51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
When Deborah Harvey, the daughter of the National Drug Policy Director, and her boyfriend fail to return home, the FBI investigates based on the assumption that there is a link to her father's job. When their remains are finally found, the media, linking it without substance, to eight other dead in pairs of two near Williamsburg, Virginia, dub the culprit the Couples Killer.
State Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta joins the investigation into the latest killings. Not much data can be gleaned from the skeletons though the killer leaves a glaring jack of hearts at each crime site. The Feds, state, and local law enforcement trip over each other like the Keystone Cops. Meanwhile Kay and Richmond homicide detective, Pete Marino, follow the paths, many of which dead end in cul de sacs, left behind by a devious killer made even more complex by a reporter and the Harvey family.
This reprint of an early Scarpetta thriller is a fine entry as a difficult case turns ugly and convoluted by so many participants especially the interference by cops and amateurs. Kay, her Valkyrie cohorts, and Pete are at their best working through a myriad of potential clues obfuscated by politicians, reporters, cops and family members who devastate crime scenes and more. Fans of the great M.E. will enjoy this fine forensic police procedural.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on April 29, 2005
As with most of her books, ALL THAT REMAINS is the continuing saga of Dr. Kay Scarpetta, chief medical examiner for Richmond, Virginia. In this tale Scarpetta is on the trail of a killer who seems to only target couples, and one of his victims comes from a VIP family, so the government is anxious to have this murderer caught.
This psycho leaves a jack of hearts at each crime scene and removes the shoes and socks of the victims. Very strange fetish! Will these clues be enough for Scarpetta and Pete Marino to find the killer? They've succeeded with fewer clues before! This time they have a reporter dogging them who is intent on writing a book about these murders.
Patricia Cornwell wrote this book after BODY OF EVIDENCE and continued with that standard of excellence with this story. This doesn't have the power punch ending that some of her other books have had, but it is a decent story. Her characters are vibrant and she encompasses a wide range of different personalities that keeps the reader interested and entertained.
This isn't her best work, but is definitely worth reading. She has a few twists to her stories in that she brings in sidelines that are out of the ordinary. For example, the side-glance at the scene with the dogs trying to track the missing person/victim was unique and not something most writers would include - that's what makes Cornwell different than most writers. She's unique!
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 2000
Like all Cornwell's Scarpetta books, this is a little cracker. Well worth the admission price.
The story is, as ever, complex. There are twists and turns in Scarpetta's personal and professional life which leave the reader wondering just how strong she has to be... then the character herself breaks down in tears to let you know that even the toughest of Chief Medical Examiners has a beart.
Mind you, as these books are written in the first person, Scarpetta never fails to sieze an opportunity that she "kindly" does something. No sooner done than said, eh old girl? A picky thing, but it does irritate me.
Nonetheless, I have every Scarpetta book. And I've read them all more than once.
Patricia Cornwell is a stylish writer, her heroine is stylish, and by god she wields a Stryker saw superbly. If you like whodunnits, you'll love Scarpetta.
But don't read "Southern Cross". It's really, really awful.
28 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on May 11, 2000
Powerful, mysterious, suspenseful: these are all words that describe the book "All That Remains." In this book, the main character is the chief medical examiner for the police department. But when she starts finding clues on victims' bodies, she and some of her fellow cops try to figure out a baffling case of a serial killer, but the killer knows that they're on his tail. Patricia D. Cornwell does an excellent job of describing feelings, people, places, crime scenes, everything. Although the plot is great, she does get a little bit graphic when she is explaining what the killer does and what he has done. So I would recommend this book to jr. high school and high school students, and adults. Now it's your turn to try to figure who the killer is. Go read "All That Remains."
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on October 6, 2000
Being a Virginia native, I deeply enjoy Patricia Cornwell's excellent novels. This particular one holds a great deal of appeal to me. Reason being is that the events Cornwell speaks of took place at a rest stop near my home. Having a knowledge of the setting, I settled in, for I knew I had a great read ahead of me.
ALL THAT REMAINS is a wonderfully crafted and suspenseful novel. Each character is beautifully written, and adds a unique touch to the plot. Anyone who enjoys great works of suspense will want to read this novel. For it is a true masterpiece.
I recommend this book to you if you are a Virginian, or even if you are not. This truly fine display of Cornwell's talents will not leave you disappointed. Pick up ALL THAT REMAINS today!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
I'm in the minority, according to the Amazon.com reviews, but I had to put my two cents in after thoroughly reading Patricia Cornwell's novel, All That Remains.
Although they're not the first thing I reach for when I want a good read, I quite enjoy a good intrigue/mystery novel. Jeffery Deaver's The Devil's Teardrop, for instance, impressed me quite a bit. I can appreciate a well done and suspenseful crime novel just as much as the die-hard fans.
That having been said, I was less than impressed with this book. The story line was laid out in intriguing detail and it certainly hooked my attention. And the novel never lagged or plodded like some have been known to do.
However, I have a lot of problems with the style of the book. The dialogue, for the most part, is rather mundane. And although the story had a catchy set-up, the pay-off was rushed and lackluster. In fact, the last five or six pages were a hastily compiled series of awkward explanations for the few dangling loose ends.
Additionally, Cornwell's prose is spare and punchy, which I normally don't have a problem with. It makes for unencumbered and breezy reading. However, she chooses to adorn the story in some odd and unnecessary spots. For instance, whenever a character is cooking, Cornwell takes great pains to detail the ingredients and manner of the meal. These descriptions are well-done, but inconsistent with the rest of the stylism, and therefore jarring and out of place.
Finally, I understand that Cornwell has a lot of experience and inside knowledge with regards to the investigative procedures and medical examinations, which does lend the book a strong authoritative tone. However, there are times when the central character, the popular Dr. Kay Scarpetta, weighs down her speeches and conversations with lengthy and unnecessary clinical explanations. I understand that a medical examiner is naturally prone to such things, but in All That Remains, it happens often enough and clumsily enough that it begins to look less like true character development, and more like Cornwell attempting to over-authenticate the expertise found in the novel.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on June 2, 2005
I had not read this book when I made my way through Cornwell's Scarpetta series. So as I came back and filled in the holes by reading this book, I found `All that Remains' to be a refreshing addition to the series. I wonder why Cornwell left this simpler format for the convoluted and over the top serial killer genre of James Patterson in her latter work. This book just works so well in many ways. And because Scarpetta is not taking on a group of mythical Serial Killers spread over several books (check out the last six or seven Scarpetta titles), this book is kind of believable.
One thing missing is the intensity that Cornwell develops later in the series when she becomes a more nuanced writer. `All that Remains' never hits the high tone-edge of your seat excitement of say `Black Notice' when it is working well. Another thing missing is the bitter Scarpetta that comes along as life tears her apart later in the series. But that is no big deal, its just odd seeing Cornwell's characters not fully fleshed out.
I would recommend this book to anyone with the stipulation that you start with her first in the series and then work your way through all of her books. It's a ride that becomes frustrating at the end if you admire the mature manner in which Cornwell attacks her first half dozen books, but is still rewarding nonetheless. I would especially recommend this book if you have read Lawrence Block's Matt Scudder series and enjoyed watching a character develop from one book to the next. Or if you for some reason liked Patterson's Alex Cross series the Scarpetta books will be a welcome surprise (Scarpetta puts Cross to shame in comparison).
You won't be disappointed.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on September 13, 2005
All That Remains was a hard book to put down. Patricia Cornwell writes so well that it's difficult to find a place to take a break when reading her novels. She is an expert at striking a balance between detail and the flow of the story. As a reader (and a writer), I believe I can learn much from her. The fact that she was a crime reporter for some years and a medical examiner, as well, adds authenticity to her stories. I'm looking forward to her next book, Predator, due out on October 25, 2005.
When the daughter of powerful Washington politician, National Drug Policy Director, Pat Harvey, and boyfriend turn up missing, the services of Dr. Kay Scarpetta, Chief Medical Examiner of Richmond, New Jersey, are called upon once again. Four other couples have disappeared in similar fashion and have eventually been found murdered, all within a fifty-five mile radius of Williamsburg (Virginia). Scarpetta is called to a local rest area where Ms. Harvey's daughter, Deborah's, jeep has been found. When last seen, the couple was headed to the Harvey beach home in said jeep. A new investigation begins. Investigators, powerful politicians, and covert operations agents speculate as to whether or not this case is associated with Harvey's job or is it, perhaps, the fifth in a series of couple murders. As is often the case in Cornwell's stories, it becomes a question of who knows what and what is the real truth behind events and motives.
The murders have been particularly gruesome, and when found, all that remains of the young people are some bones and clothing, along with a jack of hearts playing card. Also, in each case, the victims' shoes and socks cannot be found. Scarpetta and Richmond homicide detective, Pete Marino, follow various leads, spend considerable time speculating on the who and why of the murders, while investigative reporter, Abby Turnbull, seems to be terrified about something (Marino doesn't trust her). Ex-lover, Mark James, makes an appearance and temporarily heats up the personal side of Scarpetta's life again. In the end the killer is found and the murders solved, but at tremendous cost to the Harvey family and to others. An excellent read.
Carolyn Rowe Hill
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 1, 2000
"All that Remains", chronicles M.E. Kay Scarpetta and Detective Pete Morino as they hunt to stop a murderer who hunts young couples. They are hampered by the fact that the bodies are only ever found months after the crime, making evidence scarce, and by the high-power mother of a young girl beleived to be the killer's latest victim whose hysteria threatens to ruin the case, and Scarpetta's career. The plot is a masterful blend of forensic science and Christie-quality deduction.
This was an absolute pleasure to read. "All that Remains" isn't bogged down with the Scarpetta preoccupation with her niece's social life which ruins later books nor is she coming apart at the seams emotionally (ummm..."Black Notice" anyone?) Cornwell's focus on the case makes for a seamless read that trully is fine thriller fiction.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 11, 2005
A true thriller - lots of medical gore, and Kay finds plenty of layers of deception among her associates as she solves yet another perverse crime. She is a self-assured woman, often living in a men's world, asserting herself with uncooperative officials as need be as she goes about her medical detecting, while the rest of us cheer from the reading stands. This book is as engrossing and involving as any other book I've read by her, with a lot of psychological touches about what makes both good and bad people keep secrets.