Review: The Scarpetta Factor by Patricia Cornwell

Posted 21 April, 2010 by Danny in / 10 Comments

The Scarpetta Factor
Author: By Patricia Cornwell
Published: October 2009

Inside Cover Description:



It is the week before Christmas. A tanking economy has prompted Dr. Kay Scarpetta – despite her busy schedule and her continuing work as the senior forensic analyst for CNN – to offer her services pro bono to New York City’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. In no time at all, her increased visibility seems to precipitate a string of unexpected and unsettling events. She is asked live on the air about the sensational case of Hannah Starr, who has vanished and is presumed dead. Moments later during the same telecast she receives a startling call-in from a former psychiatrist patient of Benton Wesley’s. When she returns after the show to the apartment where she and Benton live, she finds an ominous package – possibly a bomb – waiting for her at the front desk. Soon the apparent threat on Scarpetta’s life finds her embroiled in a surreal plot that includes a famous actor accused of an unthinkable sex crime and the disappearance of a beautiful millionairess with whom Lucy seems to have shared a secret past.

Scarpetta’s CNN producer wants her to launch a TV show called The Scarpetta Factor. Given the bizarre events already in play, she fears that her growing fame will generate the illusion that she has a “special factor,” a mythical ability to solve all her cases. She wonders if she will end up like other TV personalities: her own stereotype.

The Scarpetta Factor, the seventeenth in the series, finds the familiar cast of characters together again in New York. Marino is working for the NYPD; Benton Wesley uses his forensic psychological expertise at Kirby and Bellevue; and Lucy continues to dazzle with her expertise in forensic computer investigations as she works yet another case with NY prosecutor Jaime Berger.

Review:


I preordered this book and I received it last October. I didn’t pick it up until now, even though it had been calling my name from my to-be-read shelf for several months. I’ve been glancing over this 500 pager for smaller books, just for the sake of fitting them in my purse. This was a welcome non-supernatural book and a very satisfying read.

The Scarpetta Factor is the seventeenth book following Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta. The first book was published 20 years ago, and I love how the characters have grown and changed over those years. I have read this entire series and thoroughly enjoyed every one. This book takes place over a few short days at Christmas time. The way Patricia Cornwell describes New York makes you feel like you’ve been there. The main mystery is woven so subtly that I didn’t see some of it coming.
The novel picks up with Kay Scarpetta and Benton Wesley both splitting their time between working in New York City and Massachusetts. Her niece Lucy is working with Attorney Jaime Berger, while Detective Pete Marino is assigned to Jaime Berger’s sex crimes unit. When a female jogger is found murdered in Central Park, all of them are thrust into the investigation. Patricia Cornwell describes the forensics of the investigation quite well, as usual. She also delves deeper into the psyches of the main characters, who are all still coping with their dark pasts. I found this novel to be a nice balance of forensic descriptions/mystery and character introspection.

Halfway through the book she introduces the villain, who has been a main villian in past books. I totally didn’t see that coming and in a way, I’m glad that the loose thread from previous novels has been cut off with the ending of this novel. There are a lot of other loose ends that were not wrapped up with this novel. Hopefully Patricia Cornwell will address them in the eighteenth Scarpetta novel, due out November 2010.

Overall, this was an entertaining read and I give it 4 out of 5 books.

Obsessive Reader by Night – Scientist at Day!
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10 Responses to “Review: The Scarpetta Factor by Patricia Cornwell”

  1. Call of Duty Widow

    Pushy: I can actually lend you all 17 of these books if you want to start at the beginning. Don't know if you're up for that long of a commitment, lol.

  2. Call of Duty Widow

    Pushy: I can actually lend you all 17 of these books if you want to start at the beginning. Don't know if you're up for that long of a commitment, lol.

  3. Mrs. Vanquish

    Being a scientist I also read those books, since I really like reading these kind of books! But well, this makes us so similar hu? I also read a few and really enjoyed them, this one I haven't read since lately I stuck in the YA mystic romance field 🙂 But I totally trust your judgment and when I'm sick of Teens I will have a look into this!

  4. Mrs. Vanquish

    Being a scientist I also read those books, since I really like reading these kind of books!

    But well, this makes us so similar hu? I also read a few and really enjoyed them, this one I haven't read since lately I stuck in the YA mystic romance
    field 🙂

    But I totally trust your judgment and when I'm sick of Teens I will have a look into this!

  5. Call of Duty Widow

    Pushy: I'll totally loan you book 1! I'll bring it along with the 4 Jen Lancaster books you have to read when I see you tomorrow. (Must put reminder in blackberry to remember these books, lol)

  6. Call of Duty Widow

    Pushy: I'll totally loan you book 1! I'll bring it along with the 4 Jen Lancaster books you have to read when I see you tomorrow. (Must put reminder in blackberry to remember these books, lol)

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