Emily's Reviews > Body of Evidence

Body of Evidence by Patricia Cornwell
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Feb 15, 2012

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An author receiving threatening phone calls decides to hide for a while down in Key West and work on her memoir. She’s murdered the very night she sets foot back in Richmond. Kay Scarpetta, Richmond Chief Medical Examiner, investigates the case along with the intensely dislikable Lieutenant Marino. It looks like a psycho stalker did the deed, but the missing manuscript has an unscrupulous and greedy agent complicating the investigation in order to get his hands on the valuable pages.

Cornwell’s writing is fast paced, technical enough to be realistic to those familiar with law enforcement and psychiatry, but also understandable to the lay person (although I’m not sure why the ME is getting so involved, it’s been my experience that they mostly limit their investigations to autopsies and evidence found on the body).

Unlike a lot of female protagonists in crime novels, I can’t fault Kay very much with putting herself in dangerous situations, but again, she does get much more involved with the case than one would expect from someone in her job description and much, much closer to the killer than necessary.

I mentioned this in my review of the first Kay Scarpetta book, Postmortem but it bears repeating: if your lengthy and intensive investigation leads you almost to the point where you know who/where your killer is and said killer shows up at the protagonist’s home/work/favorite restaurant, etc. and tries to kill him or her, your entire investigation is pointless. You pretty much could have waited until he showed up and saved yourself a lot of trouble. I get that it’s nice to have a suspenseful, dangerous climax, but that does not have to happen on the investigator’s own turf.

I like a good crime novel, and this had enough twists, turns, and possible suspects to keep me entertained, but the ending seemed a little pat and coincidental. I would rate it as average. 3 stars.
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