Friday, 24 August 2012

Patricia Cornwell: From Potter's Field - 6

Christmas is not a particularly good time for Dr Kay Scarpetta. A naked, female body is found propped against a fountain in a bleak area of New York's Central Park. Her apparent manner of death points to a modus operandi that is chillingly familiar: the gunshot wound to the head, the sections of skin excised from the body, the displayed corpse - all suggest that Temple Brooks Gault, Scarpetta's nemesis, is back at work.

This was the most predictable of the series so far. It was very gripping, but I really have preferred the previous novels, where in addition to the forensics there were some unexpected twists, too.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Patricia Cornwell: The Body Farm - 5

Black Mountain, North Carolina: a sleepy little town where the local police deal with one homicide a year and so the discovery of the corpse of an 11-year-old girl sends shock waves through the community. Dr Kay Scarpetta is called in to apply her forensic skills to this latest atrocity, but the apparent simplicity of the case proves something of a poisoned chalice...

I had enjoyed the previous Scarpetta novels, but this one certainly was the best so far. Although some of the forensic details became a little confusing at times, the unexpected twists and turns made this novel a great read.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Patricia Cornwell: Cruel and unusual - 4

The fingerprints say the murderer is the man who's just been executed. At 11.05 one December evening in Richmond, Virginia, convicted murderer Ronnie Joe Waddell is pronounced dead in the electric chair. At the morgue Dr Kay Scarpetta waits for Waddell's body. Preparing to perform a post-mortem before the subject is dead is a strange feeling, but Scarpetta has been here before. And Waddell's death is not the only newsworthy event on this freezing night: the grotesquely wounded body of a young boy is found propped against a rubbish skip. To Scarpetta the two cases seem unrelated, until she recalls that the body of Waddell's victim had been arranged in a strikingly similar position.

Gripping and fascinating, although a little far-fetched at times.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Patricia Cornwell: All that remains - 3

A killer is stalking young lovers. Taking their lives and leaving just one tantalising clue. But when the latest girl goes missing turns out to be the daughter of one of the most powerful women in America, Kay Scarpetta finds herself prey to political pressure and press harassment. As she starts to investigate, she finds that vital evidence is being withheld from her - or even faked. And all the time a cunning, sadistic killer is still at large...

Having read two previous Scarpetta novels, I become more interested in Scarpetta's personal life in addition to the forensic aspects.

Patricia Cornwell: Body of Evidence - 2

A reclusive writer is dead. And her final manuscript has disappeared. Thus begins for Dr Kay Scarpetta the investigation of a crime that is as convoluted as it is bizarre. As Scarpetta retraces the writer's footsteps, an investigation that begins in the laboratory with microscopes and lasers leads her deep into a nightmare that soon becomes her own.

Fascinating, quick, thrilling, gripping.

Patricia Cornwell: Postmortem - 1

A serial killer is on the loose in Richmond, Virginia. Three women have died, brutalised and strangled in their own bedroom. There is no pattern: the killer appears to strike at random - but always early on Saturday mornings. So when Dr Kay Scarpetta, she knows there is a fourth victim. And she fears now for those that will follow unless she can dig up new forensic evidence to aid the police.

A quick holiday read. It was great to get into a series of books as to not run out of reading materials. But I sometimes struggled with the outdated approach to investigations. DNA tests, for example, are new...