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Trace (Kay Scarpetta #13)

3.74  ·  Rating Details  ·  23,056 Ratings  ·  666 Reviews
Trace is the heart-stopping new Dr. Kay Scarpetta thriller from America's number-one bestselling crime writer.

Now freelancing from South Florida, Dr. Kay Scarpetta returns to the city that turned its back on her five years ago. She travels to Richmond, Virginia, at the odd behest of the recently appointed Chief Medical Examiner who claims that he needs her help. When she a
Paperback, Large Print, 640 pages
Published October 1st 2005 by Large Print Press (first published 2004)
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MsEleanorMae I've read many Patricia Cornwell's - some I've not added as being read (until I reread). They are very easy to dip into in any order. The author adds…moreI've read many Patricia Cornwell's - some I've not added as being read (until I reread). They are very easy to dip into in any order. The author adds in just enough background information to get you up to speed. Try listening to one - even better.
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
This is the book, I would say, where the characters complete their transformation from interesting people with issues you can relate to, to characters who are doing things that are so screwed up you don't even want to watch anymore. And now I remember why I stopped reading this series.
Ana T.
Although I'm a big fan of Cornwell's Scarpetta series I had great trouble getting into this book.

Scarpetta goes back to Richmond after 5 years to help solve the case of a young girl found dead in her bed. She is called by the new Medical Examiner who reveals himself to be a less than competent man with a few skeletons in his closet. At the same time Benton is in Aspen trying to help a member of Lucy's team who was attacked in Lucy's house, having had to cancel the vacation plans he had with Scar
John Wiswell
Aug 17, 2007 John Wiswell rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Crime fiction lovers
Throw some sexual deviation and a few murders in there and I guess you'll have something that can sell, even if it's not worth writing. The killer this time is Edgar Allan Pogue, tragically child-like, suffering from familial trauma, like a thousand other postmodern murderers. Cornwell's insistence on present tense narrative is grating, and the ridiculous self-gratification of her main protagonist always being right and slighted anyway is done without humility or charm. The book is as bleak as a ...more
Jan 03, 2012 Labmom rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What is up with Patricia Cornwell? Her last book, "Blow Fly", sucked and this was not much better. Same problems as the last - huge unexplained plot holes, third person perspective, undeveloped minor characters. And what's worse, the last book ended with a cliff hanger that she ignored in this one and she just started a different track! Very Irritating! Her books used to be really tight with no holes, everything wrapped up nice and neat, and she always continued the story line until the bad guy ...more
Sep 14, 2012 Bekah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I just don't know. This is the second Scarpetta book I have read (admittedly out of order), and there's something I'm just not getting.

This one begins promisingly enough, with Kay and detective Pete Marino heading back to Virginia to help solve the mysterious death of a 14 year old girl. We meet some creepy people- the new chief medical examiner, for one, and our real bad guy, Edgar Allen Pogue.

"Trace" centers around trace evidence found at three seemingly unrelated crime scenes. One of these,
Elaine Roberts
Dec 06, 2012 Elaine Roberts rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I love the Scarpetta character, which is based on a real medical examiner. Generally, Cornwell produces the Scarpetta books with taut and compelling writing. But in this novel, the characters have become caricatures of themselves. Marino is more unpleasant than usual. As a former detective, he is a useful foil and clearly in love with the lovely Kay Scarpetta, but became unacceptably irascible and unlikable in this book.

I know authors can't hit a home run with every book, especially in a long-ru
Jun 17, 2009 Debbie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
OH MY GOD PLEASE STOP BOOHOOING ABOUT YOURSELF. The entire tone of this book was just so pity party that I couldn't even finish it. I had to put it down about a third of the way through. Where did the strong woman, who valued her mind and knew her capabilities go? I understand character developement, but why must the protagonist be such a WIMP?
Sarah ~
Oct 19, 2012 Sarah ~ rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012-reads
ما حداني لشراء وقراءة هذه الرواية هي حبي لكل من يكتب في الطب الشرعي..
وخاصة روايات المبدعة ..
كاثي رايكس .. وبطلتها د. تمب برينان ..

ولكن باتريشيا كورونويل لن تصل لمستوى كاثي رايكس..
لا أعني أن الرواية لم تكن جيدة ..
ولكنها لم تكن جيدة بشكل كافي بنظري...
فلا شيء يضاهي د. تمب..
ولا مغامراتها ...

Kathy Davie
Thirteenth in the Kay Scarpetta forensic mystery series and revolving around a freelance forensic pathologist. Trace involves a return to Richmond, Virginia, which had thrown Kay out on her ear five years ago.

My Take
I didn't care for the screenplay feel of the writing, although it wasn't actually that obnoxious. I simply dislike feeling as though the writer is providing instructions to the characters.

What a self-officious prick! I loved how Kay took Marcus down. Idiot. I don't know what Virginia
Jul 19, 2007 Stacy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
I've always been a huge Patricia Cornwell fan, especially of her Kay Scarpetta series. This book unfortunately was very dissapointing to me. It didn't seem to have much of the forensic investigation or murder investigations in it. In fact, all the murders had been commited by the start of the book. It's definately a take it or leave it book.
Mar 03, 2014 Michael rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Dr Scarpetta is portrayed once again as a superb analyst of both the human body and the enivronment in which she and her subjects reside. Marino continues as her foil but brings about a more germane touch to the human side of life as opposed to just the scientific world of forensics (which are as ever full of intriguing detail). We have three parallel stories evolving in this book. Scarpetta and Marino investigate the death of a young girl. Scarpetta's niece Lucy is in a world that to me seems u ...more
2.5 / 3 Stars

This really hurts because I loved the early books. I admit, I read those a long time ago, but I remember them being better. The old characters are all here, but they are all over the place. The only one remotely like himself was Marino. Lucy just pissed me off, Benton was ok, but the ending seemed really off. I'm not even sure how to describe Scarpetta. Somewhat like herself, but also not. Nostalgia had me reading this, but admit that it had me questioning what I loved about them be

Trace by Patricia Cornwell is a Scarpetta Novel. Patricia Cornwell writes this story in three settings like: South Florida; Richmond, Virginia; and also in Aspen. The story mostly takes place in Richmond, Virginia, in modern time. It’s written in third-person omniscient, but the story mainly revolves around Dr. Kay Scarpetta. Everyone calls her Scarpetta. The story starts when Scarpetta returns to Richmond after five years to help on a case.

I like this book because it is about solving cases and
Jul 06, 2010 Jerry rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Cornwell and Scarpetta should just gracefully retire !!

Patricia Cornwell is not on a good roll. Her atrocious non-Scarpetta "Isle of Dogs" was hardly redeemed by the weak return of Kay and Lucy in "Blowfly", wherein Scarpetta barely put in a cameo and Lucy took center stage (disguised as Wonder Woman), while poor Pete Marino was cast as little better than a bum and Benton Wesley was resurrected from the dead of all things.

At least in "Trace", half of the story is about Scarpetta, and though gro
As I recounted in my review of the book after this, Predator, I checked that book out of the library thinking it might be the one about which I'd read a review saying that finally the Scarpetta series was improving again, but after realizing what a piece of tripe that work is, checked out this one instead, as I'd initially been going to do.

It started out more promising than Predator - for one thing, it began with an actual mystery! - but quickly got bogged down in Lucy's personal problems. Back
Jul 29, 2011 Tammy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hated
I found this book while I was in Amsterdam a few weeks ago. It had just been released and I couldn't wait to get it in paperback so I got the brand new hardcover. I just couldn't wait to see if she will redeem herself in this book. After completely changing the style that she writes the Scarpetta series and being severely disappointed in her latest (Blow Fly) this is her chance to win me back. So far I'm not even halfway through but I'm not impressed. It's the same choppy story as the last one, ...more
Jan 16, 2014 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Dr. Scarpetta returns for her (lucky) 13th installment, with a case that has her return to Richmond to assist the Chief Medical Examiner. Newly liberated Marino accompanies her and they receive a less than warm welcome. A girl is deemed to have been murdered, but the circumstances surrounding it do not match up with what the mother is telling authorities and no one can determine what's been going on. While receiving the persona non grata treatment, both Scarpetta and Marino determine that someth ...more
Jun 30, 2012 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the reason I needed to start a goodreads account in the first place. To keep track of my ridiculous Patricia Cornwell addiction. I can never remember where I left off in the series and then halfway through a book I'll remember I've read it. Plus, I go through spurts of reading her, which complicates memory matters. So note to self: you've read this. In addition, this book was actually really good comparatively. Her first novels were ridiculously cheesy but now that I think about it, I'm ...more
Jun 04, 2009 Deb rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
This book wasn't as good as I was hoping it would be. The Last Precinct was a better read. There wasn't much action in this one, the characters weren't fleshed out very well at all, and the capture of the bad guy was very, very anti-climactic. I didn't even care much for Scarpetta in this book; her niece Lucy seemed to be a self-absorbed rich b***h; I don't know why she put certain characters in with others (she has Benton in Aspen "babysitting" Lucy's employee, who was attacked in Lucy's home). ...more
Apr 07, 2016 Daelith marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookcrossing
I give up on the Scarpetta series. I tried to get interested in this book, but I just can't. 76 pages into this and I'm just lost as I can be about this Henri character. I was already fed up with the series, so this confusing stuff with her wasn't helping any.

After seeing some of the other reviews here, I see I am not alone in my thinking of how this series has declined. I slogged through Blow Fly. No more. I don't even like the characters any more.

I have one other book in the series. I think
Dec 22, 2014 Wendy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Forensic pathologist Kay Scarpetta is called back to her old stomping grounds of Richmond, Virginia to consult on the mysterious death of a 14 year old girl. Joined by her good friend, Marino, the two set out to uncover the truth despite their presence not being completely welcome by the new chief medical examiner of the state. Meanwhile, Kay’s niece Lucy is working on her own investigation with the help of Benton and Rudy, trying to unravel the motive and identity of a possible stalker who atte ...more
Jules Goud
Probably one of my favourites of the Scarpetta series so far.

Kay never thought that she would go back to the city that kicked her out. Everyone else said that she shouldn't go. But she went for a fourteen year-old girl whose cause of death hasn't been determined. Kay goes back to find that a lot of things have changed.

We get a bunch of perspectives in this novel and I didn't mind that. The only one I had a problem with was Dr Marcus. Cornwell went to him once and didn't really come back to him.
Mar 22, 2014 Peggy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is something comforting about a Kay Scarpetta novel, as you know exactly what you are going to get, and let's face it, not many can do a pathologist at work solving a mystery quite like Patricia Cornwell. I know that she puts a lot of research into her her work. As I work in a mortuary environment with pathologists myself, I can truly tell you that her technical descriptions are mostly really accurate. The only major difference to 'real life' as I know it for pathologists is that they don' ...more
Jun 06, 2009 Merilee rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I read it because it was a Scarpetta novel. My expectations and reality did not match. This book was written more on par with the lady detective books Cornwell writes -- that I have never enjoyed. The writing style is so distinctly different. I don't know if I'll even bother to read another "new" Scarpetta novel.

I'm giving it a "1" because I actually read the entire thing... Cover to cover, hoping it would "get good" and being sorely disappointed.
Mar 31, 2014 Sharon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Generally a good story, my only complaint is the personal interactions between the main characters, but by the end of the book there seems to be promise that it will be improving. An example of what I struggle with in the characterizations .. in the beginning of the story, Kay is called back to Richmond as a consultant to help determine cause of death for a young 14-yr-old girl. As she and Merino drive through the city they go by the old morgue, the original one Kay worked in as Chief Medical Ex ...more
Melanie Cook
I enjoyed this, although I'm not sure if it's me, or if it's Kay Scarpetta, but these books just don't seem to be as gripping as they used to be.

I think I liked Kay a lot better as the CME than as a freelance person. And I don't like Lucy any more either. Maybe all that money went to her head, or something. But she was a lot more interesting a person when she was younger.
I've read a few of the Scarpetta novels over the years and have the idea that I liked them in my head.

This book seemed 100% as a "I need to produce a book this year" type of book. The plot alone of Kay returning to Virginia to help out is pretty far fetched. Then they introduce the new medical examiner, who is creepy, strange, and hostile. He really doesn't factor into the book at all, other than as adding some side intrigue...maybe he is being introduced so there is an opening for another book
Francesco Zampa
Jul 20, 2014 Francesco Zampa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
L'anatomopatologa dottoressa Kay Scarpetta ha lasciato il suo amato laboratorio a Richmond ed è ancora arrabbiata per come è stata allontanata, quasi fosse di troppo. Perciò si stupisce quando il suo successore, un uomo dal curriculum anonimo, la richiama per una consulenza. È tentata di rifiutare ma la sua professionalità ha la meglio. Il semplice caso di una quattordicenne morta per una crisi d'influenza a casa, invece, svela retroscena come una cipolla: uno dopo l'altro.
Già, altrimenti perch
May 18, 2012 Carmen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one was a bit disappointing. Dr. Scarpetta is called back to Virginia to consult on a case. She is not wanted by the present director. While there, she confronts some old demons, some memories she does not want to confront. Her niece, Lucy, gets into a problem due to a romantic issue. But Dr. Scarpetta is not really as well drawn as usual in this book.
Sep 09, 2012 Abdullah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
أحب دائماً أي مسلسل تلفزيوني يحمل عبارة


بغض النظر عن اسم المدينة ففي هذا النوع احترام لعقل المشاهد دعك عن الاثارة الموجودة فيها .. على عكس مسلسلاتنا التي تعج بالمشاكل والسخافات وبالطبع قبل أن أنسى (البويات) ومن غيرهن

قراءة رواية الأثر كأنها مشاهدة ممتعه لعدة حلقات من تلك المسلسلات وبأسلوب يختلف عن اسلوب كاتي ريكس المليء بغرور وعنجهية الرجل الأبيض

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The Women's Myste...: #13 Trace 1 4 Aug 09, 2013 10:43PM  
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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 24 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)

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