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Book of the Dead

(Kay Scarpetta #15)

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  26,589 ratings  ·  1,575 reviews
Soon after relocating to Charleston, S.C., to launch a private forensics lab, Scarpetta is asked to consult on the murder of U.S. tennis star Drew Martin, whose mutilated body was found in Rome. Contradictory evidence leaves Scarpetta, the Italian carabinieri and Scarpetta's lover, forensic psychologist Benton Wesley, stumped.

But when she discovers unsettling connections
Hardcover, 511 pages
Published November 1st 2007 by Putnam Adult
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Ilya Tr In my opinion, if you read this book first, you may not want to read any more books from Scarpetta series :-). It could be read by itself, but it woul…moreIn my opinion, if you read this book first, you may not want to read any more books from Scarpetta series :-). It could be read by itself, but it would be impossible to understand some subtleties of relationships between characters.
This is an OK novel, in my opinion, but far from the best. I would really recommend starting from the early books.

I think, starting with highly promoted "Predator" the series went downhill for some time. It felt like P. Cornwell just ran out of "mystery" ideas in her novels. It became increasingly about Scarpetta herself with culmination in "Scarpetta" novel ( I had to force myself to stick with it and finish). K. Scarpetta is the worthy character developed over 15 or so novels, but the "Scarpetta" novel was just unnecessary, in my opinion. "Book of the Dead" came just before the "Scarpetta" and still was on the down slope.

"Black Notice" and "Last Precinct" are the must read from P. Cornwell, and in that particular order. Novels before them were very good as well. This series needs to be started earlier. Books in the series are somewhat connected, not by story lines, but by character relationships.(less)

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Jan 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Book Review
3+ of 5 stars for Book of the Dead, the 15th book in the "Kay Scarpetta" thriller series, written in 2007 by Patricia Cornwell. When I saw the title and read the description, I had very high expectations of this book. I really enjoy the series and hoped it would explore a bit of the occult side, perhaps venturing a little into historical Egyptian themes like the movie "The Mummy," which I love. I won't spoil anything, but it wasn't exactly what I thought it would be. Still
Jan 04, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: NO ONE
This book was terrible! What a waste of time! Last winter I got turned onto Cornwell and I read all of her books in order. The first few were SO incredibly riveting and I really enjoyed them. This book however showed a complete melt down of all the characters. Kay has been completely shrunk down and doesn't seem like the same person she was in the beginning. The switch to third person was a terrible move. I liked it better when it was just the body and the evidence and they had to go from there. ...more
Mar 18, 2008 rated it it was ok

Why is it that when an author becomes as famous as Patricia C. that suddenly the editors are afraid to say when something is awful???

Even if they didn't love the book and thought the plot was ridiculous and the characters unbelievable, you'd think at LEAST they'd make the author eliminate some of the repetitive comments (if all the repetition in this book were eliminated, it would be cut by at least a third. A third. I mean, a third.)

And WHY is everyone so angry all the time? I know their jo
Apr 09, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Scarpetta fans with a lot of patience and tolerance
This book gets a three because I like the series as a whole, will probably always like it, and will keep reading until she either dies or ends the series. I liked the fact that there was new Kay Scarpetta material, I guess. I also like that she has her own office and facility again - that whole Florida episode was just odd.

What I don't like is the fact that Cornwell insists on making every single major character completely miserable all the time. Can't someone be at least reasonably content for
Debi Gerbasi
Dissapointed. PC had the perfect chance with this book, this storyline to bring the characters full circle. The team of Scarpetta, Marino, Lucy and Wesley is coming apart at the seams. Using Dr Self and the animous she has for Kay (kept waiting for that to blow...never happened), and manipulating Marino.....Rose being so prominent. What's with Scarpetta crying for the bird that flys into the window but lets her longtime friend and partner sink. Then he goes over the edge damn near to the point o ...more
Dec 21, 2007 rated it did not like it
Shelves: adult
So, technically I didn't finish it. But I read 200 pages of it, so I feel somewhat qualified to say that this book fails in many ways.

I love old-school Patricia Cornwell. I have read The Body Farm numerous times. I love From Potter's Field, All that Remains, etc. She's what got me hooked on Forensic Files, American Justice, and later CSI:. She writes wonderfully, her stories were vivid and terrifying - or at least they used to be.

Her last few books, beginning with the book Blow Fly have been dr
Feb 14, 2009 rated it did not like it
This is one of the worst books I've ever suffered through. Rich finally asked me why I was still reading it after i exclaimed aloud for the umpteenth time about how awful it was, and all I could do to explain was talk about how much I enjoyed the early books she wrote and how I couldn't believe how it kept getting worse and I had to see how it panned out. Awful. The early ones really were fun, technically interesting, interesting characters, decently written (never anything amazing), thrilling a ...more
A Reader
Jan 09, 2009 rated it did not like it
No More Cornwell.

In my opinion this has got to be one of the worst books Cornwell has written.
Ok, I understand that the story have to do with people who have serious psychological problems but it seems that Cornwell decided to make all the characters ……. really mad.
Kay Scarpetta is an unhappy and boring woman. She does not have a life and even the relationship with her fiancée seems to be “strictly” professional. It is a mystery to me why men fall in love with her. She should have some charismas
Dec 29, 2007 rated it liked it
I read this book because I've read the whole Kay Scarpetta series, but I'm a little dismayed. I dunno if Cornwell is tired of these characters or is having a hard time in her own life, but she's turned these characters into such bitter, screwed up freaks that the books are getting depressing. If I hadn't invested myself in these people several books ago, there's no way I would've bothered to finish this, I think. The murder mystery part of it was interesting, but it wasn't enough to distract fro ...more
Yigal Zur
just boring. i read few of cornwell before which were ok. but this one so boring. forced writing. i just could not swallow it and left it unfinished
Jul 23, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Ugh. What is WRONG with Patricia Cornwell? This book stinks. And in the spirit of throwing myself on a grenade (reading it so you don't have to) I will review this one.

First of all, Cornwell continues her de-evolution of her characters that started somewhere about "The Body Farm." She totally jumps the shark when she resurrected Benton several books back and “The Book of the Dead” continues her new tradition of incomprehensible plot, incomprehensible character motivation, dialogue that lies flat
Jul 17, 2012 rated it did not like it
I gave up reading the Scarpetta series 20 pages into this book when I realized I didn't give a you-know-what about the fate of the characters--didn't care if they lived or died. I gave it 1 star just to give it a rating, but in my opinion, it doesn't even deserve that.
Read: November 2007
Rating: 4/5 stars

Re-read 1: June 2018
Rating: DNF

Re-read 2: August-September 2019
Rating: 3/5 stars
Dec 31, 2007 added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2007
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 22, 2009 rated it did not like it
I fear even an autopsy would struggle to uncover anything new here.
Rose puts it all in perspective when she makes this comment to Kay.."You don't confront people about their feelings and all it does is make things..."

This was by far one of the worst books of the Scarpetta series ever. I was so disappointed in this. Scarpetta has a private practice in Charleston. Kay and Benton are in Italy at the beginning investigating a brutal murder of a famous tennis star. When Scarpetta goes back to Charleston, she receives the body of a young boy who has no identity. Ever
Oct 29, 2007 rated it it was ok
Shelves: crime
I have loved the Kay Scarpetta series since its inception but have been disappointed in the last three and this one I am adding to that list. Her change in narrative style that began at that point in 'Blow Fly' seems to have been the down-turning point.

Despite a strong start, tracking down the murderer seemed to take a back seat to the constant misery of the main characters. I never warmed to the brattish Lucy who is now even more insufferable given her extreme wealth. Pete Marino has been badl
Aug 18, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: murder-mystery
Anyone relatively close *coughs* Facebook/Tumblr/Twitter friends *coughs* knows how much I am fascinated with murder mystery plots because of my not‎-so‎-fleeting interest with criminology, crime psychology and criminal profiling. That is probably why I had a hard time comprehending why I didn't like this book.

The accurate descriptions were there. The serial killer plot was there. The unrelenting search is ever present.

Then I realized, BAM, her characters suck. Not they suck as in they are despi
I have always loved the Scarpetta series. I've read a couple of them twice. This... This is at such odds with the others. The style is not as expected, after moving from first person, we've now in la-la land. the characters are just so far removed from interest that I couldn't be bothered. Skimmed a lot. Then DNF'd at about 1/3 of the way in. This hard-back is going to charity. Someone might like it.
Artemis Slipknot
Aug 02, 2019 rated it did not like it
Boring.....i can not finish it!
Oct 03, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
oh dear. I gave up on Ms Scarpetta's adventures a while ago because I found Kathy Reichs to be more readable, the female character flawed but gutsy. Then I came across this one in a charity shop. Thought it wouldn't hurt to give her another go. Unfortunately, I should have stayed with my original decision that Ms Scarpetta is one of the most miserable, wretched and passionless women I have ever read about.
Considering she is described as an intelligent, beautiful, highly respected woman working i
Dec 11, 2007 rated it really liked it
Patricia Cornwell's newest book opens with a graphic chapter on a woman who is being tortured. It's spine-chilling and disturbing. It does, however, open the door to an interesting track to find out who the killer is. It almost seemed obligatory to add aspects of the Iraq war into the story, but I realize that the war had/is having an effect on our soldiers who are on the front lines. No one can do what they do and remain who they were when they left.
I was a little annoyed with the miscommunicat
Oct 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
I have been enjoying this series so much - even though all of the main characters irritate the shit out of me for the most part. I fail to understand why Ms Cornwell created the most annoying arsehole of all - Pete Marino. He has always been an incredible ass-hat, and in this book Ms Cornwell has taken it to a new level.I have seen him come from being a middle-aged, overweight,lazy slob to (feels like suddenly) being a fifty something,badass, Harley-riding gym freak.......yeah, I'm not feeling i ...more
Mike Narvaez
This novel was a joy to read. The dialogue is superb and the technical explanations of the crime lab are surprising entertaining.

What’s even more surprising is the fact that this is only the 15th novel in a series that expands over 21 books, but it actually reads like a stand alone tale.

The characters of the novel are very distinguished and diverse and they all add something special to the story. For example, Kay Scarpetta, our main protagonist and her nephew, couldn’t be more different from o
Brent Soderstrum
Dec 01, 2017 rated it liked it
This is Cornwell's 15th Kay Scarpetta book. The series has devolved from being about the killer and catching him with the characters in the background to being mostly about the characters. In the latest episode of the soap opera that is the life of Kay and her posse, Kay is in Charleston, South Carolina now. She has moved from VA to FL and now to SC. Lucy has a brain tumor. Benton and Kay are engaged but he lives and works in Boston. Rose is dying. And finally Marino is dating a horny skank who ...more
Dec 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Cornwell shifts her Scarpetta series away from the balmy clime of south Florida to the enchanting streets of Charleston, South Carolina. Bringing Pete Marino with her, Scarpetta sets up shop in the South in hopes of turning her abilities into a full-fledged consultant, cognizant of her long-time friendship with the former cop and his less than kosher investigative style. When she is called to consult with Italian officials on a slain tennis star who was recently in Charleston, Scarpetta comes ac ...more
Sep 04, 2007 rated it really liked it
I just love revisiting Patricia Cornwell's characters that I have gotten to know over the past 15 years. I don't necessarily like where she's taking them, but I still like to read about them. Her books are always very engrossing and I hate to put them down. This one got me through two stomach viruses in one week! I came to the conclusion that Kay, Benton, Lucy, and in his own way, Marino, are all highly intelligent people that lack emotional and social smarts. I want Kay and Marino to resume the ...more
Oct 22, 2010 rated it it was ok
Not my favourite among the Scarpetta books. Definitely not. On the other hand, they seem to grow worse with every book now. I, for one, am getting tired of the stories being so centrated to miss Scarpetta herself, the murders and mysteries always involving her somehow. And I thought that in this book pretty much all of the characters were annoying. I find books about murdering psychopaths interesting, I admit that, but in this case it felt like the murder story was hidden way too far behind the ...more
Alexandra Bogdanovic
Feb 11, 2016 rated it did not like it
Never have I been so furious and so disgusted by a book in my whole entire life. In fact, I am so upset that I couldn't even get through the second chapter. I am so angry, I decided not to continue reading -- and I very, very rarely fail to finish a book.
One thing I can't stand is when authors use characters to express and advance their own personal political viewpoints. I read fiction -- especially mysteries, thrillers, etc., to be entertained, not to have anyone's personal and political agend
Dec 20, 2008 rated it it was ok
I have read every book in Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta series. For the past four or five books, I've been wondering why I keep coming back - they're getting worse. This book is the worst of the lot by a large margin. I found it to be rambling and oftentimes incomprehensible. The conclusion felt rushed - like Cornwell spent so much time trying to add unnecessary detail to the story that she had to wrap everything up quickly and in an unsatisfying fashion.

That said, I'm apparently incapable
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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

Kay 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)

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