Other Sellers on Amazon
Follow the Author
Autopsy: A Scarpetta Novel (Kay Scarpetta, 25) Mass Market Paperback – May 24, 2022
|New from||Used from|
Enhance your purchase
New York Times Bestseller
In this relaunch of the electrifying, landmark #1 bestselling thriller series, chief medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta hunts those responsible for two wildly divergent and chilling murders.
Forensic pathologist Dr. Kay Scarpetta has come almost full circle, returning to Virginia, the state where she launched her storied career, as the chief medical examiner. Finding herself the new girl in town once again after being away for many years, she’s inherited both an overbearing secretary and a legacy of neglect and potential corruption.
She and her husband, Benton Wesley, now a forensic psychologist with the U.S. Secret Service, have relocated to Old Town Alexandria, where she’s headquartered five miles from the Pentagon in a post-pandemic world that’s been torn apart by civil and political unrest. After just weeks on the job, she’s called to a scene by railroad tracks—a woman’s body has been shockingly displayed, her throat cut down to the spine—and as Scarpetta begins to follow the trail, it leads unnervingly close to her own historic neighborhood.
At the same time, a catastrophe occurs in a top secret laboratory in outer space, endangering at least two scientists aboard. Appointed to the highly classified Doomsday Commission that specializes in sensitive national security cases, Scarpetta is summoned to the White House and tasked with finding out exactly what happened. But even as she remotely works the first potential crime scene in space, an apparent serial killer strikes again very close to home.
This latest novel in the groundbreaking Kay Scarpetta series captivates readers with the shocking twists, high-wire tension, and forensic detail that Patricia Cornwell is famous for, proving once again why she’s the world’s #1 bestselling crime writer.
The Amazon Book Review
Book recommendations, author interviews, editors' picks, and more. Read it now.
“With a sophisticated narrative, an outstanding company of characters, a horrific crime, and a surprising ending [Cornwell] proves you can go home again… Scarpetta is brilliant, compassionate and humble, excelling in her profession and in diplomacy while trying to solve a heinous crime… Longtime fans will cheer Scarpetta’s return.” — Library Journal (starred review)
“Scarpetta is back at her former job as chief medical examiner for the state of Virginia. She has a lot of cleaning up to do… [Cornwell] pulls it off nicely. In fact, she pulls off the whole book nicely. Scarpetta's return to her Virginia roots feels just right.” — Booklist
“The autopsy, remotely controlled by Scarpetta—and physically carried out by two astronauts—is an astonishing, groundbreaking sequence… Patricia Cornwell’s terse, evocative style adds to the creeping sense of unease… Thirty years on, there’s still no other crime writer like her.” — The Sunday Times (UK)
“To have Scarpetta return—and engaged in a hunt for a possible serial killer—is simply terrific… The dead woman’s trail seems to be leading to a dangerous serial killer but Scarpetta isn’t convinced. The science, as readers know, will tell… [This is] gold-star Scarpetta at work… I loved it.” — Globe and Mail (Toronto)
“Autopsy revitalizes this venerable series and its beloved cast of characters... As always, forensics is at the forefront—but it is balanced by the themes of family, friendship, and food... Whether you’re revisiting the indomitable Scarpetta or meeting her for the very first time, this is an ideal (re)entry point.” — Criminal Element
"Propulsive...the tension is sustained to the last page...Dr. Kay Scarpetta is back and with her is a cast of well-drawn characters and intersecting plot lines...Thriller lovers and Cornwell’s many fans will enjoy riding along with Scarpetta as she navigates dark waters on a personal and professional level, on Earth and in space." — Jacksonville Times-Union
“Thank you, Patricia Cornwell: Dr. Kay Scarpetta is back!... [Cornwell’s] stories feature taut, complex, and well-wrought plots full of tension, suspense, unexpected twists, and a mood of danger and foreboding, all centered around an admirable central character… A solid entry in a memorable crime series.” — The American Spectator
"[Scarpetta] slips easily and naturally into past tense when filling us in on background details—all of which seems to give her slightly sharper edges; her doubts and also her impatience are especially vivid and warm in that mode." — Sullivan County Democrat
"Autopsy strides comfortably back into the dark and dangerous work of the complicated medical examiner. Long-time readers of this series will enjoy the gritty crime details, puzzling clues, and familiar characters." — Manhattan Book Review
“Autopsy is… the best book Cornwell has written in years, a tale penned from the heart as well as the mind. A seminal forensics thriller that reminds us that this is a sub-genre she basically invented. The last must-read book of 2021 is not to be missed.” — Booktrib.com
“Dr. Kay Scarpetta… [is] an awesome force in the field of forensic science.” — New York Times Book Review on Flesh and Blood
“In this tense forensic thriller, an ingenious killer threatens to destroy that which Kay Scarpetta loves most—her family.” — Daily News on Flesh and Blood
“Everyone knows Scarpetta; she has the wit, intelligence, and strength that any forensic sleuth should own. This never-stop action plot is yet another gift to readers from Patricia Cornwell-a literary artist that is never going to stop writing some of the best and most memorable thrillers out there.” — Suspense Magazine on Flesh and Blood
“In Scarpetta, Patricia Cornwell has a character as strong as any in popular fiction.” — Wall Street Journal
“When it comes to the forensic sciences, nobody can touch Cornwell.” — New York Times Book Review
“Patricia Cornwell has created characters with real emotions and life experiences, and she provides them with more than enough danger to make things interesting. Dr. Scarpetta has become a good friend.” — MysteryPlayground.net on Chaos
“Lots of cutting-edge forensic detail and some revelatory character moments.” — Publishers Weekly on Chaos
“While Scarpetta’s character has flaws, she is still a powerful female protagonist and she offers the reader an amazing calculating approach to investigation. I am always amazed at the passion that she has for her position. . . . A fast engaging read.” — Dad of Divas Reviews on Chaos
“There is a quiet intensity to Ms. Cornwell’s writing that compels you to read, then the eeriness sets in. . . . With Chaos, once again Patricia Cornwell mesmerizes with her astounding scientific knowledge, her keen ear for dialogue and the human psyche, all woven together flawlessly.” — FreshFiction.com on Chaos
“Thrilling…. Readers new to Cornwell will find themselves involved from the very first page, as will the veterans. Chaos is one book you should not miss.” — Bookreporter.com
“Cornwell is still the ace of forensic science mysteries. Dr. Kay Scarpetta and her family and friends just keep growing as characters, and Cornwell’s plots are still taut and tangled enough to make readers afraid to miss even a bit of minutiae. With Flesh and Blood, Cornwell is at the top of her game.” — RT Book Reviews
“Stir phony IRS agents and wisecracking Boston cops and a few red herrings into the mix, and you’ve got the makings of a real puzzler. . . . A trademark Cornwell mystery: terse and tangled, messy and body-fluidy, and altogether satisfying.” — Kirkus Reviews on Depraved Heart
“Dark and cleverly plotted.” — Booklist on Depraved Heart
“Scarpetta is one of the most believable characters in crime fiction.” — Vancouver Sun
“Forget the pretenders. Cornwell reigns.” — Mirror (London)
“Cornwell’s books run on high octane fuel, a cocktail of adrenalin and fear” — The Times (London)
About the Author
Patricia Cornwell is recognized as one of the world’s top bestselling crime authors with novels translated into thirty-six languages in more than 120 countries. Her novels have won numerous prestigious awards including the Edgar, the Creasey, the Anthony, the Macavity, and the Prix du Roman d’Aventure. Beyond the Scarpetta series, Patricia has written a definitive book about Jack the Ripper, a biography, and three more fiction series among others. Cornwell, a licensed helicopter pilot and scuba diver, actively researches the forensic technologies that inform her work. She was born in Miami, grew up in Montreat, North Carolina, and now lives and works in Boston.
- Publisher : William Morrow Paperbacks (May 24, 2022)
- Language : English
- Mass Market Paperback : 400 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0063112213
- ISBN-13 : 978-0063112216
- Item Weight : 8 ounces
- Dimensions : 4.19 x 0.9 x 7.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #32,728 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United States on December 10, 2021
Reviews with images
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Cornwell incorporates a wealth of near-future cutting-edge technology into the story so that the story remains as fresh as possible. Free traffic by the shuttle in outer space, regenerated body organs using 3D printer, avatars by AI, those makes us think that they have already been put into practical use without our knowledge. Scarpetta who drank the wine brought back from Europe becomes a prey to the poison contained in it. Did the criminal aim at Scarpetta? Who on earth and where did the poison get mixed in? The story is extremely confused as a number of incidents are intricately intertwined. Cornwell lets Scarpetta continue her steady verification. As if Cornwell forced herself to return to the origin of the Scarpetta series! Isn’t this also the reason why she chose “Autopsy” as the title of this book? Taking advantage of the five-year hiatus, Cornwell organized the main characters surrounding Scarpetta. Lucy’s partner Janet and their adopted child Desi had became victims of a pandemic during their stay in London. It was revealed in the final chapter of “Chaos” that Desi was a child of Carrie Grethen and Temple Gault. Cornwell may have thought that this continuation was sufficient. Scarpetta’s mother was no longer in the world, and most surprisingly Dorothy and Marino were married. Although only Benton suggested their relationship in the previous work.
The truth of these cases, unveiled in the last few pages, is not intimidating in itself, but convincing. The serial killer was lurking around Scarpetta. The first victim happened to be sacrificed by his poisonous fangs, and her accomplice staying in outer space who learned of her disaster were trying to escape from outer space for fear of exposing their espionage. The poison in the wine was indiscriminately mixed by a competitor to damage the wine’s reputation. Readers who lament that Scarpetta’s appeal has been halved in “Chaos” will be satisfied with “Autopsy.” The plot drawn by Cornwell is natural without any unreasonable strain. By continuing relentless verification, the thread of the intricately intertwined cases is unraveled and the truth emerges. Welcome back Scarpetta. I’m looking forward to your next autopsy.
There ARE murders in this book and there is, in a sense, investigation (although most of the key stuff happens off-page and there is a long and pointless scene where Kay and Marino are in the field gathering evidence that amounts to nothing). We have a murdered woman with a suspicious history that may or may not be connected to a past under-investigated death, a double murder in space (the giveaway of where Cornwell's current interests lie), a journalist who fakes an attack on her house, a poisoned wine bottle, a missing cat collar, and political intrigue in Kay's new job. At her peak, Cornwell could have taken any combination of these (well, maybe not the cat collar) and given us a cool plot focused on forensics. In this book, they're just a backdrop for Kay's petty fights with her secretary and an overlong detour to the White House for a personal meeting with the President and Vice President. Unlike some reviewers, I'm not upset by the mere mention of Biden and Harris, but these scenes in particular are so devoid of personality and interest that they might as well be from a generic disaster movie. What's the purpose of these scenes? I don't know if Cornwell herself could explain.
There's also a tragic subplot for Lucy that is a transparent bid to fill Cornwell's weird drive to ensure Lucy's main source of love and human contact is her Aunt Kay. I hate to say anyone is ever UNFAIR with a fictional character of their own creation, but if I had to say it about anyone, I'd say it about Cornwell and Lucy. Anyone she gets close to except for her aunt winds up being an evil mastermind or dead. One of the main purposes this serves in this book is to highlight how much better Kay is than her sister, Dorothy. Not only do we get multiple scenes of Dorothy failing Lucy, we also get a rundown of how much happier Marino (Dorothy's spouse) is spending time with Kay, as she fills deep needs for him that Dorothy apparently can't even comprehend. As if her failures with Lucy and Marino aren't enough, we're also told that Kay has better fashion sense, a more tasteful home, and can hold her alcohol better. Oh, and Dorothy tries to give masks to people who aren't wearing them which I guess is somehow bad?
The less interested Cornwell is in the forensics that made the series great, the more her powers of observation are turned to just being mean-spirited. Kay used to be starchy but likable. Now she's the sort of person who walks through a murder victim's house and makes catty comments about how she doesn't recycle or water her plants enough. Ma'am, the person in question is on a slab in your morgue minus her hands. And somehow we're supposed to think that Dorothy is the judgy busybody?
Compared to some of the recent books in this series, this really isn't THAT bad. But it's not good. After spending pages and pages focusing on bent pennies or a space-lab crime scene, the supposed actual plot is wrapped up in the epilogue with a "And then out of nowhere, came the killer!" While I'm sympathetic to any author who is trying to set books in the actual conditions of "these unprecedented times," the whole theme of Kay and Lucy's privileged world being rocked twice by two seperate tradespeople (one evilly inconsiderate, the other just evil) felt . . . gross. When the only Covid victims with a face in your book are a billionaire and her son and they're killed by their contact with a working person, well . . . that's a choice.
I have learned something new with each book. Well worth the time to read.
Top reviews from other countries
The over exaggerated pandemic.. the deaths of the two characters because it seems she was unable to keep them involved only to keep them involved "virtually" anyway.. ridiculous storyline.. far too much computer and geek technology and no real autopsies🤣 it's now far too much Sci fi I'd say rather than what she was good at. It's a shame. Haven't even finished the book, am half way through and it's just meh.
I’ve been an avid fan since Scarpetta’s debut in Post Mortem, but this is the last time I will ever read of her, let alone buy a hardcover of Cornwell.
Cornwell is riding her readers goodwill to the limits here. A writer who was once a trailblazer of the emerging CSI genre has lost her mojo. Blowfly’s opening chapter blew me away to the extent I read it standing up in a bookstore and asked for it as a Christmas present. Blowfly although good initially, went a bit downhill, but I was still engaged because she cared about her victim, cared about the characters that were still very much alive. And because she cared so did I. Now her characters, once crafted with love and nuances, are now lacklustre, stock fiction cardboard cut outs who lack discernible passion, presence, and life, never mind an arc.
Lucy has lost her partner and child, and is presented as someone talking to, and receiving advice from, her dead partner’s avatar. But this grief isn’t explored in depth, instead their deaths from Covid and subsequent return of the ashes by Fed Ex while bodies are being buried in mass graves in London is so factually lazy it almost appears as if this is a first draft which needs edited and refined. As if she was clearing out dead end characters, but they could have died in so many more interesting ways, and with all the connections political and federal why oh why could Lucy not have been there? I guess Cornwell couldn’t figure that out either.
The plot feels familiar; a dark island with a running trail with lone female runners being murdered, office political power plays, then unrealistic in others; murder on a space station, an interesting premise and possibly the ‘best’ part of the book. While I accept the technically factual aspects of the prose, the fiction writing is lazy. There is no suspense, no allowing the reader to guess who the bad guy/guys are, the book is mainly concerned with office politics involving cliched characters gaining the upper hand, wielding their power and then being made to accept Scarpetta’s return ungraciously. So why was she hired in the first place? The reader is incidental to this writer’s ego.
This book is an example of a writer who should have left her characters retired but has decided on a comeback tour for the cash, because it certainly isn’t for the love of writing. This was a mess from start to finish. Strands of stories that were never fully resolved or followed up but left hanging, why were they there and what purpose did they serve? Who actually did it? Well, the ‘how and why and who’ are neatly appended in the epilogue, more by afterthought than design. So why read the entire book? Don’t bother would be my advice, but if you have to all you need to know is in the epilogue.
First of all the stuff to do with covid was both completely outrageous (don't know what news channel Cornwell was watching when she gathered this info!) and unrealistic. After such an amazing plot twist at the end of the last book, it felt like she couldn't be bothered to actually follow it through so just killed off who was necessary to get rid of having to carry through what could have been an extremely interesting story. I genuinely hope this turns out to be a twist in another book that the characters she killed off are still alive because if not this is the height of laziness and the worst writing I have seen in a very long time.
None of the regular characters are in it, and if they are, its for brief moments. She does this weird thing with Marino where she alludes to him swearing but he doesn't actually swear. Well he swears in every single book so what's the issue? Its in a really weird way too, she'll go "Screw off, said Marino, but he didn't say 'screw'" ??????
The side characters are all totally random, irrelevant and new so you rapidly forget who is who.
The culprit of the crime was someone who was actually only mentioned at the very end in RETROSPECT which is the laziest thing a writer can ever do!
"Carried home with me" is honestly the most overused term in this book and it began to get on my nerves by the end.
I hope to God this is a rubbish 'filler' book before the next one because it was a complete waste of time. And I am a DIE HARD Scarpetta fan. Extremely disappointed.
I rarely ever give up on a book, I am not on chapter 22 and I am not really enjoying it.
I don't write this review lightly, I don't like to criticise but it is my honest opinion.