What I’m Reading

 The Author                                                                       

Patricia Cornwell  is a New York Times bestselling and contemporary American crime writer that is widely known for her popular series of crime novels featuring her world famous heroine Dr. Kay Scarpetta a medical examiner. The series have brought her world wide success as well as numerous Awards. She is the only author to receive these awards in a single year. Edgar Award, John Creasey Memorial Award, Anthony Award, Macavity Award for her first novel Postmortem in 1991. Sherlock Award for best Detective, Gold Dagger 1993, British Book Awards’ Crime thriller of the Year 2008(the only American to win this award) and RBA International Thriller Prize 2011 for her last book RED MIST. As well as a host of others awards.

This is the author’s 18th book, in the 20 year series, about her award winning Dr. Kay Scarpetta. The book is seen through Scarpetta’s eyes written in the first person. She hasn’t done this since her 2000 book Last Precinct. After spending six months at Dover Air force base learning Computer Topography-assisted virtual autopsies she is called back home to Massachusetts. ( last book she lived in New York) The circumstances surrounding a young man first thought to have died of a heart attack is in question when the body begins to bleed out in the morgue at the Cambridge Forensic Center in Massachusetts that’s a joint venture with the state and federal governments, the military, MIT and Harvard. Scarpetta is once again the Head and Chief Medical Examiner of the facility. The questions are, was the man alive when he was shut up in the cooler and if so why wasn’t anyone aware of this fact? Namely Jack Fielding.
 While Dr. Kay investigates the young man’s bizarre injures trying to prevent a scandal that could affect the facility even before it can gets off the ground she gets bombarded with information about another case from the usual characters, Lucy, her niece, Benton Wesley her husband and suspected  FBI agent ( rejoin the FBI in last book) and Pete Marino colleague and friend  As Dr. Kay delves deeper into the young man’s death she begins to see a connection with his death to that of a child killed when someone hammered nails into his head. The professed  killer of the boy is one of Benton’s patients.
While she was gone Dr. Kay put her friend and second in command Jack Fielding in charge. Unbeknownst to her the facility has had a barrage of mistake upon mistakes. She plans to correct this and set the facility back on track as she comes face to face with the chaos of Fielding's during. She vows to get to the bottom of this but Jack Fielding is AOL. No one has seen him or knows where he is.   
Cornwell wants the reader to feel the exhaustion that Dr. Kay must feel as she tries to solve the case over a few days without sleep, little food, one shower and no change of clothing. She begins to distrust the people closet to her  believing they are not telling her everything, (as usual) While going through a snow storm shut up in the facility looking through a microscope others, season investigators, foolishly solve the case and she must come to the  scene to correct them.   
Cornwell presents another psychotic villain  ( not her psychotic niece this time, Blow Fly) that also did the usual at the end while exploring unusual technology. All in all the same thing yet again, but she did happen to give an insight into Dr. Kay’s psyche that might help to explain her nature in more ways than one. In the start of the book a bereaved, disgruntle mother of a died African American solider killed in the War calls her a racist. That sparks Dr. Kay to began to feel guilty about an autopsy she perform in the early part of her career, while in the Airforce to work off student loans,on two White girls in South Africa that appeared to be a hate crime predicated by  Black Africans. Huh. My guess is that Cornwell wants to dispel the notion that she’s not a racist with this somehow.
I had to stop reading  Ms. Cornwell’s books just for this reason. In this book she didn't voice her suspicions to her commanders ( there is always a chang of command) nor did she go about finding what Africans were wronged because of her actions. Africans that were still being abused and killed under Apartheid rule, but she did call the parents of one of the White girls to let them know the truth. Thank goodness for that. She didn't even condem Apartheid or our government's part in it, just wrote there was a connection, but she kept saying I'm not racist. Just to say that means you are. Its like a child saying that's for babies when they are in fact still a baby.
I've read all of her books in her Scarpetta series and found that her depictions of African Americans have been Mammy/Whore or gardener/con if they are mention at all. I have yet to see her work with or address an African American, or any other ethic group, in Dr. Kay's work enviroment without them being in a service role of somekind. Oh, I forget the African American rich business man that she describe as a man that could play basketball who own a stable of horses and was sleeping around with young white women. In that book Dr. Kay thought this man might have burn down his barn full of his own horses and killed a white girl, but she didn't want to ruined his name. Sorry, my fought I forgot about him. I’m told she has this half white black guy (Win Garano) she writes about. So I guess she’s not racist then? But like I said I’ve decided to stop reading her books.
  Don't get me wrong, her first books were good, but in all her years in the field Dr. Kay has never made friends with anyone of color? Also, check out the time line of Lucy's age. In the first book , Postmorem she's 10 while Dr. Kay is about 40.  Twenty years later in Scarpetta, Lucy is over 30 and Dr. Kay is just 48 there abouts, right. There are other discrepancies that are too many to put in this blog.
So why did I read this book? A friend read it and wanted my opinion. Now you have it. I didn't like it.
 I know I didn't turn any of her fan-base away, to them she's still an American icon.

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