Kari's Reviews > Body of Evidence

Body of Evidence by Patricia Cornwell
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's review
Mar 03, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: crime, mystery, own, adult

Even though you don't have to read the Kay Scarpetta novels in the order they were written, I've chosen to do so. Body of Evidence is the second novel presented in the Scarpetta series, and follows Richmond, Virginia resident and current ME, Kay Scarpetta through a twisting plot of scandal, life-threatening circumstances, and of course, murder.

Patricia Cornwell does an excellent job with really describing her characters and setting. Dr. Scarpetta has an acute attention to detail, and as the book is written through her eyes in the first person tense, such details come out well in her writing. Her characters are given dimension, and I have to say, for as semi-stereo-typed as he is, Detective Peter Marino is probably my favorite character over the lead herself. He's gritty, crass, and willing to put himself in the line of fire for his fellow officers and twice-now-stalked medical examiner.

In saying "twice-stalked", I kept thinking of the events in Post Mortem where Scarpetta has had her life invaded with threats and some sort of scandal that rocks her personal and work related life. BoE is really no different. After an author is murdered, and those who felt close to her, meet their untimely deaths, the murderer grows enthralled with Kay Scarpetta. Eerily made phone calls, a blown up car, and soon Dr. Scarpetta is re-living the deceased author's nightmare.

There are quite a few of loose ends, and questions I had with this book. It felt towards the end as the clues were coming together to reveal the killer, that some plot elements (Sparacino, for example) bore no closure. The manuscript that has everyone in a tizzy is a bit of a let down in that it's not discovered until the end, and little becomes of it. It's supposed to be the greatest memoir ever written, the police get their hands on it, and then... That's the last we hear of it. Even Sparacino, who's supposed to have ties to the mob, is lost by the last quarter of the book. The big bad (aside from the murderer) is a compelling threat through much of the story, and then I guess like most gangsters, gets the hell out of Dodge without telling anyone.

I thoroughly enjoy the technical aspects of the books. I think most of us fall into Marino's shoes when Kay starts in on some machine used to do this or that, while like Marino we go, "Huh?" Then the process is explained in layman's terms so that the writing appeals to those who know what Scarpetta is talking about, and for those of us who don't.

I don't know much about the roles of a medical examiner--even one as high up as Kay Scarpetta--but I'm beginning to wonder if Virginia's famous ME goes above and beyond her duty. She seems to do a lot of investigating work, work that I would think falls under police work, so I don't know what's accurate and what's not. I suppose it's like watching CSI: and watching as the gang does the investigating themselves. Certainly, this must be a stretch on what real ME's (and CSI's) do?

Although slow in its predictability, Body of Evidence was a pretty good read. It definitely keeps you guessing and on edge. If looking for a mystery or crime novel, and are new to the genre like I am, then I'd recommend this book (and series) to you.

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Reading Progress

March 3, 2012 – Started Reading
March 3, 2012 – Shelved
March 6, 2012 –
page 70
March 9, 2012 –
page 240
March 12, 2012 – Shelved as: crime
March 12, 2012 – Shelved as: mystery
March 12, 2012 – Finished Reading
February 6, 2017 – Shelved as: own
February 6, 2017 – Shelved as: adult

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