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Postmortem (Kay Scarpetta Mysteries) Mass Market Paperback


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Product Details

  • Series: Kay Scarpetta Mysteries
  • Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Star; Reprint edition (December 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439148120
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439148129
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 4.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (344 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,847 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

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

Customer Reviews

I like the character, Kay Scarpetta.
Kathryn Duck
I did, however, enjoy the plot very much and was not able to figure out who the serial killer was until the end.
Bookworm Bunny
The story was good and well written with fully developed characters.
songbirdsue

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 42 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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44 of 49 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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9 of 9 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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