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The Last Precinct by Patricia Cornwell
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's review
Feb 17, 2012

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Read in February, 2012


I do really like Patricia COrnwell's Kay Scarpetta books.

But I've decided the Jay Talley character is a cheap device she has created in order to allow for certain outrageous plot turns.

How could such a guy get accepted by the ATF and Interpol when really he's a Chandonne, which is a major French crime family.

Though Scarpetta regrets her impetuous one-night stand with the handsome Talley, I think it's the author who should feel trashy.

The action in this book happens to follow right on the heels of the Scarpetta mystery in which well-disliked police heavy Diane Bray is murdered.

What I did enjoy about the book was the professional relationship and eventual friendship that develops between Scarpetta and Jaime Berger, a New York prosecutor who gets enmeshed when a certain suspect is wanted for prosecution in both Virginia and NY.

Scarpetta thinks the Chandonne suspect is going to be tried in New York, and that's why Berger wants to know every last detail about Scarpettta's involvement. That's true, but it also turns out that Berger has been brought in to lead a Va. grand jury that must decide whether Scarpetta needs to be indicted for the murder of Bray -- a woman that Scarpetta clearly had not liked.

The relationship between Scarpetta and her female shrink friend, Dr. Anna Zenner, is also intriguing. On the one hand Scarpetta is comfortable enough to confide in Anna her ambivalence about Bray. But legal shenanigans develop, such that Anna may be forced to testify about Scarpetta's statements since they don't have a patient-doctor shield, and Anna got tricked into being served with a subpoena.

Bray's hidden criminal drug activity eventually comes out. So does Talley's inner sicko. There's a sad murder of a child who saw too much at a rural camping site (where Talley and sicko-in-crime Bev K. were hiding out).

All the action is extremely embarrassing for Scarpetta's professional standing. It all plays out against the backdrop of the Christmas season.


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Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Melissa I agree with everything here. I figured out the Talley twist about 100 pages in and it took away from story.

That being said, I'm glad I didn't read your review before I read the book or I would have known the twist before I even started. :)

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