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Dust (A Scarpetta Novel) Hardcover – November 12, 2013

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Product Details

  • Series: A Scarpetta Novel (Book 21)
  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult; First Edition edition (November 12, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399157573
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399157578
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.9 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,215 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,316 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“When it comes to the forensic sciences, nobody can touch Cornwell.”

The New York Times Book Review

About the Author

PATRICIA CORNWELL’s most recent bestsellers include The Bone Bed, Red Mist, Port Mortuary, and Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper—Case Closed. Her earlier works include Postmortem—the only novel to win five major crime awards in a single year—and Cruel and Unusual, which won Britain’s prestigious Gold Dagger Award for the best crime novel of 1993. Dr. Kay Scarpetta herself won the 1999 Sherlock Award for the best detective created by an American author.

Customer Reviews

Normally I can't put Cornwell books down, this one I could hardly pick up and finish.
Amazon Customer
The story was strung out way too long and too much detail on the characters which we all know from reading her books.
I didn't like this book. too clinical and lacking in character or character development.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

468 of 482 people found the following review helpful By clm on November 17, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've read every Scarpetta novel, even during the "lost years" before Cornwell got her groove back. But as I read the first 9 chapters of this one, I was thinking it was time for Kay to retire. First of all, I was flabbergasted at how disingenuously Cornwell inserted Scarpetta onto the scene in Newtown. No doubt this was Cornwell's way of dealing with the tragedy, but to me it just seemed self-absorbed and completely unnecessary to this story. I was actually offended. Then interspersed with that we get more feverish poor-me-what-to-do-about-Marino crap. Self-absorbed much, Kay? And again, yet another unbelievable conspiracy against Scarpetta and everyone associated with her. .
This book is at its best when it goes back to basics -- Marino being a detective, Scarpetta doing forensics, Benton profiling, and Lucy doing her tech thing. That's what I loved about this series back when it was strong, and that's what continues to carry it. But so much time is wasted with all the other distractions. We don't even get to the body until ten chapters in.
I don't need conspiracies in high places and "everybody is against me" angst. I understand that authors and their characters need to evolve, but I still want a good mystery with a bad guy who's kind of scary and good guys who use their knowledge and experience to figure out how to stop him. For a good part of this book I was thinking it might be my last.
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191 of 202 people found the following review helpful By Ariel on November 20, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This may be the last book from this author that I buy ( although I've said this before). Her writing style has become too rambling and wordy with description. I find myself skipping sentences just to get to the storyline. For goodness sake, it takes chapters just to get to her plots (such as they are anymore). The later books are almost retrospectives with very little plot value.

I have read and own every book she has written and faithfully read and look forward to a new book coming out. Not so much anymore.

Having said that, she was my favorite author for many years - not so now. I feel sad for the loss of the old Kay Scarpetta.
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116 of 121 people found the following review helpful By The Book Bird on November 24, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I am really concerned that I read a totally different book than the other reviewers who have posted. Where to start? What Dust needs is an editor and a plot. This book was absolutely everything I can’t stand about what the Kay Scarpetta series has become in one 500 page novel. Implausible timing, totally no character development, and a storyline that takes less than 50 pages to wrap up with a neat, tidy bow. If this was a book by any other author, I would have stopped, but as a Scarpetta series fan I felt I owed it to the good doctor to finish. In fact, I’m so meh about the whole thing I’m not even going to provide a summary of the paper-thin plotline. There’s more meat in the book blurb than the entire novel….

Some random thoughts:
- Really? You’re going to have this whole murder/mystery solved in a day over 500 pages?! Really?! This whole novel reads like one run on sentence. I know that Dr. Scarpetta is an amazingly talented woman, but it’s actually tiresome for the reader to have no change of scenery.
- Would it kill you to write about a happy character? Everyone is so lost in their own self-pity/depression spiral that it’s honestly kind of a downer to read. I don’t know if Cornwell is tired of this cast of characters or what, but she seems completely content to make their lives miserable and depressing.

Also, I found it incredibly distasteful that Cornwell uses a recent tragic event and inserts Scarpetta into it. Not appropriate.
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67 of 69 people found the following review helpful By pat on December 5, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a Newtown, CT resident, the first chapter of DUST made me so angry, I put the book down (or, in reality, turned the Kindle off) for a week or so. That any writer of fiction would be so self-absorbed and insensitive to trivialize the horror of Sandy Hook Elementary by inserting a fictional character into such unspeakable loss is repugnant. Worse, that the author would presume to know how people felt - especially those that came from outside of Newtown to help families bury there children, sisters, brothers, and mothers - is presumptive and exceedingly disrespectful.

As a long-time Cornwell fan, I will admit that I picked Dust back up some weeks later when I was past my initial reaction and thought that "she wouldn't just throw Newtown into the book, she must have done it for a reason". Unfortunately, by the time I finished reading, the only reason I could think of for the inclusion of the murders on December 14, 2012 was that Ms. Cornwell had written a novel that was so boring and poorly written, her editors probably insisted that she go back and insert the tragedy into the plot just to sell the book.

Whatever the reason, this is, sadly, the last Patricia Cornwell novel that I will buy.
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80 of 88 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Walker on November 18, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've read other reviews and I agree with those who said they were appalled that Patricia Cornwell used Sandy Hook as a background for her latest book. It felt cheap and disgusted me.

Overall, I felt that the book had several issues. Like many of her other later novels, she includes technical details to the point of distraction and I think it takes away from the story at times.

There are also a series of flashbacks that to me, ring false. We know too many of Kay's thoughts from the past books to believe that she had some of these feeling in the past. It is rewriting history and I don't really buy it.
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More About the Author

In 1990, Patricia Cornwell sold her first novel, Postmortem, while working at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond, Virginia. An auspicious debut, it went on to win the Edgar, Creasey, Anthony, and Macavity awards as well as the French Prix du Roman d'Aventure prize - the first book ever to claim all these distinctions in a single year.

Today, Cornwell's novels and now iconic characters, medical examiner Kay Scarpetta, her niece Lucy and fellow investigator Pete Marino, are known all over the world. Fox 2000 is actively developing a feature film about Kay Scarpetta. Beyond the Scarpetta series, Patricia has written a definitive account of Jack the Ripper's identity, cookbooks, a children's book, a biography of Ruth Graham, and two other fiction series based on the characters Win Garano and Andy Brazil.

Cornwell was born in Miami, grew up in Montreat, North Carolina, and now lives and works in Boston.

Visit the author's website at: www.patriciacornwell.com

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