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Book of the Dead (Kay Scarpetta, #15)
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Book of the Dead (Kay Scarpetta #15)

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3.62  ·  Rating Details ·  21,590 Ratings  ·  1,274 Reviews
Kay Scarpetta faces a string of the most baffling and terrifying crimes of her career in the extraordinary new novel from Americas #1 bestselling crime writer. The book of the dead is the morgue log in which all cases are entered by hand. For Scarpetta, however, it is about to have a new meaning.
Hardcover, 511 pages
Published October 23rd 2007 by Putnam Adult (first published 2007)
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Ilya Tr In my opinion, if you read this book first, you may not want to read any more books from Scarpetta series :-). It could be read by itself, but it…moreIn my opinion, if you read this book first, you may not want to read any more books from Scarpetta series :-). It could be read by itself, but it would be impossible to understand some subtleties of relationships between characters.
This is an OK novel, in my opinion, but far from the best. I would really recommend starting from the early books.

I think, starting with highly promoted "Predator" the series went downhill for some time. It felt like P. Cornwell just ran out of "mystery" ideas in her novels. It became increasingly about Scarpetta herself with culmination in "Scarpetta" novel ( I had to force myself to stick with it and finish). K. Scarpetta is the worthy character developed over 15 or so novels, but the "Scarpetta" novel was just unnecessary, in my opinion. "Book of the Dead" came just before the "Scarpetta" and still was on the down slope.

"Black Notice" and "Last Precinct" are the must read from P. Cornwell, and in that particular order. Novels before them were very good as well. This series needs to be started earlier. Books in the series are somewhat connected, not by story lines, but by character relationships.(less)
Postmortem by Patricia CornwellCruel & Unusual by Patricia CornwellUnnatural Exposure by Patricia CornwellThe Body Farm by Patricia CornwellBody of Evidence by Patricia Cornwell
Best of Patricia Cornwell Books
14th out of 28 books — 41 voters
Too Much Information by David  HaskellReckless Endangerment by Amber Lea EastonRiptide by Amber Lea EastonSon of a Serial Killer by Jams N. RosesBlue Coyote Motel by Dianne Harman
Recommended Thriller/Suspense
276th out of 796 books — 979 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Heidi
Jan 04, 2008 Heidi rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: NO ONE
This book was terrible! What a waste of time! Last winter I got turned onto Cornwell and I read all of her books in order. The first few were SO incredibly riveting and I really enjoyed them. This book however showed a complete melt down of all the characters. Kay has been completely shrunk down and doesn't seem like the same person she was in the beginning. The switch to third person was a terrible move. I liked it better when it was just the body and the evidence and they had to go from there. ...more
Lain
Mar 20, 2008 Lain rated it it was ok
Ugh.

Why is it that when an author becomes as famous as Patricia C. that suddenly the editors are afraid to say when something is awful???

Even if they didn't love the book and thought the plot was ridiculous and the characters unbelievable, you'd think at LEAST they'd make the author eliminate some of the repetitive comments (if all the repetition in this book were eliminated, it would be cut by at least a third. A third. I mean, a third.)

And WHY is everyone so angry all the time? I know their jo
...more
Amanda
Apr 09, 2008 Amanda rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Scarpetta fans with a lot of patience and tolerance
This book gets a three because I like the series as a whole, will probably always like it, and will keep reading until she either dies or ends the series. I liked the fact that there was new Kay Scarpetta material, I guess. I also like that she has her own office and facility again - that whole Florida episode was just odd.

What I don't like is the fact that Cornwell insists on making every single major character completely miserable all the time. Can't someone be at least reasonably content for
...more
Debi Gerbasi
Dissapointed. PC had the perfect chance with this book, this storyline to bring the characters full circle. The team of Scarpetta, Marino, Lucy and Wesley is coming apart at the seams. Using Dr Self and the animous she has for Kay (kept waiting for that to blow...never happened), and manipulating Marino.....Rose being so prominent. What's with Scarpetta crying for the bird that flys into the window but lets her longtime friend and partner sink. Then he goes over the edge damn near to the point o ...more
Danielle
Dec 21, 2007 Danielle rated it did not like it
Shelves: adult
So, technically I didn't finish it. But I read 200 pages of it, so I feel somewhat qualified to say that this book fails in many ways.

I love old-school Patricia Cornwell. I have read The Body Farm numerous times. I love From Potter's Field, All that Remains, etc. She's what got me hooked on Forensic Files, American Justice, and later CSI:. She writes wonderfully, her stories were vivid and terrifying - or at least they used to be.

Her last few books, beginning with the book Blow Fly have been dr
...more
Christine
Feb 14, 2009 Christine rated it did not like it
This is one of the worst books I've ever suffered through. Rich finally asked me why I was still reading it after i exclaimed aloud for the umpteenth time about how awful it was, and all I could do to explain was talk about how much I enjoyed the early books she wrote and how I couldn't believe how it kept getting worse and I had to see how it panned out. Awful. The early ones really were fun, technically interesting, interesting characters, decently written (never anything amazing), thrilling a ...more
Athena
Jan 09, 2009 Athena rated it did not like it
No More Cornwell.

In my opinion this has got to be one of the worst books Cornwell has written.
Ok, I understand that the story have to do with people who have serious psychological problems but it seems that Cornwell decided to make all the characters ……. really mad.
Kay Scarpetta is an unhappy and boring woman. She does not have a life and even the relationship with her fiancée seems to be “strictly” professional. It is a mystery to me why men fall in love with her. She should have some charismas
...more
Joanie
Jan 01, 2008 Joanie rated it liked it
I read this book because I've read the whole Kay Scarpetta series, but I'm a little dismayed. I dunno if Cornwell is tired of these characters or is having a hard time in her own life, but she's turned these characters into such bitter, screwed up freaks that the books are getting depressing. If I hadn't invested myself in these people several books ago, there's no way I would've bothered to finish this, I think. The murder mystery part of it was interesting, but it wasn't enough to distract fro ...more
Quillracer
Feb 10, 2014 Quillracer rated it did not like it
I gave up reading the Scarpetta series 20 pages into this book when I realized I didn't give a you-know-what about the fate of the characters--didn't care if they lived or died. I gave it 1 star just to give it a rating, but in my opinion, it doesn't even deserve that.
Johanna
Jan 28, 2009 Johanna rated it did not like it
I fear even an autopsy would struggle to uncover anything new here.
Vivienne
Dec 03, 2007 Vivienne rated it it was ok
Shelves: crime
I have loved the Kay Scarpetta series since its inception but have been disappointed in the last three and this one I am adding to that list. Her change in narrative style that began at that point in 'Blow Fly' seems to have been the down-turning point.

Despite a strong start, tracking down the murderer seemed to take a back seat to the constant misery of the main characters. I never warmed to the brattish Lucy who is now even more insufferable given her extreme wealth. Pete Marino has been badl
...more
Rose
Jan 03, 2008 Rose added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2007
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tulara
Dec 11, 2007 Tulara rated it really liked it
Patricia Cornwell's newest book opens with a graphic chapter on a woman who is being tortured. It's spine-chilling and disturbing. It does, however, open the door to an interesting track to find out who the killer is. It almost seemed obligatory to add aspects of the Iraq war into the story, but I realize that the war had/is having an effect on our soldiers who are on the front lines. No one can do what they do and remain who they were when they left.
I was a little annoyed with the miscommunicat
...more
R-Cee*Jay
Oct 09, 2015 R-Cee*Jay rated it really liked it
I have been enjoying this series so much - even though all of the main characters irritate the shit out of me for the most part. I fail to understand why Ms Cornwell created the most annoying arsehole of all - Pete Marino. He has always been an incredible ass-hat, and in this book Ms Cornwell has taken it to a new level.I have seen him come from being a middle-aged, overweight,lazy slob to (feels like suddenly) being a fifty something,badass, Harley-riding gym freak.......yeah, I'm not feeling i ...more
Alexandra Bogdanovic
Feb 11, 2016 Alexandra Bogdanovic rated it did not like it
Never have I been so furious and so disgusted by a book in my whole entire life. In fact, I am so upset that I couldn't even get through the second chapter. I am so angry, I decided not to continue reading -- and I very, very rarely fail to finish a book.
One thing I can't stand is when authors use characters to express and advance their own personal political viewpoints. I read fiction -- especially mysteries, thrillers, etc., to be entertained, not to have anyone's personal and political agend
...more
Matt
Jan 21, 2014 Matt rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Cornwell shifts her Scarpetta series away from the balmy clime of south Florida to the enchanting streets of Charleston, South Carolina. Bringing Pete Marino with her, Scarpetta sets up shop in the South in hopes of turning her abilities into a full-fledged consultant, cognizant of her long-time friendship with the former cop and his less than kosher investigative style. When she is called to consult with Italian officials on a slain tennis star who was recently in Charleston, Scarpetta comes ac ...more
Piglet
Oct 22, 2010 Piglet rated it it was ok
Not my favourite among the Scarpetta books. Definitely not. On the other hand, they seem to grow worse with every book now. I, for one, am getting tired of the stories being so centrated to miss Scarpetta herself, the murders and mysteries always involving her somehow. And I thought that in this book pretty much all of the characters were annoying. I find books about murdering psychopaths interesting, I admit that, but in this case it felt like the murder story was hidden way too far behind the ...more
Shelley
Oct 03, 2011 Shelley rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
oh dear. I gave up on Ms Scarpetta's adventures a while ago because I found Kathy Reichs to be more readable, the female character flawed but gutsy. Then I came across this one in a charity shop. Thought it wouldn't hurt to give her another go. Unfortunately, I should have stayed with my original decision that Ms Scarpetta is one of the most miserable, wretched and passionless women I have ever read about.
Considering she is described as an intelligent, beautiful, highly respected woman working i
...more
Kellie
Rose puts it all in perspective when she makes this comment to Kay.."You don't confront people about their feelings and all it does is make things..."

This was by far one of the worst books of the Scarpetta series ever. I was so disappointed in this. Scarpetta has a private practice in Charleston. Kay and Benton are in Italy at the beginning investigating a brutal murder of a famous tennis star. When Scarpetta goes back to Charleston, she receives the body of a young boy who has no identity. Ever
...more
Julie
Jul 23, 2008 Julie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Ugh. What is WRONG with Patricia Cornwell? This book stinks. And in the spirit of throwing myself on a grenade (reading it so you don't have to) I will review this one.

First of all, Cornwell continues her de-evolution of her characters that started somewhere about "The Body Farm." She totally jumps the shark when she resurrected Benton several books back and “The Book of the Dead” continues her new tradition of incomprehensible plot, incomprehensible character motivation, dialogue that lies flat
...more
Lori
Feb 24, 2008 Lori rated it really liked it
I just love revisiting Patricia Cornwell's characters that I have gotten to know over the past 15 years. I don't necessarily like where she's taking them, but I still like to read about them. Her books are always very engrossing and I hate to put them down. This one got me through two stomach viruses in one week! I came to the conclusion that Kay, Benton, Lucy, and in his own way, Marino, are all highly intelligent people that lack emotional and social smarts. I want Kay and Marino to resume the ...more
Pam Lauman
Mar 27, 2013 Pam Lauman rated it it was ok
Shelves: books-owned
What a disappointment! I've read and loved all the Scarpetta books but this one was terrible. The story is told very erratically. At times I'm confused about who and what Cornwell is referring to. She has too many hers and his. I feel like I jump from one scene to another without knowing how I got there. She uses unfamiliar vocabulary and abbreviations, discusses procedures in unnecessary detail, and gives minute descriptions that are not pertinent to the story.

Her characters are so dysfunction
...more
Jane Lee
Anyone relatively close *coughs* Facebook/Tumblr/Twitter friends *coughs* knows how much I am fascinated with murder mystery plots because of my not-so-fleeting interest with criminology, crime psychology and criminal profiling. That is probably why I had a hard time comprehending why I didn't like this book.

The accurate descriptions were there. The serial killer plot was there. The unrelenting search is ever present.

Then I realized, BAM, her characters suck. Not they suck as in they are despica
...more
Angian
Jul 11, 2016 Angian rated it it was ok
Di Patricia Cornwell, in particolare della saga di Kay Scarpetta, avevo gia' letto qualche volume in ordine sparso, apprezzandoli molto. Certo, deve piacere il genere: procedural anatomo-patologico, con il serial killer di turno, la protagonista colpita nella sfera personale e negli affetti piu' cari.

Ma questo "Libro dei morti" e' nettamente al di sotto della media. Personaggi tratteggiati a malapena, situazioni improbabili (com'e' che la Scarpetta si ritrova sempre coinvolta per caso nei delitt
...more
Antonella
Aug 10, 2016 Antonella rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Iniziato e letto senza molta convinzione quando ho realizzato che è scritto in terza persona al presente.
Ciò lo rende freddo, asettico. Inoltre, l'antipatia per certi personaggi nuovi ha contribuito al resto, unitamente al fatto che molti di quelli vecchi stanno veramente scadendo di qualità.
Dialoghi piatti che sembrano tratti da copioni cinematografici dei primi film sonori, quando microfoni mal posizionati facevano andare e venire le voci degli attori; battute e discorsi freddi che non danno
...more
Susan
Dec 01, 2011 Susan rated it really liked it
The six-page prologue in Book of the Dead is one of the most chilling scenes I've ever read. A man tortures a young woman by placing her in a bathtub full of icy water. Cornwell knows how to evoke terror and does it superbly here.

Cut to Scarpetta and her lover Benton Wesley who are, predictably, in crisis mode. They're investigating the murder of a young woman in Rome, but the tension in the first few chapters escalates not because of the murder case but because they're at odds with one another
...more
Diane
Jan 30, 2009 Diane rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
*ile*
Sep 09, 2013 *ile* rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Non c'è altra spiegazione! Qualcuno ha sostituito Patricia alla scrittura dei suoi romanzi. Deve essere questo il motivo per cui dopo L'ultimo distretto è stato tutto un naufragare alla deriva. Ma il bello è che continuo ancora a comprare i suoi libri e a LEGGERLI!!! Sotto sotto mi aspetto sempre di aprire le pagine e ritrovare la Kay che ho imparato ad amare nel corso degli anni.
Per quanto riguarda Il libro dei morti si tratta di un blocco di quasi 500 pagine dove non c'è scritto assolutamente
...more
Bill
Mar 08, 2009 Bill rated it it was ok
I have read every book in Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta series. For the past four or five books, I've been wondering why I keep coming back - they're getting worse. This book is the worst of the lot by a large margin. I found it to be rambling and oftentimes incomprehensible. The conclusion felt rushed - like Cornwell spent so much time trying to add unnecessary detail to the story that she had to wrap everything up quickly and in an unsatisfying fashion.

That said, I'm apparently incapable
...more
The Listmaker
Nov 07, 2007 The Listmaker rated it liked it
Shelves: suspense
I looked forward to this book and wanted to completely enjoy it. Sadly, I was disappointed with what I found. Patricia Cornwell has always been able to tell a good story. One filled with suspense and mystery to go along with the forensic aspect of solving the crimes. But she also managed to flesh out the four main characters with each successive novel until you came to care about those characters.

With this book, Ms. Cornwell has written a mystery that is convoluted to say the least and not at al
...more
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The Women's Myste...: #15 Book of the Dead 1 2 Aug 09, 2013 10:44PM  
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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
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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