Trace: Scarpetta (Book 13) Paperback – Jul 3 2012
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From Publishers Weekly
Cornwell's latest after the disappointing Blow Fly has indomitable medical examiner Kay Scarpetta returning to her office in Richmond five years after being fired. This homecoming will cheer fans: not only does the move put Scarpetta on her own turf, it reinvigorates Cornwell's storytelling, restoring some of the spunk lately lacking in her lead character. Dr. Joel Marcus, Scarpetta's replacement as Virginia's chief medical examiner, has summoned her back to help him puzzle through the mysterious death of a 14-year-old girl. Marcus is generally loathed: he's petty, inept, has a secret garbage-truck phobia and harbors an intense hatred for Scarpetta. Meanwhile, Scarpetta's niece Lucy, owner of a fabulously successful private-eye firm, has her own troubles trying to sort out who attempted to kill her friend Henri (short for Henrietta), who's now under psychiatric treatment by Scarpetta's lover in Aspen, Benton Wesley. Lurking in the background is Edgar Allan Pogue, a nutcase who has a thing for dead bodies and a grudge against Scarpetta. It's her job, as always, to connect all the puzzling forensic dots and identify the killer in time to save herself and her loved ones. She does this, mostly, but leaves the reader to puzzle out a few salient points on his or her own. Cumbersome backstory slows the action, but in general the old Scarpetta comes through, at least in the main, and this will be enough to reassure her many fans and carry them over until her next appearance. BOMC, Literary Guild, Mystery Guild and Doubleday Book Club main selection.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Against advice from her niece Lucy, Kay Scarpetta answers a request to return to the Richmond medical examiner's office, the same office from which she was fired, to help with the sensitive case of a dead teen. When she and Pete Marino arrive, they find the new medical examiner to be a vituperative, uncooperative martinet and the office that Kay ran so efficiently in chaos. Two murders, oddly linked, demand their attention. In the meantime, Lucy, still unsettled despite her success with the Last Precinct investigative agency, is having personal problems (there's been an attack on her housemate), which strangely enough find her treading the same path as her aunt Kay. Traces of the smart, dynamic, yet vulnerable Scarpetta of the early novels are in evidence here, and Cornwell has better control of her plot and characters than in her last few efforts, faltering only occasionally when psychobabble weighs things down. The mystery is intriguing, there's plenty of forensic detail, and the ending, though perhaps too abrupt, opens the way for Scarpetta and her associates to proceed in any direction that calls to them. Stephanie Zvirin
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
If you like reading books by Patricia Cornwell, try also the following two books:
A few years ago I decided I wouldn't read any more Scarpetta novels. They were just too angry, too gross and too ridiculous in their plots involving off-beat characters who want to "get" Scarpetta for various sick reasons. I often felt like I was reading about the frustration dreams of a paranoid person . . . and I didn't enjoy it.
Trace sounded less intense . . . so I gave it a try. The good news is that the story is more entertaining than the ones that drove me away. The bad news is that the aftertaste of those stories lingers on to mar the characters and plot line here.
Scarpetta, Benson, Lucy and Marino want to be with one another . . . but they are so devoted to keeping secrets from one another . . . that they spend the maximum time apart. It's a curious way to run a novel.
A partial reunion occurs when Scarpetta is asked to consult on a mysterious death of a 14-year-old girl and Marino returns with her to Richmond where she was embarrassed and harassed by a former governor five years earlier. The old ME shop has never been in worse shape, and you will find out why in greater detail than you really want to know.
Naturally, Scarpetta figures out the cause of death within minutes of beginning her examination.Read more ›
I would also recommend two very different books which I enjoyed. The first is THE PIANO TEACHER--a little racy and disturbing, and the second is THE BARK OF THE DOGWOOD--also disturbing but VERY funny and well written. All are great.
Most recent customer reviews
Very disappointing. I had only read Cornwell's nonfiction book about her investigation into the Jack the Ripper case. Read morePublished 16 months ago by David J Way
Definitely an improvement over the last book, enjoyed it very muchPublished on July 22 2014 by Victoria
I'm just wondering what really happened to Mr. Benton Wesley because in the story "Point of Origin" he was killed. Then in this story he's back again? Read morePublished on Dec 3 2007 by mariajanelli
I disliked the 3rd person telling of this story a great deal. Hard to read and boring. Jumps all over the place. Won't be buying Cornwell anymore. Janet Evanovich, here I come!Published on Nov. 9 2005 by S. Mason
Once again, after reading Blowfly...I had to force myself to read this incredibly boring book. I kept reading, looking for the "punch lines" or the meat of the book. Read morePublished on July 26 2005 by penny young
I only gave this book two stars because I am very loyal to this author. Unfortunately, this book is horrible. Blowfly was REALLY bad. This one is also bad, not as much but... Read morePublished on Dec 16 2004 by Susie Sharon
I enjoyed this book, but not as much as I thought I would. The characters, while better than those in Blow Fly (what a name!!! Read morePublished on Oct. 23 2004 by Stinky Wizzelteats