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Scarpetta (Kay Scarpetta #16)

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  22,982 Ratings  ·  1,470 Reviews
View our feature on Patricia Cornwell's Scarpetta.

From America's #1 bestselling crime writers comes the extraordinary new Kay Scarpetta novel.

Leaving behind her private forensic pathology practice in Charleston, South Carolina, Kay Scarpetta accepts an assignment in New York City, where the NYPD has asked her to examine an injured man on Bellevue Hospital's psychiatric pri
ebook, 592 pages
Published December 1st 2008 by Berkley Books (first published 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Dec 10, 2008 Anne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure what motivates me to read the Scarpetta books. I know that I always want to like them much more than I actually do. I think I find the author an interesting character and her recent coming out has added to that. But I honestly have to say that her books will never rank among my favorite mysteries. It's not the writing, for there were many lovely sentences in Scarpetta. In fact, I noticed more than in previous books that she writes really well in places. It's the plotting I believe s ...more
Mar 16, 2009 Aelel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had pretty much given up on the whole Scarpetta series in general, when my mother insisted I read this book and give it one more shot. The past couple of Scarpetta novels have really, really sucked. It was like watching a well-loved friend slide into some narcissistic downward spiral of insanity and drug use to the point where you don't even know them anymore. They do and say things you never thought they'd do.

Well, this book appears to be an attempt to fix the image of Scarpetta that was alm
Megan Baxter
This is my first Patricia Cornwell, starting 16 books into the series, which is probably not optimal. Earlier books may be better. I may try them some day. I may not.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook
Jan 04, 2009 Judy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Patricia Cornwell promised us she'd do better with this book. She did, but not by much. Her habit of resuscitating characters who have been left for stone-cold dead is particularly annoying. They are all weary and worn. May they rest in peace.
Dec 14, 2008 Bett rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I gave up on this series. Then I saw that this latest book, Scarpetta, was getting great reviews on I wondered, could Cornwell have redeeemed herself? I thought the last couple of books were awful, and keep in mind, I loved this series set arounf Dr. Kau Scarpettea and friends, loved each one of the main characters.

So I bought Book of the Dead and Scarpetta. I read Scarpetta first, just to see if is was as good as some people thought. Usually, I won't read books out of order in a se
This is a poor (not to say pathetic) entry in the Scarpetta series, and has all the earmarks of being written by somebody from a fanfic group. It’s probably not, though, unless they’ve faithfully recreated all of Cornwell’s most irritating writerly affectations (the insistence on starting sentences with nouns that have no articles is the one I’d personally choose to throttle her for). Stylistics aside, this novel is virtually incomprehensible at the level of plot. When I finally got to the part ...more
Vicki Kee
If you want to know what little people, GPS chips, snuff films, online gossip rags, veterinarians, dermatologists, CNN, a man who wears ladies Brooks Ariel running shoes, unscrupulous pet shop owners, Marilyn Monroe, and a woman whose last name is Bacardi have in common, this is the book for you. It's also a must read if you like 500-page murder mysteries (with a budding love affair thrown in) that take place and are neatly wrapped up primarily over the course of 1 to 2 days - and during a major ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 01, 2009 Ellen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I have enjoyed most of the Scapetta books in the past, but I picked this one up with some doubt because I did not like the last one I read. I should have left it at the library. It seems that Kay has gone from researching crime to being the constant victim of psychos with nothing better to do than be mean to her. The main characters are becoming unlikeable to a man, and the side characters are poorly outlined and unbelieveable. And oh yeah - gratuititous dwarves. I am within a chapter of the end ...more
Mar 29, 2009 Bree rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-09
You miss a couple of these books, and suddenly Marino is a madman? Wha? This book is akin to an American eating Marmite- I'm reading it, but I'm not particularly sure why.
Jun 28, 2009 Kay rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
It took me an entire week to read this 500 page book. I know I had an unusually busy week, but I believe that if I had a couple of ‘can’t put down books’ I would have gotten several read. The plot was good on this book, but Cornwell seemed to concentrate on characters more than plot.
I’ve been reading the Kay Scarpetta books since she first started writing them. I used to really like the characters but it seems as through the years, they’ve turned dark. I noticed it first with Lucy in the books
Murder mystery that was a true page turner. Kay Scarpetta, a well known forensic patholgist is called on a murder case by Oscar Bane (who is a dwarf). Oscar seeks the help of Scarpetta and the story of the murder of his girlfriend is a bizzare one. In search of the truth, the lives of many of the characters are revealed as the mystery unfolds. Scarpetta herself seems to have something to hide. There are many twists and turns, and I enjoyed this book for its suspense. The only dissappointing part ...more
Jan 01, 2009 Jennie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2008, fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 06, 2009 Kym rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I used to love Patricial Cornwell so much. I read each book she wrote...devoured them, really, and read them again. To say I have been disappointed in her last efforts would be a vast understatement.

The stories Cornwell writes now, either in her investigation of Jack the Ripper or the most recent few Scarpetta novels; suffer from a severe lack of editing. I don't know if she has fired her editor, or simply is able to fire off a manuscript and send it to a publisher without ever having to go thr
Apr 02, 2009 Sharon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Patricia Cornwell's latest entry in the Kay Scarpetta series (named after both the protagonist and a book being written as part of a plot element) took a while to get moving. While this series usually grabs me and does not let go, a rather confusing series of events takes place early in the book.

When a woman is murdered, the natural suspect is her boyfriend, who insists on being checked into the hospital and will not allow anyone to examine him except Kay Scarpetta. Oscar insists to Scarpetta th
Lynda Kelly
Sep 08, 2013 Lynda Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, the most recent ones in this series before this one I'd been quite off about. Then after downloading this I saw the reviews which were pretty awful......but I was pleasantly surprised as I really enjoyed it. In places it seemed written in an odd way where so many conversations between the characters were either double-edged or they were holding two conversations in one. Quite strange but it was the case throughout the whole story.
I've stuck with these characters for many years now and thou
I expected a lot more from Ms Cornwell, who's writing I usually love. This book didn't have the same excitement, punch or intruige that the Scarpetta series usually offers. I usually finish the Scarpetta books in a matter of days (which is unusual for me becasue I'm not an exceptionally fast reader) because they are riddled with excitement, mystery and fast-moving plot. Sadly this one is an exception to that rule. I was only able to muddle through about 50 pages before becoming bored and slightl ...more
Jan 12, 2009 Samantha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Throughout the course of the Scarpetta series, Cornwell has done an exemplary job fleshing out the characters, having them grow, exposing their faults, frailties, strengths and complexities. I almost feel like I've come to know these people personally.

In that regard, 'Scarpetta' is probably Cornwell's finest book to date. The relationships she creates between the characters.. the sheer intimacy of the scenes she scripts (and I'm not talking about sex here).. are vivid, engrossing and very human.
30/7 - I really enjoyed the story, especially the police/detective work, but as with her previous four books; Blowfly, Trace, Predator, and Book of the Dead, I didn't like the way she wrote them all in the 3rd person - it makes it all seem so impersonal. Written in the 3rd person Scarpetta the character in general, as well as Scarpetta the book specifically, seems to have a lot less empathy for the victims because we can no longer read the thoughts Kay has or know what she's feeling. Scarpetta i ...more
Geri Taylor
I'm just not as into Scarpetta as I used to be. It seems there was so much STUFF other than the crime going on, that I lost interest in the story. Is someone ghostwriting this series now?
Jan 24, 2014 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Cornwell's sixteenth novel in the series pulls the reader in from the beginning in hopes of processing many of the personal struggles the characters have faced up to now, as well as presenting a powerful mystery to entertain. When a man checks himself into a psychiatric facility in New York and will only speak to Dr. Scarpetta, the famed pathologist comes to speak with him. It is only then that the truth behind a recent slaying, that of the man's girlfriend, comes to light. Is this man guilty an ...more
May 19, 2009 Aaron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had almost given up on this series, which centers on medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta. I had come to really enjoy the earlier novels. She started her career in state service in Virginia, moved to the Carolinas for a short time to work with her niece, Lucy, and now she is working out of Boston. She and the rest of the characters usually get drawn into murder mysteries and must work to solve them. Her companions include her now-husband Benton Wesley, the earthy Detective Pete Marino, her lesbi ...more
Aug 29, 2012 Inga rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
Patricia Cornwells 16. Scarpetta-Roman trägt den Namen der Protagonistin.
Und so kann es nicht anders sein, dass der Fall - wieder einmal, muss man leider sagen - davon geprägt ist, dass Scarpettas Erfolg (sie ist in diesem Band für den Fernsehsender CNN tätig und kommentiert spektakuäre Fälle) die Neider auf den Plan ruft. So wird sie Opfer eines rufschädigenden Blog-Artikels, der die Geschehnisse aus Totenbuch aufdeckt (Marinos betrunkener, unschöner Übergriff auf Kay), wird vom paranoiden Tatv
Linda Stephens
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 20, 2009 crayolaab rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2009, crime
Somewhere along the way, I think I missed a Kay Scarpetta book. Either that, or it's just been so darn long since I read the latest one - I spent a good portion of this book trying to puzzle out whether I had missed a book in which some fairly significant things happened, or whether these things took place between books and i really wasn't supposed to know more details.

I really like the characters in these books, and I find forensic pathology fascinating, so I keep coming back for more, but I h
Mar 13, 2010 Kathleen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 01, 2009 Donna rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I have read all of her books and in the past couldn't wait until the next one came out. However, I have been so disappointed with the newer books that I'm not buying them anymore for my collection. I wait until the library has them. I think Cornwell needs a new direction. Kay is becoming more of a "know it all" and object of every man's desire and unlikable to me. Cornwell just makes Marino look like an idiot because he is so in love with Kay. Where would Scarpetta be without him? Dead. Lucy is ...more
Bookmarks Magazine

Critics agreed that readers familiar with Cornwell's series will find Scarpetta a weak addition; novice audiences will certainly want to skip over this one and start with Postmortem (1990), Cornwell's award-winning debut. Although Scarpetta is not one of the better entries to date, the thriller contains Cornwell's meticulous attention to detail (from autopsies to investigations) and edge-of-your-seat plotting. However, reviewers cited too much backstory, overly complex twists, and only mediocre

Dec 27, 2008 Angie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: grown-up, mysteries
So far ... this is not my favorite. At all. I usually gobble up a good murder mystery (is that terrible?) but I may even give this one up. It's not good. But hopefully things will turn around.

(Later on ...)
So things did not turn around. I hated this book. It's my own fault for sticking with it (sort of ... by the last third I was just sort of skimming every fourth word) and not moving on. There are too many books in the world to be read to waste time on one you don't like.

Too much bad language.
May 15, 2010 Erin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-series
Cornwell's ego seems to grow at a rate inversely proportional to her ability to create realistic mysteries. Kay Scarpetta has gone from plucky heroine to an insufferable blow hard who has somehow become a celebrity (stalkers, multiple mentions on a Perez Hilton-like website, and seats at the city's best restaurants) based on her periodic appearances on CNN as a forensic expert. Seriously? And Marino - please don't get me started on what Cornwell did to that character. Now she's trying for redemp ...more
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The Women's Myste...: #16 Scarpetta 1 3 Aug 09, 2013 10:45PM  
  • The Complete Patricia Cornwell Companion
  • Monday Mourning (Temperance Brennan, #7)
  • Monster (Alex Delaware, #13)
  • Killer Heat (Alexandra Cooper, #10)
  • Crisis (Jack Stapleton & Laurie Montgomery, #6)
  • Broken Prey (Lucas Davenport, #16)
  • T is for Trespass (Kinsey Millhone, #20)
  • Quicksand (Eve Duncan, #8)
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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“at some level we intend everything we do. That’s why it’s extremely important to root out our intentions before they uproot us.” 2 likes
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