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Postmortem (The Scarpetta Series Book 1) by [Cornwell, Patricia]
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Postmortem (The Scarpetta Series Book 1) Kindle Edition

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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: 1797 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: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #49,103 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars 608 reviews
68 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars just as good my second time reading it!! June 12 2001
By lusty22 - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I just completed the "KAY SCARPETTA" series for the second time and let me tell you, it was awesome!! The only thing I did differently was I read them in order. This book, "POSTMORTEM" is first in the series and it is suspensful and absolutely thrilling. You really fall for the protagonist, Kay, and want to read for the sake of learning about her life as well as for solving the mystery. Patricia Cornwell is a most talented author. She draws you in like no other and I am always sorry when one of her books (this series only) end. Her books can be dark and a bit gruesome, but they are not overly disturbing as they have such redeeming qualities. The horror described is for a reason and goes with the territory of Kay's career. It is never just to shock like some books. Kay is an honorable lady, and very complex. The mysteries and scandals she is involved in make you feel like you are involved too. They are very consuming and entertaining. Be prepared to put everything aside when you pick up this book!!
56 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lock your doors and windows, sit back, and enjoy! June 30 2000
By Kori Frazier - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
After reading Patricia Cornwell's "Unnatural Exposure" I was so drawn to her writing style and characters that I decided I had to have more. So, I took it upon myself to add "Postmortem" to my library of suspense novels. Although I am new to Cornwell's books, I think that this may be one of the best books I have ever read. The way she uses her medical knowledge and background to create the plot and characters amazes me, and the story itself was so real that each chapter sent me on a rampage throughout my house to make sure that all the doors and windows were locked! I am a high school English student planning on becoming a writer myself, and I believe that Patricia Cornwell has given me an excellent role model to look at in my own writing endeavors. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys suspenseful reading and forensic long as you can keep the fact that it is only a book in your mind....
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Science and Technology Postmortem Review May 2 2005
By Danielle Nastas - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Postmortem Book Review

In Richmond, Virginia chief medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta uncovers brutal rapes and murders of four unlucky women. Each one is different from the other, except for the fact that they each live alone. With the help of new forensic research, her "partner" Marino, and other specialists, she uncovers the killer and how he picks his victims. She has to be careful though, there is sabotage within the company and a killer is after her.

Postmortem is a very enjoyable read. It is the first book in the Dr. Kay Scarpetta series that Patricia Cornwell wrote. The book has to do with forensic science, a couple of main character, a very intense plot, and an overwhelming mystery that is powerful and that keeps you looking for clues. For the first book that Patricia Cornwell has written it is good, however if you do not like the book I recommend you read some other books in the Dr. Kay Scarpetta series. As the series progress the books get better and better. When compared to the other books that she has written this book is average. It is intense yet it does not have that bang like the other books have. I also do not like the dialogue that is in this book. It is a little fake for me, and after reading the other books in the series it does not compare. However, Postmortem keeps you on the edge of your seat, it is a great thriller that will keep you interested and wanting more. I would recommend this book and the series to anyone who enjoys a great thriller and mystery.

The book Postmortem deals with death and forensic science. With these two factors combined a mystery is solved by science and technology. When someone is murder in this book an autopsy is performed. A collection of samples is taken from the victim, which includes fibers and hairs. The specimens are taken to be compared, and technological instruments are used to show microscopic specimens. Throughout this book science and technology are being used to find the killer of the four women. DNA comparison is used to compare the killers semen to what was found on the bodies, a laser was used to light up the substances on all of the victim's bodies, and lab tests were done to ensure the results of what was expected. Science and technology was also used to nab the person who was sabotaging Dr. Kay Scarpetta, though I will not tell you how and who it is. Science and technology play a role in the book Postmortem. Most mystery books have some technology and science incorporated throughout, but the Dr. Kay Scarpetta series is based on science and technology. Forensic science and technology is used mainly in this book to catch the killer.

Postmortem is a forensic mystery. It is an intense read and a book that will keep you wanting more. Throughout the book science and technology is what the concentration is on. This is what gets the killer behind bars. It is a hard book to put down, and I recommend the book and the whole Dr. Kay Scarpetta series to anyone who wants a good read.
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Let's start at the very beginning.... Sept. 15 2007
By Amanda Richards - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
...a very good place to start - except that I've already read two others in the series, namely Predator and From Potter's Field.

The series so far:

Postmortem (1990)
Body of Evidence (1991)
All That Remains (1992)
Cruel and Unusual (1993)
The Body Farm (1994)
From Potter's Field (1995)
Cause of Death (1996)
Unnatural Exposure (1996)
Point of Origin (1998)
Black Notice (1999)
The Last Precinct (2000)
Blow Fly (2003)
Trace (2004)
Predator (2005)

(Book of the Dead is scheduled for Oct 2007.)

Fortunately, there's no need to read them in order, and the reading experience was actually better given that I already knew how some of the characters would be developed in the future.

On its own the book isn't bad for a debut novel, except that it tends to get bogged down in places, the characters don't really come to life until later down the series, and the technology is understandably dated, given the techniques now available. (Naturally, it may have been cutting edge stuff when the book was written, which I took into consideration when reading it)

There's a little more CSI involved than in the ones I've read before (it gets less and less in later books) and the story revolves around a serial killer who eventually gets around to the Chief Medical Examiner. The modus operandi of the killer is suitably gruesome, but for the majority of the book Scarpetta seems to the weakest link as she struggles to hold her own in a world of men.

About the same as "From Potter's Field", but better than "Predator".

Rated: 3.5 stars

Amanda Richards, September 15, 2007
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Epitomizes the Flatness of the Genre Dec 28 2009
By popinjay - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
After picking up this book at the suggestion of a friend, my opinion of the genre is, once again, reinforced. Here we have more of the same type of formula: a nicely atmospheric beginning, a fact piling middle, and an unsatisfying end.

The problem with Cornwell is that while she shows some signs of potential here and there, she's too enamored with factually based stories (so-and-so forensic group of facts, police procedures and politics, blah, blah) to spend enough time on her characters. In this debut effort, and true to formula, she starts out with an ominous bang, begins to build up a couple of characters, only to later assault the reader with laborious, fact introducing plot devices that I just can't bring myself to care about. When the end rolled around I found myself asking, "so what?"

The manner in which the perpetrator selected his victims was very interesting, but Cornwell didn't let it develop into anything. What we later learn about the killer could have at least made for very interesting dialogue in the climactic scene, but Cornwell had already dished up her precious facts and was, therefore, finished with all other elements intrusive to her writing style.

Many great contemporary authors like Harris, Blatty, or King will tell you that their characters often seem to take over writing the story. Not so with Cornwell. She prefers to shove them into neat little cubby holes in order to serve an all too predestined purpose. If you like this sort of fact dog pile, her subsequent novels were more of the same.

Two stars for a pretty good beginning, a nice idea about the killer's methods, but little else of note.