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Port Mortuary (Kay Scarpetta, No. 18) Hardcover


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Port Mortuary (Kay Scarpetta, No. 18) + The Bone Bed (A Scarpetta Novel) + Red Mist (Thorndike Press Large Print Basic Series)
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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 (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (704 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #248,588 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

Patricia Cornwell was born on June 9, 1956, in Miami, Florida, and grew up in Montreat, North Carolina.

Following graduation from Davidson College in 1979, she began working at the Charlotte Observer, rapidly advancing from listing television programs to writing feature articles to covering the police beat. She won an investigative reporting award from the North Carolina Press Association for a series of articles on prostitution and crime in downtown Charlotte.

Her award-winning biography of Ruth Bell Graham, A Time for Remembering, was published in 1983. From 1984 to 1990, she worked as a technical writer and a computer analyst at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond, Virginia.

Cornwell's first crime novel, Postmortem, was published by Scribner's in 1990. Initially rejected by seven major publishing houses, it became the first novel to win the Edgar, Creasey, Anthony, and Macavity Awards as well as the French Prix du Roman d'Aventure in a single year. In Postmortem, Cornwell introduced Dr. Kay Scarpetta as the intrepid Chief Medical Examiner of the Commonwealth of Virginia. In 1999, Dr. Scarpetta herself won the Sherlock Award for best detective created by an American author.

Following the success of her first novel, Cornwell has written a series of bestsellers featuring Kay Scarpetta, her detective sidekick Pete Marino and her brilliant and unpredictable niece, Lucy Farinelli, including: Body of Evidence (1991); All That Remains (1992); Cruel and Unusual (1993), which won Britain's prestigious Gold Dagger Award for the year's best crime novel; The Body Farm (1994); From Potter's Field (1995); Cause of Death (1996); Unnatural Exposure (1997); Point of Origin (1998); Black Notice (1999); The Last Precinct (2000); Blow Fly (2003); Trace (2004); Predator (2005); Book of the Dead (2007), which won the 2008 Galaxy British Book Awards' Books Direct Crime Thriller of the Year, making Cornwell the first American ever to win this award; Scarpetta (2008); The Scarpetta Factor (2009); Port Mortuary (2010); Red Mist (2011); The Bone Bed (2012); and Dust (2013). In 2011 Cornwell was awarded the Medal of Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters, one of France's most prestigious awards to honor those who have distinguished themselves in the domains of art or literature, or by their contribution to the development of culture in France and throughout the world.

In addition to the Scarpetta novels, she has written three best-selling books featuring Andy Brazil: Hornet's Nest (1996), Southern Cross (1998) and Isle of Dogs (2001); two cook books: Scarpetta's Winter Table (1998) and Food to Die For (2001); and a children's book: Life's Little Fable (1999). In 1997, Cornwell updated A Time for Remembering, which was reissued as Ruth, A Portrait: The Story of Ruth Bell Graham. Intrigued by Scotland Yard's John Grieve's observation that no one had ever tried to use modern forensic evidence to solve the murders committed by Jack the Ripper, Cornwell began her own investigation of the serial killer's crimes. In Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper--Case Closed (2002), she narrates her discovery of compelling evidence to indict the famous artist Walter Sickert as the Ripper.

In January 2006, the New York Times Magazine began a 15-week serialization of At Risk, featuring Massachusetts State Police investigator Win Garano and his boss, district attorney Monique Lamont. Its sequel, The Front, was serialized in the London Times in the spring of 2008. Both novellas were subsequently published as books and promptly optioned for adaptation by Lifetime Television Network, starring Daniel Sunjata and Andie MacDowell. The films made their debut in April 2010.

In April 2009, Fox acquired the film rights to the Scarpetta novels, featuring Angelina Jolie as Dr. Kay Scarpetta. Cornwell herself wrote and co-produced the movie ATF for ABC.

Often interviewed on national television as a forensic consultant, Cornwell is a founder of the Virginia Institute of Forensic Science and Medicine, a founding member of the National Forensic Academy, a member of the Advisory Board for the Forensic Sciences Training Program at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, NYC, and a member of the Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital's National Council, where she is an advocate for psychiatric research. She is also well known for her philanthropic contributions to animal rescue and criminal justice, as well as endowing college scholarships and promoting the cause of literacy on the national scene. Some of her projects include the establishment of an ICU at Cornell's Animal Hospital, the archaeological excavation of Jamestown and the scientific study of the Confederacy's submarine H.L. Hunley. Most recently, she donated a million dollars to Harvard's Fogg Museum to establish a chair in inorganic science.

Cornwell's books have been translated into 36 languages across more than 50 countries, and she is regarded as one of the major international best-selling authors. Her novels are praised for their meticulous research and an insistence on accuracy in every detail, especially in forensic medicine and police procedures. She is so committed to verisimilitude that, among other accomplishments, she became a helicopter pilot and a certified scuba diver, and qualified for a motorcycle license because she was writing about characters who were doing these things. "It is important to me to live in the world I write about," she often says. "If I want a character to do or know something, I want to do or know the same thing."

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

Related Media


Customer Reviews

I've read all her books and this is one I just can't seem to finish.
J. F. Lee
I have been a fan of Patricia Cornwell and the character of Scarpetta since the very first book.
M. Stepp
So boring, just too much detail that didn't matter to the story at hand.
Phyllis A. Freeman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

305 of 316 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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330 of 346 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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186 of 197 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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52 of 53 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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