases with her characters and stories, but I'm afraid I can't follow her on this one. I'll be more cautious about the next book as well, if there is one.

One last point: the title has been used for another book, recently published, and for other titles in the more distant past. Is the inability to conceive of a more original title an indication that this line of books is played out?
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- Eva Gannon

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-23-2007
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio