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(Scarpetta #21)

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  15,378 ratings  ·  1,586 reviews
Massachusetts Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta has just returned from working one of the worst mass murders in U.S. history when she’s awakened at an early hour by Detective Pete Marino.

A body, oddly draped in an unusual cloth, has just been discovered inside the sheltered gates of MIT and it’s suspected the identity is that of missing computer engineer Gail Shipton,
Hardcover, 512 pages
Published November 12th 2013 by G.P. Putnam's Sons
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Kathleen Sara Shattuck Thanks for the heads up... I won't waste my time on any more of her books. I forced myself to struggle through The Bone Bed...all the same repetitive…moreThanks for the heads up... I won't waste my time on any more of her books. I forced myself to struggle through The Bone Bed...all the same repetitive narrative nonsense. No mystery there.(less)

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3.58  · 
Rating details
 ·  15,378 ratings  ·  1,586 reviews

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May 10, 2013 rated it it was ok
Why do I keep doing this to myself? The last 10 books have been exactly the same. Every man "wants" the beautiful and smart Scarpetta. The bizarre killings/crimes are always committed to impress or taunt Scarpetta, Benton or Lucy. Scarpetta is always hungry but never has time to eat. Lucy has a new toy that she invented. Scarpetta, Lucy and Benton continue to feel superior to everyone and talk crap about Marino. Marino is jealous of Benton. Scarpetta uses a thousand acronyms. Lucy has a new car. ...more
Kyle Wendy Skultety (
Interminable. Horrendous. Boring. Annoying. This series is nothing like the old Scarpettas, where she would actually talk more about the crazed killer and spend time tracking him or her down. These new books are full of internal monologues where Kay wonders what Lucy is doing, what Benson is dealing with, why Marino is the way he is, and lots of dialog where everyone speaks disingenuously and never shares their deepest thoughts.

Lucy trusted someone and was let down again. Benson is having troubl
Dust by Patricia Cornwell is the twenty-first book in the Kay Scarpetta series consisting of about twenty-five (and still counting) novels in the medical and FBI thriller mystery sub-genre. I began reading the novels nearly two decades ago but stopped for a while when I ventured into other genres. I recently picked them up again and want to get current before the next one releases in late 2019 (from what I can tell thus far). They focus on a medical examiner who's worked for the states of Virgin ...more
Aug 13, 2013 rated it did not like it
I am really concerned that I read a totally different book than the other reviewers.... Where to start? What Dust needs is an editor and a plot. This book was absolutely everything I can't stand about what the Kay Scarpetta series has become in one 500 page novel. Implausible timing, totally no character development, and a storyline that takes less than 50 pages to wrap up with a neat, tidy bow. If this was a book by any other author, I would have stopped, but as a Scarpetta series fan I felt I ...more
Oct 04, 2014 rated it liked it

Medical examiner Kay Scarpetta has an abundance of troubles: she's traumatized after the Newtown, Connecticut school shootings; she's recovering from a bad flu; her head investigator Pete Marino has bailed on her; her FBI profiler husband - Benton Wesley - is on the outs with his boss; and a serial killer seems to be at work in Cambridge, Massachusetts where she lives.

As usual in Patricia Cornwell's series, Kay and Benton are in the cross-hairs of self-serving or demented bad guys - and have to
Carol Jean
Nov 12, 2013 rated it did not like it
Did someone hit Patricia Cornwell in the head while she was writing this? I've never been a big fan of her harsh, unpleasant world filled with unusually disturbed killers, but this book isn't even well written. I can't resist quoting:

"Lucy does her best not to show what she feels. Anger, embarrassment, picked on, and hurt..." Should that not be "Angry, embarrassed..."

"I worry about reporters calling him and he blurts out to them what he did to me." Just "huh"??? I know what she is trying to say,
Nancy Geary
Nov 23, 2013 rated it did not like it
According to the book description, this is the 21st Scarpetta book I've read, and most likely my last. I've been annoyed at the direction the series is going for the past 2-3 books, but always said I'll give it "one more book."
Clocking in at 495 pages, at least 100 of them back story, it was a labor to read. The mainstay characters have become 2D paper doll cut-outs of the ones I've loved over the years in earlier books. They have no chemistry and their interaction is stilted and painful to read
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
***3.75 stars!***
Eva Bradshaw-Burnett
This is Patricia Cornwell at her possible worst, if you don't count her immediate, post Jack the Ripper book. This is what most of you want to read, so I have edited my post accordingly. Whatever I have written below this is irrelevant. The books a bomb. It is a terrible read. No one should read this book, according to the majority if you, so obviously, I have no reading comprehension as well as no idea what a good book should be.

Despite that I have read all of Pat Cornwell's books, and that I d
Nov 25, 2013 rated it liked it
*Sigh* I really want to like the Kay Scarpetta series again. I had a really hard time getting into this one, but I kept finding myself drifting off, realizing I had "read" several pages and had no idea what I read. 512 pages that takes place over 24 hours. 512 pages of rambling on about nothing.

The characters are flat. At least she stopped writing Marino as a cop turned bad biker. There is no chemistry between Kay, Marino or Benton. And no character development of any other characters. I often
Liz Barnsley
I had written a full review for one of the previous Scarpetta books explaining why, after so many years of loving them I had finally, reluctantly decided to give up so I won't go into all that again. I was persuaded back into Dust by someone who told me the series had picked up and was looking more like itself.

To be clear the rating I have given this one is based on the first quarter of the book only - at which point I just lost the will to live and (reluctantly again) put it aside.

The star is f
Dec 04, 2013 rated it liked it

Good points: As a writer, Cornwell has never been better. It's the writing that kept me reading, not the plot (which is a mess), or the characters.

Irritations: At least 100 extra pages of repetitious blah-blah about the past, Scarpetta's perspectives on various characters, unnecessary, adds-nothing technological details. And on and on. Just because you can write well doesn't mean you shouldn't edit. A leaner story would have made this a good Cornwell book.

What's more--I thought the
Jim Cunningham
Dec 07, 2013 rated it did not like it
Verbose, wordy; reading this Scarpetta novel was like wading through mud. The plot, as always, was good, hence the single star. But, why use three paragraphs to say what another writer could just as intrestingly say in a couple of sentences ... or even one? And, enough beating up on Merino for being Merino. He is what he is and he is a good investigator. In addition to making him sound like a man-ape, in this read Cornwell makes him sound like he is incompetent as a detective. The first three ch ...more
Feb 08, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Dust is the twenty-first book in the Kay Scarpetta series by American author, Patricia Cornwell. A few days before Christmas, Kay is woken at 4am by Pete Marino, no longer in her employ but back with the Police Force of Cambridge. A body, posed, wrapped in a white sheet, on the playing fields at nearby MIT. From the photos Marino sends her, Kay immediately sees features common to several victims of a serial killer, cases in Washington DC being investigated by the FBI, about which she has learned ...more
Nov 28, 2013 rated it it was ok
I think it is time for Kay Scarpetta and I to say goodbye. I did not really enjoy this book at all, in fact for the first 100 pages I hated it! However then the story started and that almost redeemed it. I felt that the author could have written an excellent book if she had left out all the self indulgent waffle about food and restaurants and dogs and places she has been to in the past. I have also grown to really dislike her characters. All of them. I don't think she likes them very much any mo ...more
Jan 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I have always been a big fan of Patricia Cornwell and have read every Scarpetta book to date. And needless to say, this book did not disappoint. I loved the references to previous books and events within Scarpetta, Marino, Lucy and Benton's life. But you don't have to have read the other books necessarily to follow the story. FBI corruption, Marino taking on a new, but old role, murder, intrigue, you name it...classic Patricia Cornwell. I feel like writing about every little thing within the boo ...more
Maja (The Nocturnal Library)
I should say, in the interest of full disclosure, that I grew up with the Kay Scarpetta series. I started reading it in my early teens and stayed with it through good times and bad, several awful books and many spectacular ones, deaths, disasters, epidemics, and many, many tears. To say that I’m a bit biased is an understatement; after 21 installment, these characters are practically family, their hurts are mine and their successes something I celebrate with a smile and a full heart.

L.A. Starks
Jan 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
If you like Patricia Cornwell's many books, and I do, you should read this one.

From another author, this would be a five-star book. However, I've chosen to rate DUST against a much higher and narrower standard--that of the rest of Cornwell's oeuvre.

Cornwell's writing is excellent, as always. And I appreciate that this book is free of the distracting political agendas that mar recent books by her and other authors.

My only concern was that the book started so slowly, and with so much introspectio
Aliya DalRae
Dec 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Just wasn't feeling this one. After the last book I thought Cornwell was back on track and that the series would pick back up again, but she went back to the first person (which for some reason Kay Scarpetta in first person comes off week and whiney to me)and I was disappointed to say the least. A nearly 500 page book could have been shaved by at least a 150 pages due to over-describing of situations, procedures, the sky, a twig. I found my mind wondering, and had to go back and re-read paragrap ...more
Paula Kalin
Disappointing. This book doesn't come close to any of her earlier Scarpetta novels. Benton's preaching was a bore. I won't be reading any more of this series.
Nov 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviews
With Dust, Patricia Cornwell returns to the story of Kay Scarpetta in the twenty-first installment of her wildly popular series. Dr Kay Scarpetta is the chief medical examiner and the director of the Cambridge Forensic Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she even coaxes the truth out of dead bodies.

It’s Wednesday, December 19, and at the stroke of 4:02 in the morning Kay Scarpetta sits up in bed her sleep violated by the ringing phone. She was tired, and technically she’s still out sick. S
Parte alla grande Kay e INCREDIBILE-MA-VERO non ha tirato via (troppo) il finale! e anche tutto il resto è a un buon livello (o ha trovato un nuovo ghost writer più bravo o ci si dedica con più passione, chissà).
Granby il cattivo non è granchè cattivo, ma as usual Cornwell i cattivi non li sa, o non li vuole, gestire da vicino ma sempre per interposta persona. Per cui non li mette mai al centro dell’attenzione.
Protagoniste sono sempre loro due, Lucy-il-genio-che-non-sbaglia-mai-se-non-nei-rapp
Nov 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
This Scarpetta Novel is a good mystery, and that is nothing new for fans. I find myself impatient with the backstories and the countless times that Marino's low self-esteem is mentioned, as if we need to be convinced by the repetition of this fact. Scarpetta is superficial in a self-chosen way, and Marino just never even got that far in his development. Scarpetta's personality analyses leave much to be desired. Her crime-site analyses are spot-on, interesting and brilliant. There is much to enjo ...more
Nov 15, 2013 rated it liked it
I can't resist another Kay Scarpetta story. they are always full of drama & suspence. I enjoyed this book but I do think it drug on in parts of it & that's always daunting when you're reading a book of this size. I don't see how the Newtown tragedy tied into this story at all besides it saying that she was there. .... No relation to the overall story but that's one of the first things it says in the book excerpt. But the gist of the story progressed enough that I wanted to stick with it ...more
Nov 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Just maybe (I hope, I hope), the good old Patricia Cornwell is back - finally! Frankly, I've grown a bit weary of the trials and travails of Massachusetts Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta of late - she who is put-upon by everyone, long-suffering and overthinks everything from why her FBI profiler husband Benton Wesley's pinkie finger twitched to the right to why her doc Sock refused to do his morning poo in the usual spot.

This one started out in that vein, making me groan out loud, "Please,
Nov 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Kay Scarpetta has just returned from working one of the worst mass murders in U. S. history in Newtown and she has the flu. It is just before Christmas and she has done nothing except shop on the internet. She hasn't seen Benton for awhile and she is in bed with her rescued greyhound when she receives a call from Marino telling her a body has been found on the MIT campus. Thus begins another forensic science mystery. The body has been posed and Kay can find no cause of death until she has her in ...more
Dec 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this latest thriller by Patricia Cornwell. It has a bit of everything in it, besides murder and mayhem, including white collar crime, government corruption and also the author digs a bit deeper into the psyches of her main character: Kay Scarpetta, Benton Wesley, Pete Marino, and Kay's niece Lucy. Once I actually started the book (three days ago) it was extremely hard to put down.
Gala Kline
Nov 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
I think this book could have been a lot shorter if she took out all the psychology of how everyone else felt. The story is a very good one but gets bogged down with whats Kay is feeling and analyzing how and why everyone else feels. I found myself skipping over a lot to get to the story and who did it.
Nov 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
To really enjoy this series, you need to read from the beginning. Patricia Cornwell builds her characters into people that you can have strong feelings for... Some good. Others not so good .
Oct 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
This reminded me of some of the older Kay Scarpetta stories. This is one of the better ones I’ve read in quite a while. I kind of took a break from Patricia Cornwell and apparently it was worth it.
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Where does this fit in series chronology? 14 72 Jan 20, 2015 11:47PM  
2015 Reading Chal...: Dust by Patricia Cornwell 1 21 Dec 30, 2014 04:32PM  
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  • Dust (A Scarpetta Novel): by Patricia Cornwell -- Review
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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,

Other books in the series

Scarpetta (1 - 10 of 25 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)
“You don’t get over it, I think. Some things you won’t get over, not ever, you can’t . . .” 4 likes
“She can love one minute and feel nothing the next, not even anger or pain, because after a while those, too, will pass.” 3 likes
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