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From Potter's Field (Kay Scarpetta, #6)
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From Potter's Field

(Kay Scarpetta #6)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  48,483 ratings  ·  777 reviews
Christmas has never been a particularly good time for Dr Kay Scarpetta. Although a holiday for most, the festivities always seem to heighten the alienation felt by society's violent fringe; and that usually means more work for Scarpetta, Virginia's Chief Medical Examiner and consulting forensic pathologist for the FBI.

The body was naked, female, and found propped against a
Paperback, 383 pages
Published August 30th 2005 by Berkley Books (first published August 2nd 1995)
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4.04  · 
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 ·  48,483 ratings  ·  777 reviews

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3 of 5 stars to From Potter's Field, the sixth in the Kay Scarpetta thriller series, published in 1994 by Patricia Cornwell. After five books, you begin expecting more and more from a series, wanting it to up its game, thrown more mystery and character depth... and you get that in this book; however, you also get a bit of a different perspective this time. A few things about this one:

1. It picks up from a previous book with the same killer who still hadn't been caught. It'd be hel
Dec 13, 2009 rated it it was ok
Boy! This booked pissed me off!

Normally I would give this book a better review, but no. This book has all the angst and mystery that you expect from a Patricia Cornwell novel. The plot is a continuation of a storyline started in a previous novel, the pursuit of Temple Gault. Gault is just as dark and manipulative as in the other books and you race to the climax of the book to see if he will get away to torment Kay Scarpetta in the next novel, or will this chapter finally reach its conclusion?

Rabbit {Paint me like one of your 19th century gothic heroines!}
I've read a lot of Cornwell's books. The one thing that irks me the most about Scarpetta is that she doesn't let people help her when the big baddie is determined to fuck her shit up. They want her to temporarily move to a safe house, and even when she lets people stay over- it's like pulling teeth. They aren't being unreasonable, because Kay, this person wants to target you and they know where you live.

This happens in every single book.

Aug 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

30/3 - Like The Body Farm this book's title is false advertising. An even smaller portion of the book was dedicated to what's named in the title - the first victim is originally a Jane Doe and is buried in Potter's Field (her real identity is later discovered and she's moved to a family plot). Thinking about the plot of the book I can't think of an appropriate title off the top of my head, so maybe Cornwell had a similar mental block and at the last minute just pulled the title from an
May 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: b-intoxicating
From Potter's Field is yes another brilliant psychological thriller from Patricia Cornwell. The body of a homeless woman is found propped into a sitting position in the freezing cold. Kay Scarpetta, chief medical examiner of Virginia is called in and immediately recognises the handiwork of Temple Brooks Gault, a serial killer never caught. Except this time, his target is none other than her.

In From Potter's Field, Patricia Cornwell explores the different relationships between the characters as w
Baz M
Aug 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
I wouldn't rate this at the top of the Scarpetta series but Cornwell is great at what she does and this is no exception.
If you don't know the Scarpetta series and read this on it's own, there are probably a few too many previous references to be comfortable as a standalone novel.

That aside, there is plenty of action and any novel with a wintry setting will always have my heart.

A high 3 stars.
Brigid Keely
Feb 09, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013, mystery, crime, fiction
"From Potter's Field," by Patricia Cornwell, is the 6th book in the Kay Scarpetta series... a series that is increasingly frustrating for me as a reader.

There are some things that Cornwell does really well, and some things she does poorly. The scene were an out-of-control and panicked Scarpetta tries to regain control and calm by making dinner for everyone despite not having groceries? That's a wonderful scene, emotional and true and very in character. The increasingly dark and gross portrayal
Mar 11, 2010 rated it did not like it
Ugh. Worst series ever. I gave Kay Scarpetta a heroic try, dragging myself through 6 awful books waiting for things to get better, but they never did. At least the boring Temple Gault (horrendous name by the way) is over and done with. I have so many gripes about this series it's hard to know where to begin.

First off, isn't she the medical examiner? Shouldn't she be doing more corpse examining? Why is she always running off somewhere to go investigate? I understand the consultant forensic pathol
Renee Hayes-Comage
Loved the reading! Watching the tangled web become unwoven!!
The at-least-three novels that were all "about" Temple Gault (birth name, srsly) showed an obvious progression, or is it digression when it gets worse? The problem was less that I have a dozen of those books, it's that the two I bought outside the series are now spoiled to me. I had really liked Hornet's Net and thought it smart and witty and showing a different type of m/f relationship, so I ran to get the follow up - then never read it. NOW I see how Cornwell went from her first novels (which ...more
Anne Hawn Smith
I am liking Kay Scarpetta less and less. She seems bossy, intolerant except to her neurotic niece, and anything but a team member. She chooses to ignore some evidence which is painful to the reader. I felt like shouting at her at times. Why is it that so many main characters do so many stupid things in their investigations which land them in grave danger? I realize that the danger is part of the plot, but there are plenty of danger spots in a real investigation without doing something that your ...more
Viji  (Bookish endeavors)
Dr.Scarpetta keeps on mixing the personal and professional.. there is no way she can stop doing it,isn't it?

This is one of her decent works-neither very good not bad.. there isn't any of the classic detective work,if you are looking for one. Even the killer do not have a well-developed psyche. If a profiler tries to work on Cornwell's killers,he would end up nowhere. Psychology is almost non-existent in this work and so it sort of feels hollow considering we are talking of a serial killer here.
Dec 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
Cornwell returns with a captivating novel that seeks to tie together the loose threads from the previous two. With a serial killer still on the loose, Scarpetta becomes his main focus, after being offered up an odd Christmas present. When an unidentified woman is found murdered in Central Park, Scarpetta goes to investigate as part of the FBI consulting team. Trying to piece things together, Scarpetta soon realises that the killer, Temple Gault, is more interested in ensuring that all the killin ...more
Elizabeth Penrose
May 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dr. Kay Scarpetta is a medical examiner and FBI consultant. For years she has helped the government track the notorious serial killer Temple Gault, whose victims are easily recognized due to his distinct killing patterns. After eluding capture over a long period of time, Gault begins killing again, and Scarpetta and her partner Pete Marino are sent to investigate the body of Gault’s latest victim. The pair meet up with Commander Frances Penn, Chief Benton Wesley, and several other FBI and police ...more
aPriL does feral sometimes
Listen, I'm a fan, right? But, man, that ending sucked! Just saying. What happened? For 400 pages there is an exciting build-up of anxiety and anticipation, and is as if Patricia Cornwell got a phone call from the publisher telling her to send in the manuscript NOW. So she concluded it all in one paragraph. Thud.


Gentle reader, this is the not the book where you want to start reading, if you are interested in the Dr. Kay Scarpetta series. You should start here: Postmortem. Ther
Chinablue_25 West Bostedor
Excellent book. Once again Cornwell has produced a fast paced action packed book. You can just feel the tension. Two books ago Gault (the bad guy) was introduced to the series and finally in this book it comes to a close. The only thing I didn't like was it left you hanging on whether or not Carrie (Gaults accomplice and Scarpettas niece's ex lover) was caught. If she hasn't been then I am quite sure we haven't seen the last of her. Once again Scarpetta is still having her affair with her collea ...more
Sherri F.
4+ stars

#6 in Dr. Kay Scarpetta series AND, more importantly, the last of the little mini-series/trilogy within the series (installments #4, 5 & 6). I really like this series, and was pretty satisfied with the wind up, or what at least seems to be the wind-up of the Temple Gault/Carrie Grethen-related trilogy (but you really never know with them). This was a stronger installment than some others I have read (before & after it in the series) and me tense throughout worried that something
Jul 14, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm probably being generous with a 2-star rating. I didn't think much of this book. A few good scenes, but overall it wasn't very thrilling or suspenseful and the climax was a let down. This is my second Cornwell read, and I didn't particularly like the Scarpetta character in the last one ("The Body Farm") and I really don't like the character now. And I don't like Cornwell's writing--which goes hand in hand with not liking the Scarpetta character since she writes in the first person. There's se ...more
Good for learning about 'show don't tell' writing, detailed forensic description, slow police work and a jaded, depressed 'other woman' ME's world view. A dud as a crime thriller. Awful, really. Illogical 'genius' serial killer (and family) was a big part of it but Scarpetta & Co. did not fare well either - especially in the climax - what the hell was that?
Paul Weiss
Temple Brooks Gault is a nasty serial killer you won’t be forgetting any time soon!

When a woman’s brutally mutilated corpse is discovered in Central Park on Christmas Eve, Virginia medical examiner Kay Scarpetta and her erstwhile working partner Pete Marino know that their brutal nemesis, Temple Gault, is out of retirement and back on the hunt!

If you’re already a Kay Scarpetta fan, you’ll be pleased to see that, beyond the basic murder plot and the phenomenal details concerning forensic patholog
Liz Wallis
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
An excellent read... but then I enjoy most of the Kay Scarpetta books written by Patricia Cornwell.

The name sort of rang a bell... and checked this was indeed made into a movie. I finished the book quite quickly - as it is an exciting read...demanding that you continue to find out how it all ends. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys thrillers.... murder mysteries and 'whodunit's'!

I might just watch the movie now, that I have read the book. I don't like to do it the oth
I am really enjoying my re-read of this series and of course how differently I view the characters now that I am a similar age to Kay. In my 20s when I first read these books, Kay always seemed so old :-P.

This book was set in both Virginia and NYC (specifically Central Park) and was a carry on from previous books with trying to track down serial killer Gault. I remembered how this book ended - so there was a lack of mystery this time around and the ending was pieced together really quickly (a f
Nov 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Would have been better if the author didn't use her characters to get on her soapbox about homophobia. Lucy can be a pain in the ass but at times, Scarpetta is worse - some of her actions belong to the TSTL heroines in romantic suspense.

I also learnt (through Wikipedia!) that Cornwell changes to Present Tense from Book 11 (The Last Precinct) onwards. This has completely put me off the series.
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
Raewyn Johnston
Jul 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
You know what you’re getting with a Kay Scarpetta book. I enjoyed the book even though it did finish rather quickly
Feb 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I always really enjoy the Scarpetta books but there was something about this one that meant I didn't want to put it down. The climax was so exciting and worth waiting for. Brilliant read.
Katie Fitzgerald
This book is more of everything I loved in the last book: more computer-related intrigue, more of Scarpetta's relationships with Lucy, Benton, and Marino, and more twists and turns in the capture of serial killer Temple Gault. Though I'm glad to be able to finally move onto another case in the next book, this brought the story arc of the last three or four books to a satisfying, if confusing, conclusion.
Dec 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
I just finished reading this book, i loved Patricia Cornwell. I normally love reading her books, but i found this book to be long eith not enough action. It finally picked up towards the end, but in the beginning and part of middle i had to push myself to read through it. But in the end i am still a fan of her books 👍
Jun 04, 2016 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one, people who check their brains at the door
Shelves: waste-of-time
Would have given this one 0 or negative stars, I am so done with this series. I had issues with the last book but decided to give this one a try to see if it got better or went somewhat back to the goodness of the previous books, it was worse. None of the characters are likable anymore not a single one, I would have let the bad guy kill them all in a heartbeat by the time I was half way through this book! Again the title was poorly picked and had almost nothing to do with the story except for ma ...more
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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)
  • Cause of Death (Kay Scarpetta, #7)
  • Unnatural Exposure (Kay Scarpetta, #8)
  • Point of Origin (Kay Scarpetta, #9)
  • Black Notice (Kay Scarpetta, #10)
  • The Last Precinct (Kay Scarpetta, #11)
“The world is full of people who mean no harm and cause a great deal of it.” 8 likes
“Blood squirted as his transected femoral artery haemorrhaged to the rhythm of his horrible heart.
- From Potter's Field”
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