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Postmortem (The Scarpetta Series Book 1) Kindle Edition

4 out of 5 stars 98 customer reviews

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Length: 356 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Cornwell, a former reporter who has worked in a medical examiner's office, sets her first mystery in Richmond, Va. Chief medical officer for the commonwealth of Virginia, Dr. Kay Scarpetta, the narrator, dwells on her efforts to identify "Mr. Nobody," the strangler of young women. The doctor devotes days and nights to gathering computer data and forensic clues to the killer, although she's hampered by male officials anxious to prove themselves superior to a woman. Predictably, Scarpetta's toil pays off, but not before the strangler attacks her; a reformed male chauvinist, conveniently nearby, saves her. Although readers may be naturally disposed to admire Scarpetta and find the novel's scientific aspect interesting, they are likely to be put off by her self-aggrandizement and interminable complaints, annoying flaws in an otherwise promising debut.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This award-winning novel based on Richmond's real-life "South Side Strangler" case introduced Virginia's chief medical examiner, Kay Scarpetta, and launched Cornwell's career. Narrator Lorelei King generally has a pleasant reading voice and uses good pacing to build suspense. However, this is not a successful merger of book and reader for American ears. Listeners may be confused to hear that Kay wears "cocky" (khaki), for instance, and accenting the second syllable of such words as modem and condom distract the listener from the story. Furthermore, the voices of supporting characters (such as Marino, a "stoopid" New Jersey cop, and Lucy, a fussy Southern child) are stereotypical. Fortunately, an unabridged version of Postmortem is available from several other producers, including Recorded Books (Audio Reviews, LJ 2/15/94). Not recommended.?Juleigh Muirhead Clark, Williamsburg, Va.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1590 KB
  • Print Length: 356 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; Reprint edition (Nov. 26 2009)
  • Sold by: Simon & Schuster Canada, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002YPORR6
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 98 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,517 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As I did with the Jack Reacher series a couple of years ago, I started with this, the first novel in the Scarpetta series when I decided to check out the much-lauded Patricia Cornwell. On the plus side, I read it through to the end without feeling polluted and brain damaged, which is something I cannot say about the Jack Reacher novel. However, Cornwell is clearly not a master of the English language or the novel, and her style became irritating by the midpoint of the book. I began to cringe every time I had to read once again how Scarpetta's various bodily organs reacted to this or that, and I found more than one sentence to be incomprehensible. I have no intention of reading another in the Scarpetta series any time soon, but I can imagine that I might one day try a later novel in the hope that Cornwell's skills have been honed. By contrast, I will never, never, NEVER read another book by Lee Childs. That one experience of Jack Reacher left me feeling poisoned and I still haven't recovered.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The women die on Saturday mornings. They die horrifically and seemingly randomly. They are brutalised and strangled in their bedrooms by an intruder. This is all that is known. This is how they die.
When newly installed Dr Kay Scarpetta, Chief Medical Examiner of Richmond, Virginia, gets a call at just after half past two in on Saturday morning, she knows even before she answers the phone that a fourth woman has died. Though deeply distressed at the actions of this latest devious, unfathomable serial killer, all Scarpetta herself can do for the victims is to let them speak through her to help catch he who is responsible. Diligently she performs her morbid task, investigating the bodies of the fatally wronged, even though not all are pleased that she occupies this job.
There's little doubt that this is one of the most successful debut novels of all time, winning a plethora of awards upon its release and still drawing people into the series even today, and I am sure it will continue to do so. It deserves too, as well. Post-mortem is a cunning, powerful, emotional and clever debut from a woman who is now the most successful (not to mention wealthy!) female crime writer in the world. With this book Cornwell pretty much created an entire new genre, and blew out the gates for a new generation of writers to follow her through. None of them are quite as good, though. None have ever matched the quality or the fascination of the so-well-described forensic detail, none have ever managed to create a more interesting and complete character than Scarpetta, who still develops to this day, thanks to Cornwell's ability to keep her series growing in different directions.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have come a little late to Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta series. (After all this book, the first in the series, was written 13 years ago). I regret that I have not delved into this series before this, but I'm certainly glad that I have found it now. This is a gangbuster of a book. It's so real, that it will keep you frightened well after you read the last page. Some of the information is a bit dated since it was written so long ago, but that does not hinder the suspense. For example, the computers in this book are many generations previous to what we have now. I'm sure that Ms. Cornwell's subsequent books have kept up with the technology changes, and I will certainly be finding that out since I intend to read every one. In this book we are introduced to Kay Scarpetta, County Medical Examiner in Virginia. She is on the track of a "Mr. Nobody" that has been raping and killing young women with increasing rapdity in her city. While she and the cop in charge of the case are closing in on the killer, she finds out that someone has been sabotaging her office. Is it the killer, or someone much closer professionally to her? This is a compelling tale, and I must admit that I had to read it at one sitting.
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This is the book that introduces us to Kay Scarpetta, Virginia's first chief medical examiner. She is a tough cookie, a woman in a "man's world" and somebody who doesn't take no for an answer.
The novel gets right into the action as Kay is awakened at night with a phone call from detective Moreno. It looks like a serial killer has struck again and Moreno immediately suspects the latest victim's boyfriend. Kay, meanwhile, is desperately looking at this from the forensic angle - what are the links, what is the mysterious glitter that's showing up, what motivates this killer.
Lurking in the background are the good old boys, desperate for results and desperate to pin the blame for any failures on someone. A female chief medical examiner might take the fall perhaps? Kay certainly finds that her ship is in danger of sinking - a misplaced file and her database hacked into are some of the problems showing up. Meanwhile she's not having the visit she hoped for from her niece who's bored and fed up of being ignored by her aunt, busy solving the mystery. She's a bit of a computer expert - could she have hacked in as revenge?
Kay has a love interest too - in fact, one of the good old boys. But is he really on her side? Cornwell handles all of the various threads going on very well. As usual with this genre you can argue about whether the infighting is really that brutal, whether the sexism is really that ingrained. To me it doesn't matter, it doesn't dominate but it does provide additional tensions that help rather than hinder.
Fans of Kathy Reichs may get a sense of deja vu. Cornwell was first, though, and at least in this book handles some of the issues better. Although both characters rather overstep the boundaries of their jobs, Kay does so less than Tempe Brennan, the heroine of Reichs' novels. If you are a fan of Reichs, I think you will enjoy Postmortem immensely. And even if you're not, you will still get plenty of pleasure from this novel!
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