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

3.0 out of 5 stars 110 customer reviews

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Length: 384 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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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: 914 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • 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: #44,708 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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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 really liked "Cause of Death" by Patricia Cornwell until the climactic sequence. When she rolls out the big guns, so to speak, it seemed so ridiculous to me. I laughed out loud and finally quit reading.
Until then, I liked the central character, who is well educated and high strung and has trouble relating to people and is surrounded by conflict and troubles. I liked the forensic stuff and the who-dun-it structure.
(This is only the second Kay Scarpetta novel I've read.)
I liked Pete Marino and Lucy and the setting for the first killing and Roche and the way the mystery unfolds.
The best thing is that most of the time the setting and the characters mimic the real world in a good way. She is a very responsible person, who is both doctor/pathologist and a lawyer, and who is in conflict with people all around her, because she is a woman, because she does a good job, and because she uncovers crimes that other people would overlook.
I don't think the author needed all that elaborate hokum at the end. I like a smaller story, where evil is not about to destroy so much of the world but is about to destroy the life of one or two people.
This is still a decent crime novel and worth reading, but I'd give it a B minus. (Sorry, Ms. Cornwell. You are a heck of a writer.)
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Although this book was not my favourite in this series, there is still a lot to recommend it. The forensic detail is wonderful, and written in a fashion that makes it easy to understand. My main complaint with this book is Kay's niece, Lucy. She is not a believable character, and I find her even more unbelievable in this book. My main reason for this is that I don't think an agency like the FBI would have an untrained, young agent like Lucy involved at the heart of their big cases. Yes, I realize she's supposed to be a genius, but seriously, please!! But other than Lucy, I like the other characters, and they are developing very nicely. My favourite is of course, Marino. In this book Kay and Marino are trying to determine the cause of death of a diver that is found dead in the water in an old ship graveyard. Everyone is trying to convince them that it was an accident or suicide, but Kay knows differently, and both her and Marino know that there is very real evil surrounding this death. As they dig deeper, the true extent of the evil is revealed to all, many lives are at stake. This book, like all the others in the series is chock-full of suspense from the opening paragraph right to the very end.
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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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