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The Body Farm (Kay Scarpetta #5)

4.04  ·  Rating Details ·  54,218 Ratings  ·  963 Reviews
The Body Farm - a research institute that tests the decomposition of corpses. Black Mountain, North Carolina: a sleepy little town where the local police deal with one homicide a year, if they're unlucky, and where people are still getting used to the idea of locking their doors at night. But violent death is no respecter of venue, and the discovery of the corpse of the co ...more
Paperback, 387 pages
Published 2003 by Time Warner Paperbacks (first published 1994)
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Ross Rawnsley As a general rule, I would probably attempt to keep my 13 y/o away from this series. It's far from the goriest or most descriptive series I have read,…moreAs a general rule, I would probably attempt to keep my 13 y/o away from this series. It's far from the goriest or most descriptive series I have read, but I think it may be a little over the top for someone of that age. (less)
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Final Thoughts
4 of 5 stars to Patricia Cornwell's fifth book in the Kay Scarpetta series, The Body Farm, published in 1994. The title alone tells you what kind of book this will be, and it is full of thrills and suspense. Scarpetta has an opportunity to try to capture a serial killer she's dealt with sometime in the past. And with the history she needs to revisit in this one, you will learn a lot more about who she is and what's happened to bring her to today.

Another good part of this book i
Sep 09, 2011 Debbie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Arrgh! From the misnomered title (A 'body farm' is only in a small portion of the book) to the implausible plot--how did this get past editors??? SPOILER!!! For starters...Only 3 people work at this TOP SECRET section of the FBI and 2 are dismissed because of malfeasance??? One has a dubious past and 'lied' on her application??? Come on!!! Our protagonist easily found that out, but NOBODY from the bureau vetted this crooked employee? Geez! Give me a break! I'm willing to suspend a bit of logic b ...more
aPriL does feral sometimes
As other reviewers have noted, the title 'The Body Farm' is a bit misleading since it doesn't come into the plot until near the end, and then it is as a sidebar, but its graphic descriptive inclusion and the good Dr. Kay Scarpetta's enthusiastic promotion for donating bodies for science totally rocks if icky science rings your chimes.

I had to laugh - the author Patricia Cornwell gave readers a high-minded dutiful social message while at the same time satisfying us mystery readers in our queasy q
Jan 23, 2010 Lee rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Do I like PC or do I not like PC? I'm tending toward the latter with this book. It's the 2nd PC book I've read. Kay is unappealing as a main character, and grows even moreso the more I read her. Is it believable that she has all of these incredible insights into fingerprints, car wrecks, etc. that ever other law enforcement agency & specialty misses? Please! Are we to be ambivilent and accepting of the fact that she is an active accomplice in marriage-wrecking? Above and beyond this, there's ...more
Aug 22, 2012 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
29/3 - I agree with the other reviewers who said that the title of this book is misleading, this book is more about the FBI than it is the body farm. It would have made more sense to name it Quantico or something else that refers to where a lot of the book is located, instead of a very interesting place that really only gets a mention near the beginning and a quick visit at the end. If a book is titled The Body Farm you would expect the body farm to make a big impact on the story, possibly for t ...more
I am still not sure if I dislike the author's writing, or if the books are just so old that I dislike the books because they are just that dated.

The stupid Lucy storyline:
1)There has never been any indication prior to this book that there was any reason to even hint that Lucy had an addictive personality, and or had a problem with drinking. So, it's amazing how in only the course of one book, Lucy became this supposed alcoholic.
2)The lesbian storyline. I think Patricia was starting to question h
Chinablue_25 West Bostedor
This book was fast paced and complicated with a twist. I really liked it! Scarpetta's relationship with Wesley changes from professional/friendship to an affair. This upsets me because he is married and Scarpetta has met his wife on a few occasions and likes her very much. What bothers me most is Scarpetta feels no remorse whatsoever. Nor does Wesley. Because of the change that goes on with Wesley and Scarpetta's relationship it makes Morino very upset and you start to realize that he has feelin ...more
Jul 24, 2008 _inbetween_ rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ten pages to go but I gotta expurge some of the annoyed boredom now. The only reason I read two Cornwells in two days was that I was waiting for mail, but it enhances the flaws of her writing (or logic? I can't even say). Where no. 4 had been just boring and unpleasant and boringly unpleasant, in no. 5 now all the same people involved have completely forgotten that in the case they are actually following up here, fingerprints had already been unreliable. Yet now nobody even seems to doubt them. ...more
Dec 20, 2012 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
In the fifth mystery/thriller, Cornwell has introduced so much about which praise is deserved. Picking up the threads left in the previous novel, Scarpetta has agreed to advise the FBI on some of its cases, to create a better mechanism by which to catch the seediest. Scarpetta's niece joins her at Quantico, on an internship and seeks to forge her own paths. With the murder of a young girl, all fingers point at the elusive serial killer who got away in 'Cruel and Unusual', leaving Scarpetta to de ...more
Danielle Beaulieu
Mar 06, 2013 Danielle Beaulieu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am new to reading Patricia Cornwell and I have so far read two of her books, which unfortunately I did out of order. Despite my little snafu though, I have found that I really enjoy her books and her writing style. This (like probably most of her books) was a thriller/suspense and it definitely kept my attention throughout the whole book, as I constantly read quickly to see what was going to happen next. Cornwell is really good about developing characters that you care about and despite their ...more
Lisa H.
May 20, 2011 Lisa H. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was my introduction to Patricia Cornwell and her character, Kay Scarpetta; also my introduction to the concept of a "body farm", a forensic testing facility that puts cadavers in various environments over long periods to determine their effects on the corpse (the point being to be able to determine cause and time of death despite extensive decomposition.)

Let's just say I was sufficiently compelled by the writing and interested enough in the characters to go back and read the previous
Aug 26, 2016 itchy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: may
kay shows some bad-ass moves as she performs (view spoiler)
Snjezana Scarpetta Isles
The book is fantastic !!! I enyoyed !!!:)
Nov 02, 2008 rivka rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Scarpetta fans
Shelves: mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Baz M
Jun 18, 2016 Baz M rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm usually a bit of a stinge when it comes to star ratings and very rarely give out 5s.
This is definitely worth a 5. I've never read this author before and very rarely read this genre. But the setting (Autumn in the US east coast mountains), the characters and the investigation absolutely spoke to me.
This was very easy to read, not so easy to put down and I would recommend to anybody, particularly those that don't usually read this genre.
Will be following this author going forward.
I hated this book! I liked the first four in the series and thought I'd enjoy this one too but alas I was so turned off I am seriously considering if I want to read anymore in this series or just give up here and now. There were just so many bad things about this book, it started from the title and shit went downhill from there. I may not have a medical, criminal/law enforcement, or lawyers degree but that doesn't mean I'm an idiot.

First the book is titled The Body Farm. This would imply that it
Jun 08, 2017 Nu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When all the books you have in the series are #1 and #5, you just read what you can lol. I need the full series asap.
4 solid stars.
Sherri F.
3 to 3.5 stars

This is #5 in Dr. Kay Scarpetta series and #4, 5 & 6 are kind of a mini-series/triology w/in a series. I really like this series (and have read several books in it & not all in order) and started to give this a 4, albeit a weak 4 (or 3.5+) but then I read the one right after it (actual 4, 5 & 6 within 6 days b/c they are lead-in to #9 which I was trying to read for a Buddy Read--BTW, now re-reading those first 10 pages again of #9 Point of Origin (& prob. more throu
Yvonne (It's All About Books)
Finished reading: November 29th 2014
Rating 3

“Sometimes I saw his eyes in my sleep, saw them bright like blue glass staring through a barely opened door leading into a strange, dark room filled with a putrid smell.”

(view spoiler)
Jun 22, 2012 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When a young girl is murdered in a similar way to Eddie Heath from the last book, Kay is worried that her failure to catch Temple Gault has cost another life. However, the investigation becomes more and more bizarre, leading detectives to believe this might be the work of a copy-cat, a local weirdo or someone else entirely. Complicating matters, Kay's niece, Lucy, is now working for the bureau in the computer department and it looks like she's been caught stealing classified information. Kay has ...more
Mar 11, 2012 Charlynn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Familiar with what a body farm is due to reading Kathy Reichs' Temperance Brennan novels, I expected the title location to play a larger role in Cornwell's book. For example, perhaps the killer was using a body farm to murder and then hide his or her victims' remains. Instead, though, the farm was used to merely simulate the days following eleven year old Emily Steiner's death, a young girl who was shot in the head, sexually molested, and had pieces of her skin excised to remove bite marks, reca ...more
Feb 23, 2010 Sarai rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: suspense, mystery
Kay Scarpetta, Chief Medical Examiner for the Commonwealth of Virginia and FBI consultant, investigates the murder of an 11-year-old girl, whose mutilation brings to mind an escaped killer met in a previous book. Evidence prompts Scarpetta to request that certain experiments be made at the University of Tennessee's Body Farm. Meanwhile, she investigates the probably related apparent suicide of a local FBI agent. Scarpetta's computer-whiz niece Lucy, who works at FBI headquarters at Quantico, is ...more
Thom Swennes
Aug 20, 2012 Thom Swennes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of suspense, mystery and murder
First published in 1994, The Body Farm by Patricia Cornwell features Dr. Kate Scarpetta, a forensic pathologist working for the FBI along the eastern seaboard of the United States. Kate has the further distinction of being also a lawyer which puts her above many of her colleagues. At first glance the stories and characters seem closely paralleled with the Rizzoli and Isles characters introduced by Tess Gerritsen. On closer examination the differences become more and more apparent. Kate Scarpetta ...more
Aug 30, 2009 Rebecca rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I picked this trade paperback up from a friend who was moving and cleaning out her bookshelves. The 2 star rating is purely for personal reasons; I should stick to cloak and dagger British countryside mysteries instead of thrillers. As thrillers go, I think this one is decent, fast-paced and easy to read. However, I did have the killer identified early in the book (#5 in the Kay Scarpetta series), and it was hard to understand the somewhat convoluted personal relationships of the characters with ...more
Jul 04, 2009 Cheryl rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think I've watched too much CSI because I had the culprit pegged very early in the book. I still enjoyed it, but it would have been better I'm sure if I'd read the previous books in the series. A problem with this story is the stereotypical way the locals are portrayed. Being a local living in western North Carolina, I feel slightly offended by the insinuations about clueless local cops, mentally challenged mountain dwellers, and other stock character elements. Thank heaven this gal from the b ...more
Feb 01, 2015 Amanda rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 25, 2016 Holly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, 2016
Again I have a love hate relationshp. I hate that the title has a minor part in the book. Not a whole lot of Body Farm in the book. I think it's dumb when Kay is freaking out about the super villain Gault and keeps a loaded gun with her at all times. She goes to bed with it, she takes it into the bathroom with her, all the time...except when she visits a church. Because that would "not seem right to take a gun into church". But it seems right to take one into the toilet. Lucy's lesbianism and al ...more
Nov 22, 2016 Aneesha rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, books-i-own
This is the 5th book in Kay Scarpetta series. This story is not as good as the first book.

This is a murder mystery of an 11 year old girl and it had the same MO of one of the escaped serial killers. The plot is good but the way it was investigated was not that great. It did not have a proper ending. It had quite good information on finger print technology.

The title didn't seem to match the story. There were only few details on Body Farm and it is not used much for investigation.

It had another
Jun 05, 2013 Marty rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was hard to rate this book, but eventualy I settled on a 3 star, barely a recommendation. I know many folks love Patricia Cornwell. This is the first book I've read of hers. It's a great page turner with sparse, but excellent descriptions. She is good with metaphors, but she also adds too many forensic details. I wasn't interested in the specific gas, methylxxx something or other, that a body gives off. It just smells is good enough. Also the climax arrived and ended abruptly with little susp ...more
Edward Beavers
Oct 20, 2014 Edward Beavers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The absentee farm

I guess that the title was only in deference to the actual "body farm" as it's brief appearance was so short that it's hard to see why the book his titled that way. I enjoyed the book but the title and use of the farm is a significant step in the process of solving the victim's murder.
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The Body Farm 3 55 Apr 06, 2015 03:45AM  
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The Women's Myste...: #5 The Body Farm 1 5 Aug 09, 2013 10:33PM  
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  • Monday Mourning (Temperance Brennan, #7)
  • I is for Innocent (Kinsey Millhone, #9)
  • Private Eyes (Alex Delaware, #6)
  • Silent Prey (Lucas Davenport #4)
  • Bones of Betrayal (Body Farm #4)
  • The Keepsake (Rizzoli & Isles, #7)
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)
  • 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)
  • The Last Precinct (Kay Scarpetta, #11)

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