Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Dust (Kay Scarpetta, #21)” as Want to Read:
Dust (Kay Scarpetta, #21)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Dust (Kay Scarpetta #21)

3.45 of 5 stars 3.45  ·  rating details  ·  9,351 ratings  ·  1,213 reviews
Massachusetts Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta has just returned from working one of the worst mass murders in U.S. history when she’s awakened at an early hour by Detective Pete Marino.

A body, oddly draped in an unusual cloth, has just been discovered inside the sheltered gates of MIT and it’s suspected the identity is that of missing computer engineer Gail Shipton,
Hardcover, 512 pages
Published November 12th 2013 by G.P. Putnam's Sons (first published January 1st 2013)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Dust, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Kathleen Sara Shattuck Thanks for the heads up... I won't waste my time on any more of her books. I forced myself to struggle through The Bone Bed...all the same repetitive…moreThanks for the heads up... I won't waste my time on any more of her books. I forced myself to struggle through The Bone Bed...all the same repetitive narrative nonsense. No mystery there.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Why do I keep doing this to myself? The last 10 books have been exactly the same. Every man "wants" the beautiful and smart Scarpetta. The bizarre killings/crimes are always committed to impress or taunt Scarpetta, Benton or Lucy. Scarpetta is always hungry but never has time to eat. Lucy has a new toy that she invented. Scarpetta, Lucy and Benton continue to feel superior to everyone and talk crap about Marino. Marino is jealous of Benton. Scarpetta uses a thousand acronyms. Lucy has a new car. ...more
Kyle Wendy Skultety (
Interminable. Horrendous. Boring. Annoying. This series is nothing like the old Scarpettas, where she would actually talk more about the crazed killer and spend time tracking him or her down. These new books are full of internal monologues where Kay wonders what Lucy is doing, what Benson is dealing with, why Marino is the way he is, and lots of dialog where everyone speaks disingenuously and never shares their deepest thoughts.

Lucy trusted someone and was let down again. Benson is having troubl
I am really concerned that I read a totally different book than the other reviewers.... Where to start? What Dust needs is an editor and a plot. This book was absolutely everything I can't stand about what the Kay Scarpetta series has become in one 500 page novel. Implausible timing, totally no character development, and a storyline that takes less than 50 pages to wrap up with a neat, tidy bow. If this was a book by any other author, I would have stopped, but as a Scarpetta series fan I felt I ...more
Carol Jean
Did someone hit Patricia Cornwell in the head while she was writing this? I've never been a big fan of her harsh, unpleasant world filled with unusually disturbed killers, but this book isn't even well written. I can't resist quoting:

"Lucy does her best not to show what she feels. Anger, embarrassment, picked on, and hurt..." Should that not be "Angry, embarrassed..."

"I worry about reporters calling him and he blurts out to them what he did to me." Just "huh"??? I know what she is trying to say,
Nancy Geary
According to the book description, this is the 21st Scarpetta book I've read, and most likely my last. I've been annoyed at the direction the series is going for the past 2-3 books, but always said I'll give it "one more book."
Clocking in at 495 pages, at least 100 of them back story, it was a labor to read. The mainstay characters have become 2D paper doll cut-outs of the ones I've loved over the years in earlier books. They have no chemistry and their interaction is stilted and painful to read
Liz Wilkins
I had written a full review for one of the previous Scarpetta books explaining why, after so many years of loving them I had finally, reluctantly decided to give up so I won't go into all that again. I was persuaded back into Dust by someone who told me the series had picked up and was looking more like itself.

To be clear the rating I have given this one is based on the first quarter of the book only - at which point I just lost the will to live and (reluctantly again) put it aside.

The star is f
*Sigh* I really want to like the Kay Scarpetta series again. I had a really hard time getting into this one, but I kept finding myself drifting off, realizing I had "read" several pages and had no idea what I read. 512 pages that takes place over 24 hours. 512 pages of rambling on about nothing.

The characters are flat. At least she stopped writing Marino as a cop turned bad biker. There is no chemistry between Kay, Marino or Benton. And no character development of any other characters. I often
Eva Bradshaw-Burnett
This is Patricia Cornwell at her possible worst, if you don't count her immediate, post Jack the Ripper book. This is what most of you want to read, so I have edited my post accordingly. Whatever I have written below this is irrelevant. The books a bomb. It is a terrible read. No one should read this book, according to the majority if you, so obviously, I have no reading comprehension as well as no idea what a good book should be.

Despite that I have read all of Pat Cornwell's books, and that I d

Good points: As a writer, Cornwell has never been better. It's the writing that kept me reading, not the plot (which is a mess), or the characters.

Irritations: At least 100 extra pages of repetitious blah-blah about the past, Scarpetta's perspectives on various characters, unnecessary, adds-nothing technological details. And on and on. Just because you can write well doesn't mean you shouldn't edit. A leaner story would have made this a good Cornwell book.

What's more--I thought the
Jim Cunningham
Verbose, wordy; reading this Scarpetta novel was like wading through mud. The plot, as always, was good, hence the single star. But, why use three paragraphs to say what another writer could just as intrestingly say in a couple of sentences ... or even one? And, enough beating up on Merino for being Merino. He is what he is and he is a good investigator. In addition to making him sound like a man-ape, in this read Cornwell makes him sound like he is incompetent as a detective. The first three ch ...more
Maja (The Nocturnal Library)
I should say, in the interest of full disclosure, that I grew up with the Kay Scarpetta series. I started reading it in my early teens and stayed with it through good times and bad, several awful books and many spectacular ones, deaths, disasters, epidemics, and many, many tears. To say that I’m a bit biased is an understatement; after 21 installment, these characters are practically family, their hurts are mine and their successes something I celebrate with a smile and a full heart.

Shelly Blackmore
Just wasn't feeling this one. After the last book I thought Cornwell was back on track and that the series would pick back up again, but she went back to the first person (which for some reason Kay Scarpetta in first person comes off week and whiney to me)and I was disappointed to say the least. A nearly 500 page book could have been shaved by at least a 150 pages due to over-describing of situations, procedures, the sky, a twig. I found my mind wondering, and had to go back and re-read paragrap ...more
I think it is time for Kay Scarpetta and I to say goodbye. I did not really enjoy this book at all, in fact for the first 100 pages I hated it! However then the story started and that almost redeemed it. I felt that the author could have written an excellent book if she had left out all the self indulgent waffle about food and restaurants and dogs and places she has been to in the past. I have also grown to really dislike her characters. All of them. I don't think she likes them very much any mo ...more
I have always been a big fan of Patricia Cornwell and have read every Scarpetta book to date. And needless to say, this book did not disappoint. I loved the references to previous books and events within Scarpetta, Marino, Lucy and Benton's life. But you don't have to have read the other books necessarily to follow the story. FBI corruption, Marino taking on a new, but old role, murder, intrigue, you name it...classic Patricia Cornwell. I feel like writing about every little thing within the boo ...more
Khamneithang Vaiphei
With Dust, Patricia Cornwell returns to the story of Kay Scarpetta in the twenty-first installment of her wildly popular series. Dr Kay Scarpetta is the chief medical examiner and the director of the Cambridge Forensic Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she even coaxes the truth out of dead bodies.

It’s Wednesday, December 19, and at the stroke of 4:02 in the morning Kay Scarpetta sits up in bed her sleep violated by the ringing phone. She was tired, and technically she’s still out sick. S
L.A. Starks
If you like Patricia Cornwell's many books, and I do, you should read this one.

From another author, this would be a five-star book. However, I've chosen to rate DUST against a much higher and narrower standard--that of the rest of Cornwell's oeuvre.

Cornwell's writing is excellent, as always. And I appreciate that this book is free of the distracting political agendas that mar recent books by her and other authors.

My only concern was that the book started so slowly, and with so much introspectio
I can't resist another Kay Scarpetta story. they are always full of drama & suspence. I enjoyed this book but I do think it drug on in parts of it & that's always daunting when you're reading a book of this size. I don't see how the Newtown tragedy tied into this story at all besides it saying that she was there. .... No relation to the overall story but that's one of the first things it says in the book excerpt. But the gist of the story progressed enough that I wanted to stick with it ...more
Gala Kline
I think this book could have been a lot shorter if she took out all the psychology of how everyone else felt. The story is a very good one but gets bogged down with whats Kay is feeling and analyzing how and why everyone else feels. I found myself skipping over a lot to get to the story and who did it.
This Scarpetta Novel is a good mystery, and that is nothing new for fans. I find myself impatient with the backstories and the countless times that Marino's low self-esteem is mentioned, as if we need to be convinced by the repetition of this fact. Scarpetta is superficial in a self-chosen way, and Marino just never even got that far in his development. Scarpetta's personality analyses leave much to be desired. Her crime-site analyses are spot-on, interesting and brilliant. There is much to enjo ...more
Sad to say, I think I'm done with this series - it has lost it's freshness and I find I don't care for the characters anymore. I've given the last few books 'one more chance', but just haven't enjoyed them.
Dianne Payne
Okay, that's it, I'm done. I really mean it this time. That was my last Scarpetta book. I didn't think it could get any worse than Blowfly, but Cornwell just had to go and prove me wrong.
I realise that when it comes to books everyone has different tastes and whether or not a book is "good" is very subjective but I honestly do not know how anyone could rate this book at 5 stars. The only explanation that I could come up with are that they are people who either read very few books or who are such
I really liked this latest thriller by Patricia Cornwell. It has a bit of everything in it, besides murder and mayhem, including white collar crime, government corruption and also the author digs a bit deeper into the psyches of her main character: Kay Scarpetta, Benton Wesley, Pete Marino, and Kay's niece Lucy. Once I actually started the book (three days ago) it was extremely hard to put down.
I don't know what is happening with Patricia Cornwell's last few books,they are just plain not very good, you spend most of the book at one crime scene really going nowhere, I really struggled to get through it and I thought Bone Dust was dragging on and on, this one was just as bad, it makes it bad because her earlier works were very good, I miss that kind of book from her.
Melanie Metz
I am so conflicted in writing this review.. As a long- standing fan of this series I am still rooting for Patricia Cornwell to return these characters and her writing to its roots. I miss the plot twists and the suspense of her early works so badly that even as I am disappointed with each new book, I still remember how incredible they once were and could be again! I find myself making excuses for plot holes and inconsistencies like a mother protecting her child. While I do think this book is bet ...more
To really enjoy this series, you need to read from the beginning. Patricia Cornwell builds her characters into people that you can have strong feelings for... Some good. Others not so good .
Good plot ...BUT....story could have been told in 150 fewer pages. Too much philosophizing.
Just maybe (I hope, I hope), the good old Patricia Cornwell is back - finally! Frankly, I've grown a bit weary of the trials and travails of Massachusetts Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta of late - she who is put-upon by everyone, long-suffering and overthinks everything from why her FBI profiler husband Benton Wesley's pinkie finger twitched to the right to why her doc Sock refused to do his morning poo in the usual spot.

This one started out in that vein, making me groan out loud, "Please,
I liked the story, but I think it bogged down in the first several chapters with the "examination" of Marino and where he fits or does not fit any more with Scarpetta's team. We meet a reinvented Marino, returning to the police force and Scarpetta being miffed at the way he left - suddenly. The obsession with Marino in these books has been over the top lately - all focusing on the drunken attempt of Marino confessing his feelings and passion for Scarpetta - several books ago, I might add. I don' ...more
Kathy Davie
Twenty-first in the Kay Scarpetta mystery series and revolving around a forensic pathologist and her FBI agent profiling husband. The story is set in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

My Take
A much better story than the last Kay Scarpetta I read, but I do feel as though I've missed a story what with all the drama about Pete Marino. And I find myself hoping he can't make out with the Cambridge PD and comes crawling back to Kay!

That said, this is a rather pissy book. Everyone's getting pissy with someone.
Medical examiner Kay Scarpetta has an abundance of troubles: she's traumatized after the Newtown, Connecticut school shootings; she's recovering from a bad flu; her head investigator Pete Marino has bailed on her; her FBI profiler husband - Benton Wesley - is on the outs with his boss; and a serial killer seems to be at work in Cambridge, Massachusetts where she lives.

As usual in Patricia Cornwell's series, Kay and Benton are in the cross-hairs of self-serving or demented bad guys - and have to
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Where does this fit in series chronology? 14 67 Jan 20, 2015 11:47PM  
2015 Reading Chal...: Dust by Patricia Cornwell 1 17 Dec 30, 2014 04:32PM  
  • Death Angel (Alexandra Cooper, #15)
  • Bones of  the Lost  (Temperance Brennan, #16)
  • Hunting Eve (Eve Duncan, #17)
  • Guilt (Alex Delaware, #28)
  • The Beast (Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus, #21)
  • Unseen (Will Trent, #7)
  • Cross My Heart (Alex Cross, #21)
  • The Whispers (The Whispers, #1)
  • City of Whispers
  • The Final Cut (A Brit in the FBI, #1)
  • Storm Front  (Virgil Flowers, #7)
  • The 9th Girl (Kovac and Liska, #4)
  • Compound Fractures (Alan Gregory, #20)
  • Deadly Stakes (Ali Reynolds, #8)
  • The Gods of Guilt (Mickey Haller, #5)
  • Accused (Rosato & DiNunzio, #1)
Patricia Cornwell sold her first novel, Postmortem, in 1990 while working as a computer analyst at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond, Virginia. Postmortem, was the first bona fide forensic thriller. It paved the way for an explosion of entertainment featuring in all things forensic across film, television and literature.

Postmortem would go on to win the Edgar, Creasey, Anthony,
More about Patricia Cornwell...

Other Books in the Series

Kay Scarpetta (1 - 10 of 23 books)
  • Postmortem (Kay Scarpetta, #1)
  • Body of Evidence (Kay Scarpetta, #2)
  • All That Remains (Kay Scarpetta, #3)
  • Cruel & Unusual (Kay Scarpetta, #4)
  • The Body Farm (Kay Scarpetta, #5)
  • From Potter's Field (Kay Scarpetta, #6)
  • Cause of Death (Kay Scarpetta, #7)
  • Unnatural Exposure (Kay Scarpetta, #8)
  • Point of Origin (Kay Scarpetta, #9)
  • Black Notice (Kay Scarpetta, #10)
Postmortem (Kay Scarpetta, #1) Cruel & Unusual (Kay Scarpetta, #4) The Body Farm (Kay Scarpetta, #5) Body of Evidence (Kay Scarpetta, #2) Point of Origin (Kay Scarpetta, #9)

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“You don’t get over it, I think. Some things you won’t get over, not ever, you can’t . . .” 3 likes
“She can love one minute and feel nothing the next, not even anger or pain, because after a while those, too, will pass.” 3 likes
More quotes…