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Port Mortuary (Kay Scarpetta, No. 18) Hardcover – November 30, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam; 1st edition (November 30, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399157212
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399157219
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (745 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #225,478 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Bestseller Cornwell's compelling 18th Kay Scarpetta novel (after The Scarpetta Factor), her strongest work in years, involves the chief medical examiner in a case that's both far-reaching in its national security implications and deeply personal. The story begins at the real Port Mortuary at Dover Air Force Base, where Scarpetta is assisting in developing techniques for virtual autopsies, then shifts back to her recently adopted home at Boston's Cambridge Forensic Center (CFC). A young man's mysterious death becomes even stranger after full-body scans reveal destruction so extensive it's as if a bomb went off inside his body. Scarpetta and husband Benton Wesley-along with her niece, Lucy Farinelli, and ex-cop turned CFC investigator Pete Marino-discover links not only to a government project with the ability to cause mass casualties but also to another grisly case currently under investigation. As Scarpetta's military past rears its head, the emotional damage the investigation of the cases is bound to wreak on Cornwell's steadfast heroine will leave readers eager for the next installment. Long-time fans will welcome the return after a decade to a first-person narration with direct access to Scarpetta's thoughts.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Cornwell returns to form—somewhat—after the plodding Scarpetta Factor (2009). Told in the first person, the story finds Kay Scarpetta, now the chief medical examiner of the new Cambridge Forensic Center in Massachusetts, involved in a couple of cases: the mysterious sudden death of a man and the murder of a child (whose confessed killer seems to be innocent). Soon she begins to suspect the two cases are related—joined by a piece of high-tech hardware found in the first victim’s apartment—and before too long, she realizes she’s facing what could be her most clever foe yet. For the first time in a while, Cornwell seems genuinely interested in Scarpetta again, giving the novel that spark of life that has made the series so enjoyable for its many fans. The book is still a long way from the glory days of Postmortem (1991) and From Potter’s Field (1995), but it’s definitely a step in the right direction. Series fans who have felt a bit let down of late will be pleased. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Print, radio, television, in-person, billboards, Twitter, Facebook, iPhone apps—about the only thing Putnam isn’t doing to promote Cornwell’s latest is a graffiti campaign. --David Pitt

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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Customer Reviews

The characters are shallow and the plot tedious and boring.
Sharon
As an avid Patricia Cornwell fan I am thoroughly disappointed with her latest installment in the Kay Scarpetta series.
FunnyTrumpsMean
The ending seemed like it was just thrown in as an afterthought to get the book over with.
J. Campion

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

314 of 325 people found the following review helpful By Barbi on December 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover
After discovering and devouring Patricia Cornwell's "Postmortem" (now 20 years ago), my family and I have been huge fans of the Kay Scarpetta novels. Over the years, we eagerly awaited the release of Ms. Cornwell's next novel, always confident that it would surpass her last. Until something changed and Ms. Cornwell forgot how to tell an interesting story. Instead of flying effortlessly through her books, I now find myself slogging through them, falling asleep over them, yawning through endless pages of dreary detail and introspective angst. I keep hoping that the books will get better, but they don't. I gave up halfway through "The Scarpetta Factor" (2009), but actually read all of "Port Mortuary" (2010). Like "The Scarpetta Factor," Ms. Cornwell's latest offering is a self-indulgent bore. This book features mysteries within mysteries that are not revealed until the bitter end. By then, I didn't care. There's no suspense, no thrill, no passion. The characters that formerly had been drawn with such precision and care are now lackluster at best. Throughout the book, Kay can't figure out how to ask a direct question nor get a direct answer from anyone, including but not limited to Benton (her husband) and Lucy (her niece). That Kay seemingly has so little self-esteem that she would accept everyone's lack of forthright responses is completely contrary to her former strong, confident and capable self. After finally (FINALLY!) reaching the end of "Port Mortuary," I was disconcerted by the complete change of voice in the last few pages of the book. It's almost as though Ms. Cornwell's editor compelled her to tack on a page or two to make it appear that Kay has a soul after all. Ms. Cornwell, please bring back the Kay Scarpetta we used to know and love!
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333 of 349 people found the following review helpful By madscientist_13 on December 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a long time fan of Patricia Cornwell and I wait each year for my book to be delivered so that I can delve back into the world of Scarpetta, Benton and Lucy. That being said, I was disappointed with this book. Disappointed in a way that I cannot quite find words for, which disturbs me greatly. I found it heavy, not in a good way, pedantic, bogged down by pointless material that was at many times inconsequential to the story line and the ending was in no way a resolution to the stress between Benton and Scarpetta.

I do like the fact that the perspective switched back to a first person point of view through Scarpetta's eyes because I think everything should be viewed through her eyes the way they once were. I also thought it was good to shine a measure of light on topics that rarely get talked about in fiction. All of this said, I was still depressed by this book because I know how much better the Scarpetta books can be and I just had a hard time with this book as a whole. And as a final note, I know that hardcore Scarpetta fans will not be deterred just as I wouldn't have been because I just had to know myself, but that said, I found the humanity, the relationships and the basic foundation that makes the series so good to me lacking in this novel.
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190 of 201 people found the following review helpful By Teresa3607 on December 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I've been a Scarpetta fan for several years, but the last few books have been a real stretch of the imagination. The science is brilliant, the writing is superb, but I can no longer find any sympathy for the characters. There is no passion between Scarpetta and Benton. Scarpetta does not seem to be stable and I fear that the next book will have her tip over the edge and truly become the antagonist. In Port Mortuary, she's changed jobs and locales yet again and a hidden chapter of her past is revealed. This is too far-fetched for my imagination, primarily because if this had been such a scarring experience for Scarpetta it seems that is should have been at least alluded to in one of the earlier books.

This will be the last Scarpetta book that I read. Sadly, the Kay Scarpetta I loved no longer exists.
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56 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Shelly on March 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Far from the educating & interesting pages she used to write, Patricia Cornwell seems to actually dislike her readers, so much that she is trying to bore us to death. If you've not read her last 2-3 books, here is an example of her writing. "Scarpetta had to choose which socks to wear. She had two colors to choose from, black or white. She likes white, but only with long pants. The black ones look better with shorts. But wait, she's not wearing shorts. So she really could wear either pair. But which to choose? Black or white? She chose the black socks. And in choosing the black socks, she remembered one time she was wearing black socks. It was long ago and a very important memory that radically changed her life. But she's never, never in 20-some years EVER thought of it before. It was life-altering, but not important enough for her to ever think of it before. She picks up the left sock and rolls it up in her fingers. She sits on the bed and lifts her right foot. Wait, this sock is for her left foot! She raises her left foot and puts her toes into the sock. She pulls the sock up to her ankle and smooths it out over her foot, then puts her foot back on the floor. She rolls the right sock in her fingers and lifts her right foot up onto her other knee. She puts her toes into the sock and pulls it up over her foot. It goes on twisted. She straightens it out and puts her foot back on the floor."
And in the case of this book, Cornwell would waste 11 pages describing the weave, age, texture of the sock and contemplating whether the sock actually wants to be worn.

That is how riveting her last few books have been. Stuffed with the most uninteresting and boring, repetitive drivel I've ever read by a so-called bestselling author.
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