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Point of Origin: Scarpetta (Book 9) (The Scarpetta Series) Kindle Edition

3.2 out of 5 stars 440 customer reviews

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Length: 420 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Virginia's chief medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta is getting ready for a romantic holiday with her retired-FBI-profiler boyfriend, Benton Wesley, when she receives a cryptic and foreboding letter: "Hey DOC, Tick Tock, Sawed bone and fire," it begins. Even more creepy, the taunting note has been signed by Carrie Grethen, the psychotic killer Kay helped send to a psychiatric facility for going on a murder spree with Temple Gault in Cornwell's earlier book Body Farm. Benton believes that Grethen--who also happens to be the former lover of Scarpetta's niece Lucy--has big plans for a comeback. And before Kay and Benton can leave for their trip and discuss it further, Scarpetta is called upon to don yet another professional hat, that of a "consulting forensic pathologist" for the federal government. Someone has burned a highfalutin horse ranch and all of its contents, including a human being, to the ground. Worse, Grethen has escaped and is on the loose and closer to Kay and her beloved than she knows. Point of Origin, the ninth Scarpetta thriller, is classic Cornwell: rich with detail and strong dialogue, and doused with harrowing twists.

From Publishers Weekly

Cornwell fans who relish her Kay Scarpetta stories for the postmortem findings will welcome this tale of twisted minds and the gory havoc they cause. Acronym fans will also be pleased. This tale opens with the complete destruction by fire of a Virginia horse farm, the owner of which was said to be in London. As consultant to the FBI and the ATF's NRT (that's the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms' National Response Team), Scarpetta joins the investigation on site and discovers some remains of a young woman in the master bath. Although the origin of the fire remains a mystery, research turns up two similar unsolved incidents from years earlier, female victims who were dead before the accompanying conflagration. Another fire disguising another murder, and the escape of Carrie Grethen, evil woman partner of Scarpetta's now dead archenemy Temple Gault, from a New York City hospital for the criminally insane, ups Scarpetta's anxiety level about both her beloved, brilliant niece, Lucy, who was seduced by Grethen in The Body Farm, and her lover, psychological profiler Benton Wesley. A third fire covers a third personally devastating death before Scarpetta is able to finger Grethen's new diabolical partner and survive a harrowing finale in a helicopter. Although Cornwell repeatedly tells us how anxious, strung out or devastated Scarpetta feels in the face of Grethen's evil threats, there's very little dramatization of these powerfully emotional conditions. The author is convincing mainly in the delivery of chilling forensic details. One million first printing; $750,000 ad/promo; Literary Guild, Doubleday Book Club and Mystery Guild main selections; simultaneous Putnam Berkley audio.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 979 KB
  • Print Length: 420 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; Reprint edition (Aug. 1 1999)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group USA
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000OIZV16
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars 440 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #99,910 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Warning, some of this may be a spoiler.
The book is full of stereotypes. The young brilliant lesbian helicopter pilot/computer genius/cop. The male slob police captain. The overweight public defender who could have used a bra and is Jewish to boot (it apparently doesn't occur to Cornwell that some people who are accused are innocent, or that everyone has the right to counsel so defense counsel are all villains in her view. Racially stereotyped villians.)
Worse than that, the plot doesn't hold water. A foal survives a fire in the stable. A lot is made of that early in the book. Then it's dropped. An escaped mental patient is able to follow and anticipate Scarpetta's every move. How did that happen? Worst of all is the stupidity of the police. A horse ranch burns. A burned car is found on the premises. A body that does not belong to the ranch or the car is found in the bathroom. The owner of the ranch early on tells Scarpetta who the person killed likely is. No attempt is made, apparently, to trace this woman's life or look for connections (such as did anyone she know own such a car) for a few weeks until Scarpetta goes out and does it herself. In fact no one ever attempts to find out who the car belongs to until it just happens that, when they find who the killer is they realize (wow!) that, hey -- this person owns that type of car. But, of course, if the police had any sense and, in investigating a murder by arson looked for who owned the car that didn't belong there, they would have found the killer in a few hours and this long book would have ended without the endless whining of Scarpetta about the state of the world and how horrible it is that people are in it that cause her to do what she does for a living.
But of course, it's hard to credit the criminal genius Scarpetta is pursuing with being diabolically clever when that person leaves an auto at the scene of the crime.
Give me a break!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read a lot of the reviews for this book, and I really don't agree with most of them. I think that this book is an extremely good example of Ms. Cornwell's chilling writing. The dialogue and the plot are crisp and the detail is incredible. We find out a lot about fire investigation in this book. Yes, I admit Ms. Cornwell does get rather graphic and "over-the-top" in her violence, but that is what makes a Kay Scarpetta book so Unputdownable. I do agree with others, that readers must read this series in order. A lot of what happens in each book is a take off from what happened in a previous one. It would be confusing if you started partway through. Also, the character development progesses with each book, so the reader needs to get inside Kay's head and see things in the way she would have. In this book, we see a previous villain come back to haunt Kay and the people that she loves. Kay is called in to a fire investigation where a body is found burned beyond recognition. The more she digs into the case, the more disturbed she becomes and she realizes that she is dealing with true monster who probably had committed many murders before this one. Also, the more she digs, the more it becomes apparent that an old nemesis (Carrie Grethen) is somehow behind these terrible crimes. Her, Benton, Lucy and Marino set out to find a killer and one of the truly evil people that she has ever encountered. Before the final twist of the plot at the end, Kay suffers a very personal tragedy. We will have to read how that has affected her in the next installment.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Like many popular novels, this one is an easy and fairly quick read despite the fact that Cornwell often gives way too much detail and information in places. Near the beginning of this work she introduces a manager at a local motel that has red hair and a cat named "Pickles". She tells us why the cat is named Pickles, and if I could ask her, I'd wonder why she bothered. Somebody apparently likes Vidalia onions too, so what? I think some of the attention to detail, like what's for dinner and what color a meaningless characters shirt is, could have been left out.
Cornwell does a good job of back story and I was surprised to find that a character from 'All That Remains', the only other novel of hers I've read, had died off in one of the previous books. By the end of this one, I decided that there was a plot line that Cornwell doesn't seem to escape from; Scarpetta is a bit of a loner and lots of her friends die including one in the the book I just mentioned. I suppose it propels readers into the next book, who will die next? But I find it too contrived. I never liked the premise of that tv show 'Murder She Wrote' either, how many people have someone around them get murdered all the time?
In 'All That Remains' we have too many coincidences. Perhaps that is often how crimes are solved, through lucky breaks and the like, but here it was too much. And I really didn't care for the ending, it was too sudden and didn't have much suspense. It seemed like she decided it was time to end the book, so the killers just showed up and started shooting.
Another complaint I have is simply that she leaves some issues unresolved.
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