Port Mortuary (Kay Scarpetta, #18)
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Port Mortuary (Kay Scarpetta #18)

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3.46 of 5 stars 3.46  ·  rating details  ·  11,464 ratings  ·  1,223 reviews
The new Kay Scarpetta novel from the world's #1 bestselling crime writer.

"When it comes to the forensic sciences, nobody can touch Cornwell."
-The New York Times Book Review Port Mortuary, the title of Patricia Cornwell's eighteenth Scarpetta novel, is literally a port for the dead. In this fast-paced story, a treacherous path from Scarpetta's past merges with the high- t...more
Hardcover, 496 pages
Published November 30th 2010 by Putnam Adult (first published 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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marymurtz
Every time I finish a Kay Scarpetta mystery, I tell myself I'm done with the series, and then the next book comes out and I have to read it. This book is really no exception to the disappointment I've felt with every one of her books since "Point of Origin." I was glad to see Cornwell had returned to first person narrative, which gave the books much of their original appeal.

But what originally made the character unique and compelling....all of it is gone. The series has become about how everyth...more
Ellen
What happened? Patricia Cornwall seemed to have rebounded with most recent Kay Scarpetta books, after a few misfires but she proves her inconsistency again with Port Mortuary. Is it that she is using a ghostwriter? A different ghostwriter? No ghostwriter? Whatever the reason, the usually exciting adventures of Kay, Benton, Lucy and Marino hit a brick wall with Port Mortuary. I rarely bail out on a book yet half way through I couldn't bear to be bored to tears any longer.

Everything in Port Mortu...more
Stephanie
I can't even finish this. I'm officially done with the series. This current batch of books I thought I could get past, but this latest one is just too much. We have:

Characters' character assassination -
Marino's just an idiot, no redeemable qualities.
Scarpetta's a whiner, NOT the awesome smart doctor from the beginning of the series.
Lucy's just a bitch, NEVER happy. At some point, you gotta get over your mom treating you like shit as a child and find your own happiness.
Benton's just an after-thou...more
Deanna
I can't do it anymore. I am sorry Ms. Cornwell, but your characters are becoming harder and harder to empathize with and your storylines too convoluted. Scarpetta used to be such a strong character, now everyone is pushing her around - Benton, her husband is unwilling to share any information with her, and after 300 pages the only outward sign of love between is a glance. Not even a hug when Scarpetta arrives from a 6 month sojourn away. Lucy is becoming impossible to like and appears to be grow...more
Beth Allen
My advice to Patricia Cornwell: Less is more.

I could not get past page 235 in this book. I skipped ahead and read the end, because I wanted to find out what happened to the dog. I figured it out, not because I'm brilliant or anything, far from it, but this book was too predictable and WAY too long.

Honestly, if I had to read another page of Kay Scarpetta droning on and and about how she was gone too long from her lab and now it's all going to hell and she's sorry as all get out that she's let eve...more
False Millennium
She's another thriller-crime-mystery writer on my junk reads list, but I don't knock myself out seeking her books. If I see one at the library, I'll usually get around to reading it. Here's my question. Cornwell has created this highly successful forensics expert, married to an equally successful man, with an equally successful niece, and they ARE ALL FULL OF PISS AND VINEGAR AND UNHAPPY. In this book, Scarpissah gets angry if someone is at her desk, leaves scalpels in disarray, starts working a...more
Perrin Pring
I listened to this book on CD. 11 disks, and it took 7 before the story got anywhere. This is the second Cornwell book I've listened to, and the first (Scarpetta) I was pretty impressed with. Port Mortuary, however, repeated itself constantly, used excessively flowery language, and mentioned details so small and mundane they only slowed the story. The only thing that kept me from throwing the disks out the window was the fact that the book was a gift from my mother.

It is clear that Cornwell is...more
Briansmom
Ok, now I remember why I stopped reading the Scarpetta novels several years ago: 1) Scarpetta is annoying. 2) Marino is annoying. 3) Benton is annoying. 4) Lucy is REALLY annoying. Haven't read one for about 3 or 4 years, so I was a little bit out of the loop on what Kay's life is like now, but actually, it's same old, same old. But honestly, do any more annoyingly one-dimensional, cardboard, and totally sterotypical characters exist in any other book series? DO ANY OF THESE PEOPLE EVER HAVE A R...more
Barbi
After discovering and devouring Patricia Cornwell's "Postmortem" (now 20 years ago), my family and I have been huge fans of the Kay Scarpetta novels. Over the years, we eagerly awaited the release of Ms. Cornwell's next novel, always confident that it would surpass her last. Until something changed and Ms. Cornwell forgot how to tell an interesting story. Instead of flying effortlessly through her books, I now find myself slogging through them, falling asleep over them, yawning through endless p...more
Dave Sheriton
The latest in quite a long series of Kay Scarpetta books. For me Patricia Cornwell has lost her way with the series. There seems to be much more concentration on the relationships of the characters than in the plot, although this one is certainly better then the previous two so maybe she's finding her touch again.

It was still an enjoyable read but I would certainly recommend some of the early books to get a real flavour of what Scarpetts is about.

This one sees her returning to Richmond from Port...more
Hali Sowle
I was all excited when I realized that this book was back to the first person narrative of Kay Scarpetta but soon I was lost in the overly whiny nature of the narrative. She's not being told everything by Benton (come on, after 20 years you should know the score) Marino is being an overbearing arse, Lucy is hiding something. In other words not much has changed. The venue for the book is Boston where Kay is now the head of a Port Mortuary, and apparently is the Chief Medical Examiner for Boston,...more
Melinda Elizabeth
The first person style of the book is an interesting change to the usual set out of Scarpetta novels.

However I did find the book a little slow on the action. Most of the book covered Kay's inner dialogue, interesting though that might have been, it did tend to confuse the story somewhat for me and the usual supporting characters such as Marino, Lucy and Benton played such little roles that oftentimes I forgot they were actually a part of the action.

The sub plot regarding her hidden past was pro...more
LadyHeather
I read all Kay Scarpetta books, I used to be a real addict when I was younger. I loved all the books up till The Last Precinct, which I thought was the final book of the series!

A few years later I discovered that the series still continues and I have read all books since, but only because of a weird sort of sentiment... Every time I finish another I tell myself I should stop reading them because they disappoint me every time, but by the time a new one comes out I forget and I read it anyway.

One...more
Mazola1
Imagine yourself putting together a jigsaw puzzle in an almost completely darkened room. All of the pieces are shades of gray and black and you don't have the box cover. It takes a lot of time and effort to finish it, and after you do, you realize the picture isn't really worth seeing. That's what it's like to read Patricia Cornwell's latest Kay Scarpetta mystery, Port Mortuary.

Told from the first person perspective of Scarpetta herself, the tale is murky, mysterious and rather tedious. All the...more
Barbara
This book was overly long and badly written. I hope for Patricia Cornwell's sake, that this is not the first Kay Scarpetta book anyone reads. If so, it will probably be the last. While always intense, Scarpetta was in the past at least interesting and a character you could care about. In this book she is merely a bitch. Not sympathetic at all. Surrounded by family, friends and employees, the only thing she seems to care about is an abandoned dog. That attachment, while possibly meant to humanize...more
Richard
A disappointing step back in the Scarpetta cannon.

I thought Cornwell made some real breakthroughs in her last two novels, 'Scarpetta' and 'The Scarpetta Factor.' Aside from their generic titles, I thought our main characters turned some important corners that enhanced our being able to relate to them and generally improved this series' readability.

I was especially pleased with the arcs given to two of the series' most interesting characters, Lucy and Marino. For too long, my affection for these...more
Chris Wolak
Patricia Cornwell is the only writer who has gotten me out of bed during a late night reading frenzy to double check that the doors and windows are locked.

She's also one of the few writers whose release dates I track for new books and I usually buy them on the lay down date. This time around I was happy to get an early review copy.

I'm also thrilled that she's coming to Chicago! She'll be at the Borders in Oak Brook, IL on Thursday, 12/3/10, at 7pm. Please call the store for the latest details: 6...more
Holly McIntyre
The beginning of this book gave me mental whiplash. Colonel Scarpetta? Huh? Boston? What? wasn't she in New York in the last book? It appears a lot has changed. The plot is as fast-paced and red-herring filled as ever, but the characters have all taken a darker turn. Scarpetta is guilt-filled and insecure; Benton secretive and unsympathetic; Lucy flat-out paranoid; Marino incompetent. The writing is staccato and confusing (so much so, that I began to wonder if Cornwell had actually written it.)...more
Vivienne
I was so delighted when I opened the latest Kay Scarpetta mystery to find that Cornwell has returned to telling the story in Kay's voice.

This was the style of the first eleven books and then in 'Blow Fly' she switched perspective to a third person, omniscient narrator. The books just were not the same and I know I wasn't alone in missing the style of the early books.

The story itself was very much old school Scarpetta as well, with Kay and her angstation taking central stage and a fair amount of...more
Ellen
Not Cornwell's best effort. It's way too long and way too full of technical jargon. I know Cornwell knows helicopters, but I don't feel the need to know how to fly one myself! The same goes for computers, nanotechnology, and other scientific minutia. She's always thrown in lots of medical and CSI terms, but this book is way over the top. It's so full of tech details that the story gets lost.

Also, I hope in her next Scarpetta book she will give the characters some slack. By the end of this one,...more
John Yelverton
The oddest mystery novel I have ever read, where the main character has no clue what's going on, and the supporting characters have all the answers. It was still a good book on top of that!
John Kues
Here goes for the third or forth time. My review keeps disappearing! Don't know what I am doing. Anyway, Patricia Cornwell's stories continue to get more high tech and somewhat futuristic. The interactions between characters is also often stilted, conversations particularly between Kay and her husband do not seem natural at all. As someone having greyhounds I was naturally drawn to the greyhound in the story, but that was mostly background and a part of the mystery, since a murdered man was walk...more
Angie
Jul 30, 2011 Angie rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011
I think this book should have been titled "Port Mortuary: The Confusing and Pitiful Tale of Poor, Miserable Kay." Does anyone know - is Patricia Cornwell hosting a pity party or something? Have mercy! This book was more pages of "woe is me, my life sucks, waaaaah" than anything I think I've ever read. And confusing! I had to keep backtracking because I thought I had skipped something important. No, turns out Cornwell wrote this book in such a disjointed manner that it was just hard to follow.

I...more
Lori
I'm not sure if I'm tired of this author not being true to the characters she created or what, but I was completely disappointed in this latest book. And near the end, it felt like Cornwell just wanted the book to be done. There were things that happened that were truly unexplainable. Perhaps Cornwell needs to take a break from writing Scarpetta, and go back to the beginning and read her own work again to connect with the character she created. The transformation over the last 5 or 6 books has b...more
Michelle
I keep reading this series because I don't want to give up, I keep hoping against hope that they'll go back to being good. No such luck with this stinker. I don't even know what the actual plot was and Ms. Cornwell has really got to stop making her characters say "I've not been to Salem" "I've not noticed the....". Wtf. I've not? Does she mean "I haven't?". It's not Kay that she makes talk in this ridiculous and unrealistic way, she makes everyone say "I've not.." instead of the more normal and...more
Amy
I feel very misled. The inside cover made it sound like this book was set at the Dover, DE AFB....even as far to include photos of the entrance for the inside coverings. Scarpetta was in Dover for Chapter 1! That is it!!!! And that was also the ONLY chapter that I enjoyed. Technically Chapter 2 and 3 they are "at" Dover but are headed out of there as fast as possible. Although it was nice to have the story back to being told in Scarpetta's voice, she turned out to be quite annoying. She may have...more
catharooni
one of my new year's resolutions: read no more books by cornwell.

i loved scarpetta, benton, lucy, et al for so long i have continued reading out of habit, but this was TERRIBLE. they have been getting progressively worse for years, but this was the pits. i had to FORCE myself to finish it!

she simply doesn't make sense. contradictions, repetition, and minute details about irrelevant plot points with NO input on the important stuff was so dang frustrating.

i am angry. angry that characters i cared...more
Melissa
I say finished, but by finished I do not mean I read the entire book. This is the first Patricia Cornwell book that I could not, and did not want to, finish. I guess after 10+ books in the series, you just have to let go of the plots and characters. Enough is enough. Characters are not likable anymore and the whole military theme seems out of place in this series. I am not usually confused in her books, but this one, I had NO CLUE what was going on. Bummer :-)
Mark
The writing in the Scarpetta series has certainly gotten worse over the years. Port Mortuary is the bottom of the barrel, stupid story line poor plot development.

I guess I keep on buying Patricia Cornwell books hoping for a return of her earlier writing sucess.

I am also beginning to think some some authors get paid a bonus for how many times they mention Iphone, Ipad,Macbook Pro or Apple in any context.
Erin
Looking back, I'm amazed at how little actually happens in this book. The first half is simply conversations in a helicopter and an office. And of course there's the once-compelling, now insufferable Kay Scarpetta. It must be hard to be God....just ask her.

Oh, and South Africa? The military? A pivotal experience in her life WHICH HAS NEVER BEEN REFERENCED IN 18 OTHER BOOKS?!?! Ugh.
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1025097
Patricia Cornwell sold her first novel, Postmortem, while working as a computer analyst at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond, Virginia. At her first signing, held during a lunch break from the morgue, Patricia sold no copies of Postmortem and fielded exactly one question – an elderly woman asked her where she could find the cookbooks.

Postmortem would go on to win the Edgar, Cre...more
More about Patricia Cornwell...
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)

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