Scarpetta – Audio CD / Book Review

By:  Patricia Cornwell
Reviewed by:  Paul McMahon
15 hours, 12 CDs

I like Patricia Cornwell’s mysteries.  She is willing to build her characters and evolve them over the several books that they play roles in.  She also explains a lot of the technology of the Medical Examiner as well as that used in law enforcement.
First, don’t listen to this with kids in the car.  There are several very graphic descriptions of murders that will give them nightmares for months.  And you will have to get up and comfort them.
Cornwell, as well as other authors like Patterson, keep raising the level of cruelty in these cases.  Makes it refreshing to read an old mystery after some of the modern stuff.
Now to the story.
Scarpetta has moved to South Carolina and then to Massachusetts and New York City.  She gets called in to examine Oscar Banes who is involved (a person of interest) in the murder of his girl friend.  He tells a bizarre story of being tracked by some entity which watches everything he does and everywhere he goes.  Because he is not charged, Scarpetta is under a doctor/patient relationship with Oscar and cannot disclose what Oscar has told her (and us) even as she interacts with her husband and other players such as her husband, Marino, Lucy her niece, Berger the DA, and other players.
The story gets off to what seems to be a slow and confused start, but that is the beauty of Cornwell’s writing.  You are just as confused as real investigators are in a real case.  Just when you are ready to give up, Cornwell switches point of view and you have new insight.  Pretty soon you are sitting in your parked car listening to a new piece of evidence.
Kate Reading is the reader.  She does an excellent job of giving each character an unique verbal identity which she applies throughout the book.  Marino’s Jersey accent was never better.


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