From Library Journal
Following the disappointing Cruel and Unusual (Scribner, 1993), one wondered whether Cornwell was getting bored with her popular Kay Scarpetta series. After all, that novel featured a tired, confused plot and cardboard characters. But, happily, Cornwell is back at the top of her form here. Sure, there are still the red herrings and the plot contrivances, but what makes The Body Farm stand out is the deeper characterizations, especially in the depiction of Scarpetta's relationship with her troubled niece, Lucy. "It seems this is all about people loving people who don't love them back," says Scarpetta, referring to the murder of an 11-year-old girl, which she is investigating as an FBI consultant. But this is also the novel's haunting theme: homicide detective Pete Morino, jealous of Scarpetta's affair with FBI Unit Chief Benton Wesley, becomes involved with the dead girl's mother; Lucy, in love with a calculating fellow FBI student, is accused of violating agency security. Emotionally satisfying reading.--Wilda Williams, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Cornwell's name on the cover of a book virtually guarantees both instant best-seller status and enthusiastic raves from reviewers and readers alike. Her latest story is no exception, as popular heroine Dr. Kay Scarpetta is called in to help investigate the brutal slaying of an 11-year-old girl. Scarpetta believes the child may have been the victim of Temple Gault, a macabre, demented serial killer who remains at large despite Scarpetta's determined efforts to track him down. It turns out that Scarpetta is at least partly right about Gault, but the child's death is more complicated and horrifying than even the I can't be surprised anymore Scarpetta can imagine. Cornwell's plot is visceral, graphic, and frightening in a way that's vaguely reminiscent of Silence of the Lambs
. Her writing is masterful, and she provides evocative backgrounds, provocative characters, and enough ghoulish specifics about autopsies and dead bodies to induce weeks of nightmares. Scarpetta, as usual, is a tenacious, principled investigator who's the one voice of reason in a story fraught with bizarre unreason. This deserves a place in every mystery collection. Emily Melton