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Dust [Hardcover]

Patricia Cornwell
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Nov. 12 2013 A Scarpetta Novel (Book 21)
From the world’s number-one bestselling crime writer comes the extraordinary new Kay Scarpetta novel. 

Massachusetts Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta has just returned from working one of the worst mass murders in U.S. history when she’s awakened at an early hour by Detective Pete Marino.

A body, oddly draped in an unusual cloth, has just been discovered inside the sheltered gates of MIT and it’s suspected the identity is that of missing computer engineer Gail Shipton, last seen the night before at a trendy Cambridge bar. It appears she’s been murdered, mere weeks before the trial of her $100 million lawsuit against her former financial managers, and Scarpetta doubts it’s a coincidence. She also fears the case may have a connection with her computer genius niece, Lucy.

At a glance there is no sign of what killed Gail Shipton, but she’s covered with a fine dust that under ultraviolet light fluoresces brilliantly in three vivid colors, what Scarpetta calls a mineral fingerprint. Clearly the body has been posed with chilling premeditation that is symbolic and meant to shock, and Scarpetta has reason to worry that the person responsible is the Capital Murderer, whose most recent sexual homicides have terrorized Washington, D.C. Stunningly, Scarpetta will discover that her FBI profiler husband, Benton Wesley, is convinced that certain people in the government, including his boss, don’t want the killer caught. 

In Dust, Scarpetta and her colleagues are up against a force far more sinister than a sexual predator who fits the criminal classification of a “spectacle killer.” The murder of Gail Shipton soon leads deep into the dark world of designer drugs, drone technology, organized crime, and shocking corruption at the highest levels.

With unparalleled high-tension suspense and the latest in forensic technology, Patricia Cornwell once again proves her exceptional ability to surprise—and to thrill.

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Product Details

Product Description


“When it comes to the forensic sciences, nobody can touch Cornwell.”

The New York Times Book Review

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.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back to Basics Nov. 12 2013
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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Off her mojo Nov. 22 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have read better from Cornwell. Agree with previous reviewers that this meanders on and on with minimal content to keep you engaged. I'm used to reading Cornwell and finishing it in one day as I get lost in the story and can't put it down. Just couldn't get into this novel as there was so little forensics and crime solving and too much emotional rambling.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It was okay Jan. 5 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
I used to be a total fan of these books and couldn't wait for a new one to come out. Then I thought that Patricia Cornwell had lost her way with the last few and had stopped reading them. A relative was reading Dust and said that he thought she was back on form and so I gave it a go. I was disappointed to be honest. Far too much introspection and soul searching for me, too much looking back and nowhere near enough cooking - no I mean that seriously lets be honest the cooking was a great part of the fun in the older books and apart from a couple of mentions which I think were put in there as a sop to past readers there was a dearth of delicious Sicilian food.

It was okay but I can't say I was thrilled with it. Sorry Ms Cornwell.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dust- Patricia Cornwall Jan. 28 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Main characters were way over the top....seriously...so deep and troubled and wounded...it's like us poor pathetic every day people have no idea how traumatizing it is to be so intelligent, edgy and so in tune with ourselves and the ones we love...........
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It was okay Jan. 7 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It sure wasn't up to snuff with Patricia Cornwell's other books but of course I like the characters and nice to have another book. The sentences run on, some aren't even sentences, and many don't even make sense. Looks like some were cut and not pasted correctly. This is an editing problem and perhaps in an effort to get the book out, the editing was overlooked. Other than the literary short-falls the book kept me interested and entertained.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars GOOD...BETTER...NOT BEST Nov. 25 2013
By little lady blue TOP 500 REVIEWER
I'd like to give 3-1/2 stars because this Scarpetta novel is far better than the last 2 or 3 but still cannot match the very early ones.

A modicum of conflict is integral to a story and it is a testament to how well Ms. Cornwell writes that the unpleasant conflicts with those nearest to her in her recent books is so alive it jumps right off the page. But like everything else in life you can have too much of a good (or bad) thing! Unfortunately, as a reader, it makes me very uncomfortable.

In `Dust' Scarpetta seems not as at odds with Benton and Lucy but she persists in treating Marino like an oaf. It does not make for good reading. Relationships, it appears, is not Ms. Cornwell's strong suit in her writing.

By the end of the book everything appears to be hunky-dory with everyone but I'm left with a bitter taste in my mouth from the unpleasantness that has preceded.

That Ms. Cornwell has used Newtown as a backdrop in this book was unfortunate to say the least. From her views expressed we gather that she is appalled at the tragedy and means no disrespect but it does not alleviate how uncomfortable it is to deal with it in a work of fiction at this point in time.

I continue to read these books because Ms. Cornwell does manage always to produce a good suspense/mystery story and I do enjoy the forensic aspects that she puts forth.
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5.0 out of 5 stars What can I say? May 13 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Cornwell once again hits it out of the park with her awesome characters and plots. I can't wait for the next book!
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5.0 out of 5 stars great March 26 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
great book i love marino benton lucy and kay. i hope we get to read more soon. my favorite author more more more please
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