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Postmortem (Kay Scarpetta) Mass Market Paperback – December 30, 2003


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Cornwell, a former reporter who has worked in a medical examiner's office, sets her first mystery in Richmond, Va. Chief medical officer for the commonwealth of Virginia, Dr. Kay Scarpetta, the narrator, dwells on her efforts to identify "Mr. Nobody," the strangler of young women. The doctor devotes days and nights to gathering computer data and forensic clues to the killer, although she's hampered by male officials anxious to prove themselves superior to a woman. Predictably, Scarpetta's toil pays off, but not before the strangler attacks her; a reformed male chauvinist, conveniently nearby, saves her. Although readers may be naturally disposed to admire Scarpetta and find the novel's scientific aspect interesting, they are likely to be put off by her self-aggrandizement and interminable complaints, annoying flaws in an otherwise promising debut.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

This award-winning novel based on Richmond's real-life "South Side Strangler" case introduced Virginia's chief medical examiner, Kay Scarpetta, and launched Cornwell's career. Narrator Lorelei King generally has a pleasant reading voice and uses good pacing to build suspense. However, this is not a successful merger of book and reader for American ears. Listeners may be confused to hear that Kay wears "cocky" (khaki), for instance, and accenting the second syllable of such words as modem and condom distract the listener from the story. Furthermore, the voices of supporting characters (such as Marino, a "stoopid" New Jersey cop, and Lucy, a fussy Southern child) are stereotypical. Fortunately, an unabridged version of Postmortem is available from several other producers, including Recorded Books (Audio Reviews, LJ 2/15/94). Not recommended.?Juleigh Muirhead Clark, Williamsburg, Va.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Kay Scarpetta
  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books (December 30, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743477154
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743477154
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (399 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #986,947 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Customer Reviews

I like the character, Kay Scarpetta.
Amazon Customer
The story was good and well written with fully developed characters.
songbirdsue
I look forward to reading her next book in the series.
Sharon Latocha

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 45 people found the following review helpful By lusty22 on June 12, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I just completed the "KAY SCARPETTA" series for the second time and let me tell you, it was awesome!! The only thing I did differently was I read them in order. This book, "POSTMORTEM" is first in the series and it is suspensful and absolutely thrilling. You really fall for the protagonist, Kay, and want to read for the sake of learning about her life as well as for solving the mystery. Patricia Cornwell is a most talented author. She draws you in like no other and I am always sorry when one of her books (this series only) end. Her books can be dark and a bit gruesome, but they are not overly disturbing as they have such redeeming qualities. The horror described is for a reason and goes with the territory of Kay's career. It is never just to shock like some books. Kay is an honorable lady, and very complex. The mysteries and scandals she is involved in make you feel like you are involved too. They are very consuming and entertaining. Be prepared to put everything aside when you pick up this book!!
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45 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Kori Frazier on June 30, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
After reading Patricia Cornwell's "Unnatural Exposure" I was so drawn to her writing style and characters that I decided I had to have more. So, I took it upon myself to add "Postmortem" to my library of suspense novels. Although I am new to Cornwell's books, I think that this may be one of the best books I have ever read. The way she uses her medical knowledge and background to create the plot and characters amazes me, and the story itself was so real that each chapter sent me on a rampage throughout my house to make sure that all the doors and windows were locked! I am a high school English student planning on becoming a writer myself, and I believe that Patricia Cornwell has given me an excellent role model to look at in my own writing endeavors. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys suspenseful reading and forensic mysteries....as long as you can keep the fact that it is only a book in your mind....
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By "blackelric" on February 9, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I do not usually read "popular" mystery, serial killer, writers.These writers seem to be multiplying like rabbits these days. I had Cornwell in this category. But then I saw a Prime Time or a 20/20 show, that did a segment on Patricia Cornwell. The segement detailed her 4 million dollar quest to forensically unmask the identity of Jack the Ripper. Ms. Cornwell's postmortem on the Ripper evidence seemed credible. Suffice it to say I was impressed enough to go out and purchase her book. Unfortunately I was not impressed with Postmortem. I can accept that this was not meant to be a traditional whodunit. I can accept meeting Mr. Nobody only at the end. In a way this is more realistic. Real life does not tend to conform to neat mystery novel patterns. But Ms, Cornwell"s book fails in the most basic of elements, characterization. Kay lacks an inner life, we just do not get to know her. I liked the sense of the lonely midlife professional who has not lived up to her parent's expectation, but I needed more. I know this is the first in a series, but compare it to James Lee Burke's Neon Rain or Thomas Harris' Red Dragon, and you will find Cornwell several scapel cuts below in the character development department. I will read Cornwell's Body of Evidence simply because I bought it when I picked up the first book. But I am not encouraged by the many other reviewers who have written that Postmortem is Cornwell's best effort.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Danielle Nastas on May 2, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Postmortem Book Review

In Richmond, Virginia chief medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta uncovers brutal rapes and murders of four unlucky women. Each one is different from the other, except for the fact that they each live alone. With the help of new forensic research, her "partner" Marino, and other specialists, she uncovers the killer and how he picks his victims. She has to be careful though, there is sabotage within the company and a killer is after her.

Postmortem is a very enjoyable read. It is the first book in the Dr. Kay Scarpetta series that Patricia Cornwell wrote. The book has to do with forensic science, a couple of main character, a very intense plot, and an overwhelming mystery that is powerful and that keeps you looking for clues. For the first book that Patricia Cornwell has written it is good, however if you do not like the book I recommend you read some other books in the Dr. Kay Scarpetta series. As the series progress the books get better and better. When compared to the other books that she has written this book is average. It is intense yet it does not have that bang like the other books have. I also do not like the dialogue that is in this book. It is a little fake for me, and after reading the other books in the series it does not compare. However, Postmortem keeps you on the edge of your seat, it is a great thriller that will keep you interested and wanting more. I would recommend this book and the series to anyone who enjoys a great thriller and mystery.

The book Postmortem deals with death and forensic science. With these two factors combined a mystery is solved by science and technology. When someone is murder in this book an autopsy is performed.
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