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The Bone Bed (A Scarpetta Novel) Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Series: A Scarpetta Novel (Book 20)
  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult; First Edition edition (October 16, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780399157561
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399157561
  • ASIN: 0399157565
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.5 x 1.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,573 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,833 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

On the same day she receives a mystifying video e-mail about an American anthropologist missing in Canada, Kay Scarpetta retrieves a woman’s body from Massachusetts Bay (after disentangling it from a massive sea turtle) and testifies at the trial of a billionaire industrialist accused of murdering his missing wife. Disparate cases tend to connect in crime fiction, and soon Scarpetta—with her chief investigator, Pete Marino, temporarily sidelined—is searching for what her husband, FBI profiler Benton Wesley, believes to be a serial killer. Unfortunately, one of the cases doesn’t quite fit the pattern. And then there’s Scarpetta herself, now feeling both her age and some friction in her marriage. She’s gazing appreciatively at younger men, including her newly hired deputy at the Cambridge Forensic Center, Dr. Luke Zenner, while Wesley admits that his younger female partner is in love with him and has tried to lure him to bed. Which distracts Scarpetta when the killer, inevitably, targets her. Cornwell’s forensics are fine, but she still seems to be struggling to recover the freshness and verve that formerly distinguished the Scarpetta series. Longtime fans may not be bothered, but others may find reading this more a duty than a pleasure. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: As the twentieth entry in the Kay Scarpetta series, this is bound to be promoted heavily. Shortcomings aside, it extends the personal stories of a handful of characters whom fans have followed for years. --Michele Leber

Review

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

The New York Times Book Review

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

Not enough plot or character development.
Rosemary R. Cameron
Way too much detail was written that just seemed like page filler having very little to nothing to do wit the excruciating slow development of the story.
Paulois
When I start reading her books it's hard to put them down.
cp

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

191 of 204 people found the following review helpful By Elise on October 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What can I say about Scarpetta number twenty? I didn't dislike the book, but in my opinion, Cornwell has yet to produce a follow-up book that is in anyway comparable to the quality of her first six to eight books. This review does contain a few mild spoilers!

Before I air my complaints, I will give credit where credit is due. Bone Bed reintroduces readers to the Kay Scarpetta they met in Virginia. For the first time in I don't know how many books, Scarpetta is back in her diving gear and working the crime scenes like she used too. That is the one thing I really appreciated about this book. Kay is sharp. I had forgotten what an impressive investigator she could be. As she goes through a crime scene, very little escapes her attention. Her intelligence, ambition, and compassion are magnetic. I can't speak for everyone, but that is the character that captured my attention and held my interest in 90s.

With that said, I found her supporting characters highly annoying and redundant. Marino and Benton are still stuck in a downward spiral of regret and resentment. I know that real life issues (you know, your average faked death and attempted rape) don't go away over night, but I think Cornwell has taken it to a level that is entirely unnecessary. I for one, am very tired of hearing the sad song that refuses to end. Benton played dead; Mario got drunk and tried to play hooky. Naturally, these flaws in character will keep the two of them from being best friends and undoubtably leave some skeletons in the closet, but Cornwell has strung it out to the degree that she has allowed it to monopolize the chemistry that made the characters so captivating in the beginning.

Another issue I had with this book is that I felt like I had read it already.
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107 of 113 people found the following review helpful By Carla J. Schroder on October 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Cornwell's Scarpetta books have always had their flaws, like Kay's enemies never getting their comeuppance, and Kay's addiction to being betrayed and the world champion victim even as she is supposed to be so awesome smart and powerful. Other annoyances are continual buildups to climaxes that never happen, for example Marino threatening to stroke out over every little thing, and Lucy's non-stop drama over nothing (geez Lucy is obnoxious), and characters and subplots that get introduced, are a big deal, and then are dropped and never resolved. But the complex plots, good action, and complex trails of clues were enjoyable and interesting. Then along about "Point of Origin" the Scarpetta series slid off the rails and never made it back. Benton Wesley died, but then miraculously came back in "Blow Fly." But in the interim anything that was halfway interesting about him was lost, and he became a stiff wooden bore.

In "Blow Fly" Cornwell changed from writing in the first-person from Scarpetta's viewpoint to a weird present-tense third person. It's a rambling shapeless stream-of-consciousness, and "Blow Fly" is the last Scarpetta book I read to the end. I've tried every one since, and they all lose me in the first few chapters.

"Bone Bed" is billed as a comeback, a return to the old Scarpetta, Cornwell getting back on track. Nah. Don't think so. It's back to first-person Kay, but it's still rambling stream-of-consciousness. It starts out with Kay working alone in her sleek new office, and she's all agitated and freaked out because it sounds like someone is prowling in the building, and nobody else is supposed to be there. So does she get up and look? No, she just sits and frets. Then Lucy comes in, and Kay freaks out some more.
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196 of 218 people found the following review helpful By T.B. Grant TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 17, 2012
Format: Hardcover
"The Bone Bed" by Patricia Cornwell
Published by Putnam
Hardcover Edition: 463 pages
Genre: Mystery

Maybe Cornwell needed to write the last eight Scarpetta novels to get where she is now: back to basics. Back to where avid readers of the series remember the true Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Kay Scarpetta: a resilient, no-nonsense, vulnerable human being.

The Bone Bed, the 20th novel in the ongoing Scarpetta series, is a solid, riveting return and homage to the early years. The novel is also a much more personal journey for Scarpetta. She struggles with aging in a raw intensity like we have never seen before. In a past squabble that occurred between she and husband, Benton, she recalls that night in Vienna: "I feel Benton's implications like an internal injury, a depressing symptom of being damaged..."

The image of Scarpetta's psychologist friend, Anna Zenner, a "confidante of old," brings readers back to that quiet time in an earlier book, "The Last Precinct", where the two strong, independent women sat in Anna's living room, recalling tales of yesteryear, their professional and private lives, and Scarpetta's unclear future in forensic science.

And the recent dark case she investigates in Boston's harbor is reminiscent of another earlier mystery: when Scarpetta dived deep into the cold waters in 1996's "Cause of Death".

As Scarpetta connects the dots in her newest horrifying exposition to date, she realizes just how grisly murder can be. Working on a riddle involving a severed human ear, an endangered leatherback turtle, and a dead, almost mummified woman in Boston's cold bay waters, Scarpetta comes face to face with a ruthless killer and a past fueled with unspeakable cruelty.
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