Unnatural Death by Patricia Cornwell – blogtour

It’s hard to believe that we’ve now reached the 27th Kay Scarpetta thriller from Patricia Cornwell! I remember discovering them back in the early 1990s, reading the first two, Post Mortem and Body of Evidence, back to back and then devouring each one as they were published up until about 2000. I’m pretty sure that the 11th book, The Last Precinct, was the last one I read back then – and with Scarpetta’s love interest FBI profiler Benton Wesley gone, I lost interest slightly and hit series fatigue. To be honest, getting as far as the eleventh book in a series is an achievement for me, I’m notoriously fickle at keeping up.

However, when offered the opportunity to read this 27th novel in the series, I thought I’d give it a go, and it was fun returning to Kay Scarpetta’s world!

Scarpetta, now working as Chief Medical Officer for Virginia, is thrown into a new case on the first page. Two campers have been killed in mysterious circumstances in a remote wilderness region of the state, they were persons of interest to the FBI. It’s the day after Halloween, and she’s been busy, and life is about to get busier still with these fatalities. She alerts Marino (hurray, her staunch former detective colleague is still with her, now as her forensic ops specialist), and contacts a Henry Addams, the most discrete undertaker she deals with to pre-warn him he’ll have two bodies coming his way.

She’s pretty sure it wasn’t an animal that killed them; their trail cameras weren’t set off and whatever/whoever it was appeared bulletproof as the victims shot at it.

“My Lord, it’s all sounding stranger and stranger,” Henry says. “What condition are the bodies in? Pretty grim I have a feeling.”

“They’ve been in the elements for hours, and I don’t expect them to be in good shape. We also don’t know what they’ve been exposed to that might be dangerous to the rest of us, including poisons and microscopic organisms I don’t usually encounter.”

Curiouser and curiouser. The arrival of a black helicopter, piloted by Kay’s niece Lucy for the US Secret Service, signals time to go. It’s a relief for Kay to escape her colleagues and fly off to meet up with Marino at the site. They’ll do the autopsies in a special mobile biohazard autopsy suite.

From hereon in, if I give much more detail about what happens, it risks spoiling things, except to say that Benton (yes, I knew he’d been brought back from the dead, now as a consultant for the Secret Service) and Lucy know a lot more than Kay and Marino, something that when she finds out will make her very angry, as Benton is her soulmate and he never told her what had happened. Suffice it to say, later all their lives will be in danger – but from whom?

Having started off at a leisurely pace, once the big secret is out, things speed up and take a terrifying course for Kay and her loved ones, and as usual, with Lucy being an IT expert there is plenty of high-tech involved. I am always wary whether long-running novel series can keep their momentum going, but Cornwell keeps Kay moving with the times, and there’s no sign of her flagging yet. It was great fun getting back in the world of Kay Scarpetta. Now someone tell me, should I go back and fill in that big gap?

Source: Review copy courtesy of Midas PR

Sphere hardback, 432 pages. BUY at Blackwell’s via my affiliate link (free UK P&P)

5 thoughts on “Unnatural Death by Patricia Cornwell – blogtour

  1. A Life in Books says:

    I remember selling shed loads of Patricia Cornwell novels when I was a bookseller. Not for me, but I knew lots of readers who loved her novels and I’m sure they still do. Just have to hope Kay doesn’t have retirement in her sights!

  2. Elle says:

    I do love that they’re all set in Virginia. I’ve never read one, but I might keep this in my back pocket for moments of homesickness!

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