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Cause of Death: Scarpetta (Book 7) (Kay Scarpetta) by [Cornwell, Patricia]
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Cause of Death: Scarpetta (Book 7) (Kay Scarpetta) Kindle Edition

3.0 out of 5 stars 110 customer reviews

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Length: 336 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

From Amazon

Patricia Cornwell's heroine Dr. Kay Scarpetta is back; this time to solve the mystery of the death of an Associated Press reporter who was killed while nosing about in a decommissioned navy yard. Scarpetta's involvement in the case leads her to be targeted for murder herself by a nasty little neo-fascist cult with delusions of grandeur that include a plan to "kill and maim, frighten, brainwash and torture" all who oppose their plan to rule the world. Helping Scarpetta is her niece Lucy, an F.B.I. agent whose computer expertise leads to a heart-stopping journey into cyberspace.

From Publishers Weekly

First, the good news: the omni-competent Kay Scarpetta is back, along with her sidekicks, in a murder mystery that's tighter than her last escapade, From Potter's Field. Chief medical examiner for the state of Virginia and an FBI consultant, Kay finds ample opportunity to demonstrate her skills in the autopsy room and outside it, too: here, she also dives with a Navy SEAL rescue squad and, through her computer-genius niece Lucy, an FBI agent, takes an up-close-and-personal look at a robot operated via virtual reality. But there is bad news: the work lacks the extraordinary, can't-go-to-bed-til-you're-finished suspense of Cornwell's earlier novels, e.g. Cruel and Unusual. The killers here, members of a nihilistic, fascist cult who think their founder akin to God, are identified early on but never developed as characters. Their crimes, while heinous, don't baffle and tease the reader (or Kay) in the manner of the villain Temple Gault, who was dismissed in the last book. While Cornwell's authoritative presentation of forensic sleuthing, FBI procedures and high-tech crime-fighting compensates mightily for the overneat dovetailing of characters' paths and even the implausible role Kay plays in the climax, the hurried, almost slapdash pace of the climactic scenes is disappointing from so accomplished a writer. But even at less than her best, Cornwell remains a master of the genre, instilling in readers an appetite that only she can satisfy. One million first printing; $750,000 ad/promo; Literary Guild, Mystery Guild and Doubleday Book Club main selections.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 931 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0399141707
  • Publisher: Berkley (Sept. 1 1997)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group USA
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000QFCFI4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars 110 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #80,160 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I haven't read ALL of the books in the "Scarpetta" series, but I've gone through my fair share. This one ranks last in that list.
The "book" is used more as a vehicle to develop the characters in the series, than as a story that can stand on its own. There seems to be no true plot, and it is almost predictable... a "typical" ending except in this case the "bad" guy is nowhere to be found throughout the whole book, so you end up with this totally off feeling that you've just wasted your time in trying to put some thought into figuring the "mystery" out. Aside from all of this, in this particular story Scarpetta is closer to the female version of James Bond than in any of her other stories... man this girl can do it all, knows it all and can take on a heard of rhinos all by her self.... too much.
I like to be challenged by a story, not to be fed a pointless story because she had to write 'x' many books to fulfill a publisher's contract. This is what this book is, no less, no more.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I always liked the old Jack Klugman TV show, "Quincy," so I figured that murder mysteries centered around a forensic pathologist's work would be interesting. This is what Patricia Cornwell offers, so I picked up *Cause of Death* and read it during a recent vacation trip (fortunately for me, I was able to check it out from the library).
After finishing the book, I figure the author needs to change her name to "Patricia Cornball." Aside from the sometimes interesting material on forensic pathology, this is thin fare, folks. What starts out as a reasonably intriguing mystery spins out of control over the final hundred pages into a ridiculous, soap operatic, thwarted made-for-tv movie script. The ending is one of the worst I have encountered in decades of reading fiction.
Aside from Marino, the characters overall are uninteresting (Scarpetta's niece Lucy is just plain horrible); the "romantic interest" is annoying and unconvincing; and the "factual content" aside from pathology (about which I know nothing so I cannot be sufficiently critical) is sloppy. For example, in asking for a Nikon camera, protagonist Kay Scarpetta asks for the one "with the single-reflex lens." Say, what? We're also informed that exposure to uranium is not harmful (tell that to the hundreds of former uranium miners who have developed cancer).
Overall, this is a book that only diehard fans of Ms. Cornwell will enjoy.
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Format: Hardcover
I have read all of Cornwell's books and can now honestly say I am deeply depressed by the author's galloping ego. Lucy irritates me endlessly. Her relationship with Kay bounces back and forth with remarkable clarity however. It's perhaps the most convincing relationship in the series. I hate Kay's affair with Benton Wesley with a passion. Not only is it contrived and embarrassing - how can he be so ethical and yet so base? It would have been far more interesting to team up Scarpetta and Marino. I love Marino. He's so real, I can practically see the egg stains on his tie. Benton, clearly modelled on John Douglas, the former charismatic head of the FBI's Investigative Support Unit, has lost something in the translation. He has become quite improbable since he took up with Kay. Why oh why did Cornwell bump off the boyfriend Mark? And this I think is the crux of the problem. Firstly, we are told of Mark's death in an earlier book - in the past tense! We are not allowed to really share her agony, even though we by now, care deeply about Kay Scarpetta. In Cause Of Death, Cornwell pulls the same stunt. We have to wait for nearly 100 pages to see Benton and Kay together - and we learn, they've been split up for months! Quite conveniently, Benton is getting a divorce - at his long suffering wife's request. I guess Cornwell got stung by so much criticism of the extra-marital affair. In the context of the books, it seems highly unlikely Connie Wesley would really run off with another man, but okay, I'll rent the idea for now. Still, the medical aspects of the books continue to inspire, in spite of the laughable, clunky final set pieces.. A nuclear power plant? Please! I miss the earlier Kay back in Richmond with her squirrel and no-life. This one is too Cosmo, too Rambo-lina. However, the earlier diving sequences are fun and the locations as usual, make me jealous as a writer. Cornwell has been there, done that. I can't wait for the next book
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the first Kay Scarpetta I have read, and I am not only not impressed, it ranks as one of the worst reads of life.
Ms. Cornwell has a horrid propensity for using the word "for" in a sentence instead of "since" or "because." An example of a sentence Cornwell would write could be, "I wanted to go to the grocery store, FOR I needed milk for my cereal." It was incredibly distracting to me because it was an amateurish attempt to pump up the prose. The best way to pump up the prose is to write a great story, not inject archaic forms of speech into the writing.
Another problem I had was with Dr. Kay Scarpetta. According to what I've read in this book, Dr. Scarpetta is an expert at, quite literally, EVERYTHING. Whether it's forensics, ballistics, photography, or any other subject, Scarpetta is portrayed as a woman who knows it all. Every expert she sees says things to her like, "Well, as you already know . . . " as they describe the technical details. This became irritating as I felt the author was simply bragging about her own knowledge. Also, in the rarest of rare cases when Kay Scarpetta did NOT know something, usually Lucy, Kay's all-too imperfect, but brilliant niece, knew the answer. I wanted desperately to see Kay NOT know something, or at least have a hunch that proved wrong, but Cornwell has written Scarpetta to be a nearly perfect professional. Her only flaws seem to be emotional.
Another irritant is Scarpetta's tendency to have to prove that she's an authority figure wherever she goes, and to whomever DARES threaten her authority. After all, how dare ANYONE usurp Scarpetta's authority. Scarpetta is one of the most irritating protagonists I've ever come across in fiction. I found her colleague, Marino, to be FAR more interesting because he was noticably flawed.
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