The Body Farm: Scarpetta (Book 5) Info

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When an eleven-year-old girl is found murdered, Kay
Scarpetta, Chief Medical Examiner for the Commonwealth of Virginia, gets
another chance at stopping one of the most heartless and horrifying
serial killers of her career: the demented Temple Gault.


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Reviews for The Body Farm: Scarpetta (Book 5):

4

Jan 07, 2012

Final Thoughts
4 of 5 stars to Patricia Cornwell's fifth book in the Kay Scarpetta series, The Body Farm, published in 1994. The title alone tells you what kind of book this will be, and it is full of thrills and suspense. Scarpetta has an opportunity to try to capture a serial killer she's dealt with sometime in the past. And with the history she needs to revisit in this one, you will learn a lot more about who she is and what's happened to bring her to today.

Another good part of this book Final Thoughts
4 of 5 stars to Patricia Cornwell's fifth book in the Kay Scarpetta series, The Body Farm, published in 1994. The title alone tells you what kind of book this will be, and it is full of thrills and suspense. Scarpetta has an opportunity to try to capture a serial killer she's dealt with sometime in the past. And with the history she needs to revisit in this one, you will learn a lot more about who she is and what's happened to bring her to today.

Another good part of this book is the development of Scarpetta's relationship with her niece, Lucy. Lucy's now 21 and supposed to be an adult; however, her behaviors are still somewhat immature. I like getting to know the character more, even though she isn't too likable at this point. Detective Pete Marino is prominent again, and you want to love him... but he still makes you angry.



As Scarpetta finds different body parts all over the place, she knows she's close to meeting her match. The cleverness and complexity in this book makes it one of the better ones. It's still early on in the series before the books get too "governmental" and "formal," in regard to Scarpetta's career.
The games being played are quite amusing and scary. Given the creepiness of the killer's plans, this is another fine entry in the series.

About Me
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1

Sep 09, 2011

Arrgh! From the misnomered title (A 'body farm' is only in a small portion of the book) to the implausible plot--how did this get past editors??? SPOILER!!! For starters...Only 3 people work at this TOP SECRET section of the FBI and 2 are dismissed because of malfeasance??? One has a dubious past and 'lied' on her application??? Come on!!! Our protagonist easily found that out, but NOBODY from the bureau vetted this crooked employee? Geez! Give me a break! I'm willing to suspend a bit of logic Arrgh! From the misnomered title (A 'body farm' is only in a small portion of the book) to the implausible plot--how did this get past editors??? SPOILER!!! For starters...Only 3 people work at this TOP SECRET section of the FBI and 2 are dismissed because of malfeasance??? One has a dubious past and 'lied' on her application??? Come on!!! Our protagonist easily found that out, but NOBODY from the bureau vetted this crooked employee? Geez! Give me a break! I'm willing to suspend a bit of logic but I am NOT willing to check my brain at the door!! There are many other problems with the storyline...Scarpetta returns to the crime scene at night and 'forgets' a flashlight??? Really??? Her partner may be in grave danger and she says NOTHING???? A child is missing and NOBODY thinks to search her home--but Kay does? Scarpetta enters a suspected killer's home without a gun, yet she sleeps with one next to her bed at all times? Right!! Truly, I didn't really even like/care about the main character...she was a snobby know -it-all and she was sleeping with a married man. Sorry I wasted my time reading this.... ...more
3

Mar 12, 2018

“The Body Farm” is Dr. Kay Scarpetta's fifth novel, published in 1994. Her dear niece's age has been hastily augmented to twenty-one. I was certain Lucy was under twelve in their 1990 introduction. I dislike violence, crime thrillers, forensics, even sad or tragic novels. I abhor reading about horror or grief. The personal perspective of Kay's teammates, family, friends, and my familiarity with them make all her series exceptions. When one wants content that is more serious than light mysteries, “The Body Farm” is Dr. Kay Scarpetta's fifth novel, published in 1994. Her dear niece's age has been hastily augmented to twenty-one. I was certain Lucy was under twelve in their 1990 introduction. I dislike violence, crime thrillers, forensics, even sad or tragic novels. I abhor reading about horror or grief. The personal perspective of Kay's teammates, family, friends, and my familiarity with them make all her series exceptions. When one wants content that is more serious than light mysteries, stepping past the lines of non-grotesque, standard adult mysteries occurs. Patricia Cornwell's novels are a successful effort in higher tolerance.

I ask authors to cease hurling cat deaths into fiction. This will always deduct a star but especially with the horrific addition so pointless and arbitrary to the novel. The main victim had died and that depraved act could not torment her. Besides the animal death deal-breaker and difficulty I had, believing the murderer identity and motive against feline and humans; the pace was fast and multifaceted. I traversed 374 pages in a rush of interest that never waned.

An additional, necessary criticism is that a major plot point and suspect was untouched and unexplained. If it was a red herring, a major series criminal should not have been used. That criminal's plot, pertaining to Lucy's FBI training, suggests that his unwarranted appearance sets up a succeeding novel. The heroine having an affair rattles my respect; no matter what the state of her paramour's marriage might be. Although his wife is a seldom-appearing cardboard figure, she is highly likeable. It seems I come to three stars anyway. The pace, complexity, and personal urgency were written well, keeping emotions and interest high. I look forward to Patricia's next novel, after my habitual break to absorb other tones of fiction and non-fiction. ...more
3

Aug 31, 2018

Number 5 in the Dr. Scarpetta series.

Kay Scarpetta is more of an investigator that a medical examiner in the story.

A young girl is murdered and the murder is attributed to a known serial killer. But the murder scene is not quite right for this particular killer. Whilst the FBI and the local police are searching for the serial killer Kay goes of in a different direction.
There is a lot going on here and I found the storyline a bit confusing at times
Kate’s normal sidekick Pete Merino seems to have Number 5 in the Dr. Scarpetta series.

Kay Scarpetta is more of an investigator that a medical examiner in the story.

A young girl is murdered and the murder is attributed to a known serial killer. But the murder scene is not quite right for this particular killer. Whilst the FBI and the local police are searching for the serial killer Kay goes of in a different direction.
There is a lot going on here and I found the storyline a bit confusing at times
Kate’s normal sidekick Pete Merino seems to have lost the plot but I never found out why. I never found the relevance of The Body Farm. It plays a part but it is so miniscule it’s hardly worth its inclusion. Kate’s niece Lucy, who was a smart young UNI student in the last book is now a smart and up and coming FBI student with a drinking problem. Did she just wake up one morning and decided to be an alcoholic?
As an investigator Kate makes a good medical examiner. Although in the end it was Kate’s investigation that proved to be right.
For all it’s flaws this is still an entertaining read.
If you have enjoyed the other Dr. Scarpetta books then you’ll enjoy this to.
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4

Oct 01, 2019

Entertaining read, esp. for the fan who likes 'forensic detail,' because Cornwell always has that in spades. And clubs and hearts, too. That's where she excels as a writer: she knows her stuff.

In this one the MC, Dr. Kay Scarpetta, is helping out on a case involving the death of a young girl - kidnapped and found dead days later on a fairly isolated trail. There are clues a'plenty, but none of them seem to go together, so it's up to the investigators, with Kay in assistance, to put them Entertaining read, esp. for the fan who likes 'forensic detail,' because Cornwell always has that in spades. And clubs and hearts, too. That's where she excels as a writer: she knows her stuff.

In this one the MC, Dr. Kay Scarpetta, is helping out on a case involving the death of a young girl - kidnapped and found dead days later on a fairly isolated trail. There are clues a'plenty, but none of them seem to go together, so it's up to the investigators, with Kay in assistance, to put them together. This is one story I hadn't a clue as to what was going on - and Cornwell does scatter the clues around if you know where to look ( I DID NOT.)

To bungle up the evidence further, one of the lead investigators is found dead in his house - with parts of the child in his freezer. Oh yes, I said that, but it's not so much a spoiler as it happens early on in the book. As Kay struggles to untangle this mess, she's also dealing with a messy family situation as well. (Oh, and there are a couple of men messing up Kay's emotional life, too. )

Now I like these books, but I do feel that's it in interpersonal relationships - and dialogue - which is the weakest part of any of the Scarpetta books. Or maybe it's just that I find the lead - Kay herself - so cold. Not that a forensic expert should be all warm and bubbly, but wow, she needs to lighten up a bit. She's like a female John Wayne: take no prisoners, don't ever smile, and walk like you own the place.

(And I do wish Kay would use her forceful personality more when it comes to dealing with her narcissistic sister. Kay takes it and takes it and takes it...)

Anyhow, that's my single criticism of the series: me don't like Kay much. But what Kay gets mixed-up in - and the final resolution of this book, that was great.

Four stars. ...more
4

Dec 11, 2016

As other reviewers have noted, the title 'The Body Farm' is a bit misleading since it doesn't come into the plot until near the end, and then it is as a sidebar, but its graphic descriptive inclusion and the good Dr. Kay Scarpetta's enthusiastic promotion for donating bodies for science totally rocks if icky science rings your chimes.

I had to laugh - the author Patricia Cornwell gave readers a high-minded dutiful social message while at the same time satisfying us mystery readers in our queasy As other reviewers have noted, the title 'The Body Farm' is a bit misleading since it doesn't come into the plot until near the end, and then it is as a sidebar, but its graphic descriptive inclusion and the good Dr. Kay Scarpetta's enthusiastic promotion for donating bodies for science totally rocks if icky science rings your chimes.

I had to laugh - the author Patricia Cornwell gave readers a high-minded dutiful social message while at the same time satisfying us mystery readers in our queasy quest of seeking ewwwww entertainment and learning about police work and criminal law/science topics.

This series must be read in order - start here: Postmortem. Mixed into the plot of Dr. Scarpetta's public life of autopsies, vengeful serial killers, and bastard politicians obstructing her and the police, are a vividly dysfunctional gang of police friends, lovers and family who pop into the middle of her cases causing stress and distress.

In this book, much happens to Kay's favorite relative, Lucy, who is now a young adult. She is a genius computer-science geek who has been severely warped by Kay's self-involved low-life drama-queen sister, Dorothy, a fiction writer. Lucy wants to follow in Kay's footsteps as a crime fighter, so she is an intern of sorts in an FBI program at Quantico, Virginia.

Kay's relationship with her mother is fraught with the issues which commonly occur between an uneducated elderly woman of conventional housewife concerns and an extremely educated daughter who is swimming in upper level problems of government and leadership responsibilities. Adding to the difficulties is the physical distance between Kay's mother, living in Florida and Richmond, Virginia, where Kay is headquartered.

Captain Pete Marino, Kay's friend as well as a cantankerous police officer Kay works with in many cases, has been living in a manner designed to shorten his life, as a recent divorce has increased his rage and depression. He is jealous of Kay's lovers, despite that the relationship between himself and Kay has been strictly professional. Kay is gun-shy of relationships in the first place, but unfortunately, she has fallen in love with a married FBI agent, Unit Chief Benton Wesley, in this book.

Eleven-year-old Emily Steiner, a delicate small-town child, has been found dead. The mutilations on her body appear to follow the pattern of Temple Gault, the serial killer we met in the previous book in the series. Anything related to Gault has the attention of the FBI - and Dr. Kay Scarpetta!
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2

Jan 23, 2010

Do I like PC or do I not like PC? I'm tending toward the latter with this book. It's the 2nd PC book I've read. Kay is unappealing as a main character, and grows even moreso the more I read her. Is it believable that she has all of these incredible insights into fingerprints, car wrecks, etc. that ever other law enforcement agency & specialty misses? Please! Are we to be ambivilent and accepting of the fact that she is an active accomplice in marriage-wrecking? Above and beyond this, there's Do I like PC or do I not like PC? I'm tending toward the latter with this book. It's the 2nd PC book I've read. Kay is unappealing as a main character, and grows even moreso the more I read her. Is it believable that she has all of these incredible insights into fingerprints, car wrecks, etc. that ever other law enforcement agency & specialty misses? Please! Are we to be ambivilent and accepting of the fact that she is an active accomplice in marriage-wrecking? Above and beyond this, there's just nothing relatable, enjoyable, and interesting about her character.

As to the storyline, I guessed many of the clues prior to their revelation. The story was slow-moving, and I bored easily. Has taken me a very long time to read this book. ...more
1

Mar 10, 2014

I am still not sure if I dislike the author's writing, or if the books are just so old that I dislike the books because they are just that dated.

The stupid Lucy storyline:
1)There has never been any indication prior to this book that there was any reason to even hint that Lucy had an addictive personality, and or had a problem with drinking. So, it's amazing how in only the course of one book, Lucy became this supposed alcoholic.
2)The lesbian storyline. I think Patricia was starting to question I am still not sure if I dislike the author's writing, or if the books are just so old that I dislike the books because they are just that dated.

The stupid Lucy storyline:
1)There has never been any indication prior to this book that there was any reason to even hint that Lucy had an addictive personality, and or had a problem with drinking. So, it's amazing how in only the course of one book, Lucy became this supposed alcoholic.
2)The lesbian storyline. I think Patricia was starting to question her own sexuality with this book, because there is absolutely no reason or previous hints, that would have lead anyone to believe that Lucy simply getting her cigarette lit by a pair of female hands means that she's a lesbian. It felt very out of the blue that suddenly Kay was suspecting of Lucy's sexual preferences.

The Benton storyline:
I actually didn't mind this, though I was rather ambivalent towards it one way or the other. I do like Benton, so perhaps thats why.

The Merino storyline:
Meh. Did not like it. Didn't like any of it. His jealousy though did make more sense than the entire Lucy plots.

The killer storyline:
Meh. Didn't like. Didn't care. Saw it coming long before.

Kay's sister Dorothy:
Never liked her. Flat out hate her from the first mention in this book.

Kay:
It's amazing how idiotic the rest of the world is compared to Kay. Kay is super investigator! She can do anything, and the FBI is stooooopid. The police are stoooooopid. Only Kay can save the day! Only Kay can find the killer!

Title: The title of this book was pointless to the plot. The Body Farm was in one scene, and I don't even actually remember why it was necessary. I think she would have been better off calling it Coins for the Ferryman or something like that. Something actually appropriate.

Other than the fact that I already have them all loaded in my itunes, I'm not actually sure I care if I finish the rest of the series or not.

I must say if I had to choose between Temperance Brennan or Kay Scarpetta... I'm Team Bones all the way. The Scarpetta books are so meh. ...more
5

Mar 28, 2010

This book was fast paced and complicated with a twist. I really liked it! Scarpetta's relationship with Wesley changes from professional/friendship to an affair. This upsets me because he is married and Scarpetta has met his wife on a few occasions and likes her very much. What bothers me most is Scarpetta feels no remorse whatsoever. Nor does Wesley. Because of the change that goes on with Wesley and Scarpetta's relationship it makes Morino very upset and you start to realize that he has This book was fast paced and complicated with a twist. I really liked it! Scarpetta's relationship with Wesley changes from professional/friendship to an affair. This upsets me because he is married and Scarpetta has met his wife on a few occasions and likes her very much. What bothers me most is Scarpetta feels no remorse whatsoever. Nor does Wesley. Because of the change that goes on with Wesley and Scarpetta's relationship it makes Morino very upset and you start to realize that he has feelings for Scarpetta that are stronger than just friendship. I very much missed that relationship in this story. I enjoy the back and forth between Scarpetta and Morino and find it rather endearing the protectiveness he feels for her. I also find it endearing how he gets uncomfortable when any of his protectiveness shows. All this was missing in this book. I really missed it. I am concerned what is going to happen in the next book in regard to Scarpetta and Morino's relationship. In the first book, Morino saved Scarpetta's life, and now in this book she saved his life. I wonder how he is going to handle that one!! ...more
1

Jul 24, 2008

Ten pages to go but I gotta expurge some of the annoyed boredom now. The only reason I read two Cornwells in two days was that I was waiting for mail, but it enhances the flaws of her writing (or logic? I can't even say). Where no. 4 had been just boring and unpleasant and boringly unpleasant, in no. 5 now all the same people involved have completely forgotten that in the case they are actually following up here, fingerprints had already been unreliable. Yet now nobody even seems to doubt them. Ten pages to go but I gotta expurge some of the annoyed boredom now. The only reason I read two Cornwells in two days was that I was waiting for mail, but it enhances the flaws of her writing (or logic? I can't even say). Where no. 4 had been just boring and unpleasant and boringly unpleasant, in no. 5 now all the same people involved have completely forgotten that in the case they are actually following up here, fingerprints had already been unreliable. Yet now nobody even seems to doubt them. Then Lucy, whom I still don't like (just as I don't like Scarpetta), is suddenly an alcoholic, and 10 pages to the end I still cannot believe it because I have nothing but Scarpetta's word for it. Cornwell infamously has the most important emotional events between books (I had to keep googling to tripplecheck that yes, another guy left the stage between books, I hadn't missed a novel), and for a long time I tried to see it as her "style", but the praise is ridiculous, she's not writing incisively or chillingly, she just can't seem to write certain things?
She also seems completely overreacting about Marino without actually doing anything about him - just as going to one bar makes Lucy an alcoholic, being justifiably hurt and angry and considering a new life in a small town makes Marino a liablity she and the FBI suddenly don't talk to, despite him seemingly working with them on a case. But worst of all, while Scarpetta goes to boldly confront a baddie instead of making sure they don't bolt by being alarmed, she runs AWAY when she sees the killer they've been searching for years, despite having a gun in her bag and being surrounded by people and him not killing in public - and that is not even questioned.
I'll talk more about how her doing nothing but driving and flying around endlessly makes every book the same; here though she had the Body Farm as a fascinating and real object and has the audacity to use it as title when it's not used at all in the book, the chapter devoted to it superfluous at best.
Finally, we are meant to be on her side about being smart and with great breasts, naturally slim and a great cook, doctor and laywer and rich and succesful, because her awful family uses that as their stick. Scarpetta says she is "a woman that is not a woman" and then ruins what I would have liked - a different sort of het relationship of loving equals - by ridiculous phrases ... I always liked her smart FBI guy, right from when she was with that other one I didn't care for, but to say "his voice was lean and muscled like his body" ... gahd, Cornwell just has a knack of making everything flat, and that was the only time I laughed in all her books. I haven't checked if Cornwell is lesbian herself, but in the 6 novels I read so far it was the lean, interesting men I found appealing - and yet it just makes Scarpetta look worse when she obviously could never consider Marino, because he's fat and semi-bald (all characters are either lean or grossly overweight in her world).

A friend said Cornwell's first novels were good but quickly worsened into Mary Sues - I don't know why I thought it was about sexuality, but I'm dreading the shelf of unread novels of her yet to plough through.
Like Sarah Dunant, Cornwell makes McDermid look good again. ...more
4

Aug 22, 2012

29/3 - I agree with the other reviewers who said that the title of this book is misleading, this book is more about the FBI than it is the body farm. It would have made more sense to name it Quantico or something else that refers to where a lot of the book is located, instead of a very interesting place that really only gets a mention near the beginning and a quick visit at the end. If a book is titled The Body Farm you would expect the body farm to make a big impact on the story, possibly for 29/3 - I agree with the other reviewers who said that the title of this book is misleading, this book is more about the FBI than it is the body farm. It would have made more sense to name it Quantico or something else that refers to where a lot of the book is located, instead of a very interesting place that really only gets a mention near the beginning and a quick visit at the end. If a book is titled The Body Farm you would expect the body farm to make a big impact on the story, possibly for the body to be found at the body farm and for Scarpetta to spend most of the book determining how it got there and why (there was a Bones episode that features a similar scenario, The Feet on the Beach) or for there to be a need to do numerous experiments with bodies to determine some fact pertinent to the case, not just one, most of which was done off the page.

Marino is being a particularly large jerk in this book and shows hints of future assholery (that I won't mention further because it would be a huge spoiler for a book far into the future) that makes me mad just thinking about it. I've already started the next book, From Potter's Field and don't see how Scarpetta can (or think I could) go back to behaving normally around Marino. After the way he treated her and Benton I can't believe she was able to go back to the semi-healthy working relationship she had with him before. In my head I always imagined Marino looking and behaving like Skipp Sudduth's character John 'Sully' Sullivan in Third Watch, who isn't particularly appealing in personality or (to be honest) appearance.

Unfortunately, I had to dock a star due to the false advertising of a book about the body farm that wasn't actually about the farm at all and because I have a question about the passage of time between this book and the previous one. On page 74 of Cruel and Unusual Lucy is described as being Kay's 17-year-old niece, but on page four of The Body Farm she is described as being 21 which conflicts with the fact that on page 19 Gault's murder of Eddie Heath is described as being "nearly two years" earlier. For me that's a really irritating, and easily avoidable, mistake to make. If you know your characters well, you shouldn't get confused as to how old they are from one book to the next. Unless of course it was done on purpose so that Lucy would be realistically old enough to be working for the FBI and she just hoped that with the passage of time, between the publication of one book and the next, no one would notice (naughty, naughty *shakes finger* that's not very respectful to readers who notice details and enjoy rereading an entire series one book after another). ...more
4

Dec 20, 2012

In the fifth mystery/thriller, Cornwell has introduced so much about which praise is deserved. Picking up the threads left in the previous novel, Scarpetta has agreed to advise the FBI on some of its cases, to create a better mechanism by which to catch the seediest. Scarpetta's niece joins her at Quantico, on an internship and seeks to forge her own paths. With the murder of a young girl, all fingers point at the elusive serial killer who got away in 'Cruel and Unusual', leaving Scarpetta to In the fifth mystery/thriller, Cornwell has introduced so much about which praise is deserved. Picking up the threads left in the previous novel, Scarpetta has agreed to advise the FBI on some of its cases, to create a better mechanism by which to catch the seediest. Scarpetta's niece joins her at Quantico, on an internship and seeks to forge her own paths. With the murder of a young girl, all fingers point at the elusive serial killer who got away in 'Cruel and Unusual', leaving Scarpetta to determine how to catch him and use the clues left at the scene to piece it all together. While on the hunt, another suspect comes into her crosshairs and leaves the group wondering if this down and out individual might be allowing his alter-ego to appear. The murder of an investigator under awkward circumstances leaves new questions unanswered. Meanwhile, Scarpetta must juggle the case with an out of control niece who digs up trouble of her own and whose actions could cost Scarpetta more than she's ready to give up. Masterful storytelling and a plot that does not give the reader the chance to breathe make for the perfect novel.

Cornwell continues to build up the storylines for Scarpetta, as well as injecting a plethora of information about the characters involved. These are not simply breadcrumbs to sate the curious reader, but full-on feasts that are addressed masterfully and thoroughly with each novel's release. The reader can see major progress with all characters involved and are left to hope that this does not stop, as the series continues to progress. As the title suggests, use of the famed Body Farm in Tennessee does play a key role in the story and it is a great opportunity for readers to learn a little more about the facility. That said, nothing tops the Jefferson Bass series, penned by the created of the Farm, filled with intricate details about this place and the types of things that Cornwell only began to discuss.

Kudos, Madam Cornwell for treating readers to yet another powerful mystery, where questions outweigh answers. ...more
1

Feb 29, 2016

I hated this book! I liked the first four in the series and thought I'd enjoy this one too but alas I was so turned off I am seriously considering if I want to read anymore in this series or just give up here and now. There were just so many bad things about this book, it started from the title and shit went downhill from there. I may not have a medical, criminal/law enforcement, or lawyers degree but that doesn't mean I'm an idiot.

First the book is titled The Body Farm. This would imply that it I hated this book! I liked the first four in the series and thought I'd enjoy this one too but alas I was so turned off I am seriously considering if I want to read anymore in this series or just give up here and now. There were just so many bad things about this book, it started from the title and shit went downhill from there. I may not have a medical, criminal/law enforcement, or lawyers degree but that doesn't mean I'm an idiot.

First the book is titled The Body Farm. This would imply that it (the body farm) would be a vital part of the story...it isn't. It is mentioned briefly at first explaining what it is in no more than a page. Then it is featured for maybe a total of a page in a half, two tops and it's so disappointing. The book should have been called Super Kay or Super Scarpetta saves the day and everyone else is an idiot.

The main character did a complete Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde routine from the previous books. This book is were we also see that her age seems to have frozen in time. Also other characters seem way off from the last book.

Kay and Marino are helping Benton with a murder that looks like it was committed by Temple Gault, the previous books villain. Kay is now a consultant for the FBI and called in to assist them on this case as it might be related to one of her previous cases. First Kay is a medical examiner not a detective. Yet through out this books she acts as detective, forensic investigator, CSI collector and crime scene analyst. She also has a law degree and this confuses me because she should know that by doing every job there can be in a criminal case short of taking it to trial in such an unprofessional manner such as collecting evidence without proper procedure could make sure the case never sees the inside of a court room. Also her close personal involvement with suspects and investigators could be seen as a conflict of interest in court. The side story in this book has to do with her niece Lucy and a break in at a top secure FBI lab.

Some things that annoyed the hell out of me about this book and has turned me from liking Kay as a strong complainant female into hating her with a passion and hoping she got offed were numerous.

First Kay is just a consultant on this FBI case yet she spends most of her time either in town helping to solve it or with Lucy who is accused of a crime at the FBI training academy. Her real job is as Chief Medical Examiner of Richmond, Virginia. Now correct me if I am wrong but that entails doing autopsies and the study of the human body and overseeing her lab and other's work. At the beginning of the book she gives her findings to the task force that hired her and that should be that. But no, she stays and takes over role of detective and CSI. Now if I were her boss or the people who appointed her the job I would fire her. Many bodies a week and even a day can be investigated and in need of autopsy and Kay's position serves a large busy area. As the chief medical examiner she should be doing or overseeing almost all if not all the cases and the paperwork. Yet she acts as if she has nothing to do but this one case. We see that she has two underlings who have been keeping up her job with autopsies but who is doing the paperwork? She does everything but her real job and no one calls her on this or has a problem with her taking over their jobs even though she would be unqualified.

Second Kay seems to be superhuman in the fact that she is so smart everyone else looks like an idiot with an IQ no higher than a first grader. Also she doesn't sleep much in this book and yet is at the top of her game at all times? Only she can uncover a spy/mole in a top clearance FBI lab/think tank/new shiny computer data base system. The FBI must do background checks and vet all employees and yet they fail to look even remotely into a new trainee employee who they give top clearance to right out of the gate? Only Kay has instincts and notices details that to even an average detective would stand out? In a town with multiple cops and visiting FBI can Kay find suspects and question everyone and get real answers? Only Kay knows how to analyze a crime scene and collect and interpret proper evidence? Only she can put together random evidence found and know exactly what it is, where it came from and how it fits into the crime. Only she can find evidence (which is obvious and often in plain sight) and doesn't tell the investigators, she must send it out to labs herself and only tell anyone when it suits her, forget that it will never fly in court!

Third the Lucy angle/side story. Lucy is now 21 (how is a mystery to me since when the series started she was 10 and only a few years have passed in the books timeline) and a trainee at the FBI academy. Another question is what exactly is she doing? The FBI won't take anyone under 21 and it's suggested that she has been doing things for them since she was 18 or so. Also you can't have a job with the FBI and have the clearance she does without first going through and passing the academy to which you get an assignment after. Also Kay hasn't spent all that much time with Lucy, it's mentioned in all the books and yet she considers Lucy her daughter and when things go wrong wonder what she has done wrong to make Lucy turn out so poorly. Kay questions Lucy's sexuality through out the book and is judgmental of her supposed relationship with a fellow trainee. This comes from 10 seconds of seeing Lucy sitting in a picnic area and having two non sexual, could be work related sentences spoken between them and getting her cigarette lit by this woman. This is the bases to which she come to the terms Lucy must be gay...because another women lit her cigarette! Also she accuses Lucy of being an alcoholic! Lucy who in the previous book and this one seems to be very health conscience (no explanation why she had that cigarette since we don't she her with one or smoking for the rest of the book) has shown no tendency for alcohol and now out of the blue she is a drunk because Kay sees her in a bar having a drink. No one else noticed her drinking or has seen her drunk (she works for the FBI in top clearance projects someone would notice), and it only comes to light when Kay is digging into why she might be doing bad things? She pesters Lucy about it like she does her personal life/sexuality and thinks it's all up to her to get Lucy to admit it and fix it. Leave the girl alone! Also in accusing Lucy of being a drunk she might want to look in a mirror, every time she isn't on duty she seems to be having a drink herself and hard liquor at that.

Forth Kay's judgmental attitude and making a mountain out of a mole hill of everyone's faults but her own. She nags and criticizes the hell out of Marino's habits but offers no support or tips to her supposed partner and friend whom she sees as resenting her yet at the same time is probably in love with her? She gets upset and on his case about getting close to a women (the victims of the case's mother who is later a suspect) and criticizes the relationship at every turn talking about him behind his back with Benton. All the while she has started an affair with Benton, who brought her into the case and is married! She has no qualms about this either but is judgmental of everyone else's relationships? When she starts the affair she and Benton are talking about how they would feel if they lost their loved ones and Benton says he'd hate to lose his wife and child then just hops into bed with Kay and has no regrets? Kay looks at her actions and seems perfectly fine with them even though she is friends with Benton's wife. Her sister shows up after Lucy has and accident and Kay calls her a narcissist thinking only of herself yet she doesn't bother to look in the mirror and see that she is herself? Everything wrong with other characters she can and often does relate to herself and what could she have done or said or so on to/about them. Also she has turned into quite the bitch and whiner and a hypocrite. She used to be a good solid character now she's just annoying.

Lastly Kay can do anything and there are no consequences....and how has she not died from all the stupid common sense mistakes she makes let alone not be fired? Leaving her job for underlings for days at a time without checking in? Questioning suspects on her own (she is not a detective why is she even privy to suspects to question?) Going to investigate crime scenes on her own and collect evidence without proper equipment or procedure or back up or even telling someone where she is going? Confronting suspects alone? Not sharing this pertinent information only she can know and gather with the real people running the investigation? Knowing and discussing her supposed partner in trouble but no one helps so she goes alone and unarmed even thought she sleeps and even bathes with a gun next to her?

The whole side story was unbelievable and had me wanting to tear my hair out with how stupid it was and everyone involved in it was. The main story line was good but left out so many details and was stretched out too long. Also it was easy to guess who did it right away and was wrapped up rather quickly at the end for how long they dragged it out. Many lose ends left open. All total a very unsatisfying, annoying book with characters who were a 360 degree turn from the last book and who I wouldn't care to read about again if they don't resemble who they were in the previous books. ...more
4

Mar 06, 2013

I am new to reading Patricia Cornwell and I have so far read two of her books, which unfortunately I did out of order. Despite my little snafu though, I have found that I really enjoy her books and her writing style. This (like probably most of her books) was a thriller/suspense and it definitely kept my attention throughout the whole book, as I constantly read quickly to see what was going to happen next. Cornwell is really good about developing characters that you care about and despite their I am new to reading Patricia Cornwell and I have so far read two of her books, which unfortunately I did out of order. Despite my little snafu though, I have found that I really enjoy her books and her writing style. This (like probably most of her books) was a thriller/suspense and it definitely kept my attention throughout the whole book, as I constantly read quickly to see what was going to happen next. Cornwell is really good about developing characters that you care about and despite their sometimes farfetched job skills, it's not necessarily flaunted and somehow seems believable (I'm speaking specifically about the main character, Kay Scarpetta, who just happens to be a doctor, a lawyer and a consultant for the FBI). The story moved along really quickly and I didn't come across any lagging areas. My only issue with it was that Cornwell seemed to put a lot of time and effort into creating the suspense and going through layers upon layers of different theories from the main characters; however, the end seemed to happen kind of quickly and easily, which was a bit of a disappointment. It seemed a bit rushed to me in that all of the puzzle pieces that were coming out of left field throughout the whole book as clues to the mystery, just suddenly seemed to fit together and that was that. I would still recommend this book and this author to anyone looking for a good suspenseful thriller and I look forward to reading more of her books as well. ...more
4

Aug 26, 2016

kay shows some bad-ass moves as she performs (view spoiler)[ante-, peri- and postmortem bullet surgery on a perp with pete's pump-action winchester (hide spoiler)]
4

Aug 05, 2017

I enjoyed this. Didn't love it though. They only go to the body farm at the end think the title was misleading.
3.5 stars
1

Feb 01, 2015

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I was looking for something new to read, a crime series I could get into...unfortunately this is not my cup of tea. Scarpetta, the main character was really unlikeable, an arrogant, boring, emotionally void, judgemental kind of woman (whilst still maintaining dubious
indulgences of her own, Scarpetta has it off with a married man throughout the book without a single qualm) who big upped herself in all depts. The plot isn't bad, just poorly executed and with little finesse. Cornwell seems to have I was looking for something new to read, a crime series I could get into...unfortunately this is not my cup of tea. Scarpetta, the main character was really unlikeable, an arrogant, boring, emotionally void, judgemental kind of woman (whilst still maintaining dubious
indulgences of her own, Scarpetta has it off with a married man throughout the book without a single qualm) who big upped herself in all depts. The plot isn't bad, just poorly executed and with little finesse. Cornwell seems to have many fans so maybe I'm just too picky, but I won't bother with her other books, despite this being an easy and light read, I just didn't warm to a single one of her characters (except perhaps for the dead girl) and found the writing style clunky and lacking in detail. And did anyone notice the lack of explanation in the final pages for the sexual abuse of the girl? Or did I miss something there? Meh. Life's too short! ...more
4

May 20, 2011

This book was my introduction to Patricia Cornwell and her character, Kay Scarpetta; also my introduction to the concept of a "body farm", a forensic testing facility that puts cadavers in various environments over long periods to determine their effects on the corpse (the point being to be able to determine cause and time of death despite extensive decomposition.)

Let's just say I was sufficiently compelled by the writing and interested enough in the characters to go back and read the previous This book was my introduction to Patricia Cornwell and her character, Kay Scarpetta; also my introduction to the concept of a "body farm", a forensic testing facility that puts cadavers in various environments over long periods to determine their effects on the corpse (the point being to be able to determine cause and time of death despite extensive decomposition.)

Let's just say I was sufficiently compelled by the writing and interested enough in the characters to go back and read the previous books, and then continued with the series for several more, until the point at which Scarpetta's life drama became more important than the mysteries - then I quit. I can recommend pretty much everything from #1, Postmortem, through about #9, Point of Origin. (Some might suggest that the drama got obnoxious at an earlier point, but that's just about where I knocked off.) There are an additional 9 Scarpetta books beyond that - if you like her stuff, go for it. She has also started at least two other series featuring different characters, but I have found that once an author has hit on a successful franchise, subsequent series will follow virtually the same path - and life's too short (IMHO.) ...more
5

Oct 24, 2017

Two-haiku review:

Little girl murdered
Kay thinks serial killer
Then she's in danger

Interesting book
Main plot plus sub-plot with niece
All's not as it seems
5

Oct 16, 2007

One of the most fascinating mysteries I’ve ever read. The best part was the description of what goes on at the “body farm,” which is a (real) place where dead bodies are placed in different conditions to see what happens to them, in order to help solve homicides.

This is probably my favorite Patricia Cornwell Kay Scarpetta mystery book. It’s the fifth of the series though, and they should be read in order, as the characters grow & develop.

Patricia Cornwell books are not for the One of the most fascinating mysteries I’ve ever read. The best part was the description of what goes on at the “body farm,” which is a (real) place where dead bodies are placed in different conditions to see what happens to them, in order to help solve homicides.

This is probably my favorite Patricia Cornwell Kay Scarpetta mystery book. It’s the fifth of the series though, and they should be read in order, as the characters grow & develop.

Patricia Cornwell books are not for the faint-hearted. They're not cozy mysteries!

Anyone who likes the body farm’s graphic descriptions would probably enjoy the non-fiction book Stiff by Mary Roach, not about homicide victims, but about what happens to dead human bodies.
...more
2

Nov 02, 2008

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. 2.5

My mistake -- in my review of the previous book, I referred to the affair that didn't start until this one. It was, however, both set up and telegraphed in the previous one, so I'm going to leave that in the review.

I really hate it. We have a guy who until now was careful about even the appearance of impropriety, and now he's cheating on his wife repeatedly, over the course of (as becomes clear in the book following), several months? GAH!

OTOH, the Body Farm and the bit with the coin was 2.5

My mistake -- in my review of the previous book, I referred to the affair that didn't start until this one. It was, however, both set up and telegraphed in the previous one, so I'm going to leave that in the review.

I really hate it. We have a guy who until now was careful about even the appearance of impropriety, and now he's cheating on his wife repeatedly, over the course of (as becomes clear in the book following), several months? GAH!

OTOH, the Body Farm and the bit with the coin was fascinating, albeit squicky. So 3.5 for the murder and related plot, and -1 for the stupid and unbelievable affair. ...more
5

Jun 18, 2016

I'm usually a bit of a stinge when it comes to star ratings and very rarely give out 5s.
This is definitely worth a 5. I've never read this author before and very rarely read this genre. But the setting (Autumn in the US east coast mountains), the characters and the investigation absolutely spoke to me.
This was very easy to read, not so easy to put down and I would recommend to anybody, particularly those that don't usually read this genre.
Will be following this author going forward.
2

Jun 21, 2019

Not the best of the series, but there is something about this series that does draw me in. It just felt like this story was big but the ending... wasn't.
3

Jul 26, 2017

This is the 5th book from Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta series.

This is the worst of the series that I have read so far. Cornwell spends the first 100 pages covering medical technology at Quantico and she takes forever getting into the story. Once she does she proceeds to take all the characters in the series and make you dislike them. Kay and Wesley have an affair that goes on throughout the book-whenever they can get it on they do despite Wesley being married. Marino is a needy slug who is upset This is the 5th book from Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta series.

This is the worst of the series that I have read so far. Cornwell spends the first 100 pages covering medical technology at Quantico and she takes forever getting into the story. Once she does she proceeds to take all the characters in the series and make you dislike them. Kay and Wesley have an affair that goes on throughout the book-whenever they can get it on they do despite Wesley being married. Marino is a needy slug who is upset about Kay liking Wesley and not him. He then gets used by hooking up with someone who clearly doesn't care about him at all. Lucy is an alcoholic and is gay.

Oh yeah, there is a story behind all of this. A little girl is killed in a manner similar to the killer from the last book-Temple Gault. Others involved in the investigation die too. Take away the massacre of the main characters and the book investigation is pretty entertaining.

I hope Cornwell can resurrect her characters in the next few books because right now I am not a fan of any of them. ...more
4

Nov 05, 2017

Patricia Cornwell has this way of writing that I just start reading and before I know it, I've read half of the book. Her books just suck you in and don't let you leave until you've finished the book. This book had so many twists and turns and so many sub-plots that I didn't know what interested me most. I really enjoyed this book and it was another great addition to the Kay Scarpetta series.

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