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Postmortem Paperback – January 1, 2010
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- ASIN : 0751544396
- Publisher : Sphere (January 1, 2010)
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 9780751544398
- ISBN-13 : 978-0751544398
- Item Weight : 10.9 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.24 x 1.1 x 7.72 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #322,980 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Also listening to the Audible audio book edition of this book off & on, the narrator does a good job at the voices of the different characters. I'd recommend it if you're looking for an audio book.
I found the bad guy very amazing up until the end and then I found him to be very underwhelming. I did love the science (well my idea of science) on both sides -- the computer side and the medical side. I also found her niece very annoying and felt they were tiptoeing around her about everything so she wouldn't get upset.
The narrator did a good job on the book and the characters and I have to admit I have heard other books in this series but I felt the author kept the characteristics of the characters that I enjoyed in some of the later books. They sounded like the characters I already knew except the character of Benton which I found this version different than all the other versions I have listened to.
This is not a criticism of "Postmortem" because it was used by many writers of the time. There are other distractions in the story, however, such as the ever popular fixing and drinking cups of steaming coffee, the changing weather patterns predicting or underlining the action, and the inevitable sidekick that is experienced but prejudiced and annoying.
All of this said, Cornwell has developed a sophisticated, strong and educated character in Kay Scarpetta. As the newly appointed chief medical officer of Virginia, her autopsies are meticulous and she is relentless in finding the cause of death. Her appointed partner in the Richmond police force is detective Marino, who knows the beat but expresses stereotypical opinions of different types of people. He and Scarpetta annoy one another immediately. Annoying the reader is Marino's misuse of the most common verb in English. He always uses "was" whether the subject is singular or plural. It makes him look stupid which he is not, and he proves to be quite valuable to Scarpetta in the end.
The mystery is well detailed and informative as Cornwell has experience both in the Virginia medical examiner's office and as a volunteer police officer. The plot is exciting, but slowed by lengthy red herrings, and the end is out of the blue
But the fact is that I keep coming back. She knows how to tell a story and she is making the most out of her innovative slant on crime novels by bringing the reader into the story from the point of view of a Chief Medical Examiner. A good franchise to have.
This first of the Kay Scarpetta series has a freshness that is missing in some of her later books. It was like discovering a new writer, even though this book was released in 1991. The reader meets characters that recur in the later books. It's almost like watching a television series with a set cast of characters.
Yeah, I came back because despite the flaws I suppose Patricia Cornwell has my number.
Many current TV shows (CSI, NCIS, etc.) owe a great deal to Patricia Cornwell as her pathologist does what they now do without a lot of the science and computer aids of today. It is important to remember the timeframe when novels are written - don't read everything with your present-day biases (i.e way more smoking than today) and you will enjoy this novel a great deal more..
I found it interesting that she did not make the heroes or villains wholly good or bad. The characters were more complex that I expected. Well worth reading.
Top reviews from other countries
I'm not sure it's going to be worth the effort.
In this book, we see the introduction of all the Scarpetta regulars (FBI analyst Benton Wesley, redneck cop Pete Marino, and, in this book, child genius Lucy Farinelli), as Scarpetta investigates a Richmond VA serial killer.
The book is... of its time. Everyone smokes in the offices (including Scarpetta, who berates an uncomfortably described technician about the idea that smokers will soon have to go outside to smoke). The offices are 1980s governmental/industrial concrete (it's set in 1991). The minorities talk different. Gay men are effeminate, lesbians are overly envious of their ex's who have moved on, and cross-dressers are... not fully understood. Oh, and the basis of Scarpetta's holier than thou attitude is there (despite the smoking inside, the assumptions above race, and the dubious views on the LGBT community).
In short, this book IS moderately different to the later books, but not in a wholly positive way.
The one problem is you'll struggle to work out whodunit, as this book is more of a character study of the future Cornwell leads, who are introduced here. The one thing I HAD forgotten was how competent a detective Pete Marino was. He still rednecks, but does investigations well enough for me to wonder why Scarpetta dislikes him so much.
Ultimately, however, Scarpetta is not an especially likeable character here and she's basically impotent. I could see exactly which cliché ending was coming from about the first page. That would not be so bad if various plot threads dangled the possibility that I was wrong. But no. Maybe the trope wasn't so common back when this book was written, but now just about every book or TV series with a female lead has done this to death. Like I said, it's aged badly.
If you are a 1st time reader you have to remember that this was 1st published 29/30 years ago. The forensics, a far cry from what we are used to reading and watching today were true for the time and very well described.
I was also taken aback by the misogynistic undertones from colleagues that Kay Scarpetta has to battle against yet deals with in her stride. Something some of us will remember having to deal with back in the day!
Patricia certainly had me wrapped up in the storyline once more, I loved every page.
She certainly set the standard for female protagonists in this genre. We have a lot to thank her for!
Women are being murdered in their homes. Dr Scarpetta will have to triumph over conflict to be able to do her job. There is a turbulent atmosphere and a general resigned acceptance with regards to an insensitive professional culture. But not every one’s eye will be blind; an unexpected character will give a ground shaking speech with the echo of past human kind struggles, worth waiting for. It brought the retribution of Ms Richardson’s cleaver to mind.
Some technical passages will need several re-reads if, like me, you find it difficult. Alternatively, dismiss without remorse in order to proceed with the riveting story. As the story was reaching its full orbit I was dreading being interrupted.