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Patricia Cornwell is one of the world's major internationally bestselling authors, translated into more than thirty-five languages in more than 120 countries. She is a founder of the Virginia Institute of Forensic Science and Medicine; a founding member of the National Forensic Academy; a member of the Advisory Board for the Forensic Sciences Training Program at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, New York City; and a member of the Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital's National Council, where she is an advocate for psychiatric research. In 2008, Cornwell won the Galaxy British Book Awards's Book Direct Crime Thriller of the Year--the first American to win this prestigious award. In 2011, she was awarded the medal of Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the Ministry of Culture in Paris. Her most recent bestsellers include Port Mortuary, The Scarpetta Factor, The Front, and Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper--Case Closed. Her earlier works include Postmortem--the only novel to win five major crime awards in a single year--and Cruel & Unusual, which won Britain's Gold Dagger Award for best crime novel of 1993. Dr. Kay Scarpetta herself won the 1999 Sherlock Award for the best detective created by an American author.
Manipulation is the major force in Cornwell's 19th Kay Scarpetta mystery, as the chief medical examiner is lured down to the Georgia Prison for Women. The first third of the story consists primarily of Cornwell's painstaking reprisal of the circumstances of the death of Deputy Chief Jack Fielding and the attack on Scarpetta by his daughter, Dawn Kincaid, covered in the last book (Port Mortuary), barely developing this sequel. The interest level perks up a bit with the reappearance of former New York prosecutor Jamie Berger, but that only causes more whining from this supposedly intelligent, strong woman. The usual sidekicks are thinly drawn shadows of their former selves; Scarpetta's Georgia Forensic colleague -Colin Denton is the sole character with any flash of personality. At the end, Scarpetta kicks herself around, and the book blurb's promise of "a terrifying terrain of conspiracy and potential terrorism" resolves quickly and flatly. -VERDICT The Scarpetta franchise is very tired and should be allowed to retire much more gracefully. Reader Kate Reading may be the sole saving grace-familiar with the characters and to listeners-but even she seems weary of it all. Not recommended. ["Cornwell's latest overwhelms the plot with distracting details that contribute little to the overall story.... Fans, however, may overlook these distractions," read the review of the New York Times best-selling Putnam hc, LJ Xpress Reviews, 12/9/11.-Ed.]-Joyce Kessel, Villa Maria Coll., Buffalo (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
"When it comes to the forensic sciences, nobody can touch Cornwell."--The New York Times Book Review "Cornwell has created a character so real, so compelling, so driven that this reader has to remind herself regularly that Scarpetta is just a product of an author's imagination."--USA Today "Scarpetta is one of the most believable characters in crime fiction."--The Vancouver Sun