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Honored Contributor
Posts: 18,089
Registered: ‎11-08-2014

BACK TO THE "KAY SCARPETTA" SERIES BY PATRICIA CORNWELL

Ha!  I didn't think I would return to reading these forensic mysteries, but on last library trip picked up "Dust" which I'm just starting, and "Autopsy".   Recently read "Chaos" which started EXTREMELY slowly, then picked up. 

 

Years ago in this forum, some of us discussed frustrations with the Scarpetta series, which is uneven, in my opinion.

 

Yet, the early books were so fascinating, and Kay Scarpetta, as a super-competent medical examiner and forensics expert, gave a glimpse into such a different, layered world.

 

I want to know--  anyone here who reads them?   I still have objections-- the piling on of excruciating detail, the occasional scenes of brutality, Kay's sometimes humorless intensity.    Wish Patricia Cornwell had kept more of Kay's cooking in the stories -- her food descriptions were great! 

 

When the books are good, they can be page-turners.  But, characters can be annoying.  Someone complained that Scarpetta's husband, FBI guy Benton, has changed since emerging from the witness protection program.

 

Lucy doesn't seem to have grown much as a character, or am I missing that.   I usually skim over her sub-plots, unless she's dive bombing her helicopter or hacking into top secret computers inaccessible to others... 

 

And good grief, Pete Marino's conflicts, and his obsession with, and jealousy of Kay, are wearing!  I do like that he brings the police perspective.

 

I would love to hear  from those who are very familiar with the series, and any impressions, and/ or theories, good and bad.

 

 

Honored Contributor
Posts: 9,192
Registered: ‎02-07-2011

Re: BACK TO THE "KAY SCARPETTA" SERIES BY PATRICIA CORNWELL

I read a couple of the books, don't remember which ones but started to not like the direction they were going in.  Too many other authors I like to try her again.

 

 

Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,413
Registered: ‎02-16-2019

Re: BACK TO THE "KAY SCARPETTA" SERIES BY PATRICIA CORNWELL

I use to read lots of her books, I have probably read most of her Kay Scarpetta books, really use to enjoy them, it seems like the last time I read one it wasn't as good.  I will have to give her another try I do really like her writing, I agree I use to like to read about her cooking.

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 6,577
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: BACK TO THE "KAY SCARPETTA" SERIES BY PATRICIA CORNWELL

@Oznell Years ago I was really hooked on the Kay Scarpetta books.  I read them as fast as they came out.  But then it seemed as if the last few I read just weren't that enjoyable and I stopped.  That was quite a while back.  Now I'm hooked on the Will Trent books by Karin Slaughter.  Working my way through the series.

"Breathe in, breathe out, move on." Jimmy Buffett
Frequent Contributor
Posts: 80
Registered: ‎12-10-2012

Re: BACK TO THE "KAY SCARPETTA" SERIES BY PATRICIA CORNWELL

Last year I read all of the Kay Scarpetta books in order.  (I had all of them.  I picked up the entire series that someone had donated to the thrift store.)  The early ones are so good.  Somewhere around book 10 it went completely downhill.  I listened to Autopsy and Livid as audiobooks from my library.  Autopsy had an odd storyline about space.  Livid in particular was a huge let down because the story was this futuristic killer weapon/made no sense storyline instead of a normal murder to be solved.  I remember that one of the later books had a killer robot.  Patricia Cornwell just got so out there.  The storylines about Marino and Dorothy, Lucy, Kay and Benton all felt so unbelievable.  The books drag on in too much detail.  If there are more books in the series I have decided that I will not be reading them or listening to the audiobook or caring at all.

 

I wasted too much time on this series.  I would not recommend it to anyone else.

 

Does anyone know if the Bones series by Kathy Reichs is still any good?

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Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,578
Registered: ‎04-18-2010

Re: BACK TO THE "KAY SCARPETTA" SERIES BY PATRICIA CORNWELL

@Oznell 

 

I totally agree with your assessment of the Scarpetta series and I stopped reading a couple of summers ago.  

 

I moved on to Daniel Silva and loved his first novel and just kept going. I am now on his 16th novel and haven't gotten bored yet. 

 

However, I have been thinking...should I give Scarpetta another try and see if I feel differently.

Respected Contributor
Posts: 4,845
Registered: ‎12-02-2013

Re: BACK TO THE "KAY SCARPETTA" SERIES BY PATRICIA CORNWELL

@Oznell 

 

You nailed it all...accurate assessment.  Read most of her books and won't continue.

 

The poster who mentioned Da Silva is right on track:  his books keep you interested and they move along quite nicely !

 

 

We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.
Sir Winston Churchill
Honored Contributor
Posts: 18,089
Registered: ‎11-08-2014

Re: BACK TO THE "KAY SCARPETTA" SERIES BY PATRICIA CORNWELL

Hey, @kaydee50 ,  @spumoni99 ,  @shoesnbags ,  @rissajaneen ,  @avid shopper  ,  @jlkz --

 

Thanks so much for responding -- you are confirming my impressions upon "returning" to the series!

 

@avid shopper  and  @jlkz --   I've long heard such good things about Daniel Silva from discerning readers.  In the library last time, I actually had one of his books in my hand.  Then thought, oh, I'm too loaded up already,  next time...

 

@shoesnbags ,  and @rissajaneen ,  making note of Karin Slaughter and Kathy Reichs to check out.

 

I'll probably finish "Dust" to see what I think about P.C.'s more current output.   This is one where Kay's living in Boston and there's been a murder at MIT.   

 

Patricia Cornwell was so clever (and MASSIVELY researched) when she began.  I almost feel compelled to reward that kind of attention to detail and diligence, ha.

 

But it's always disappointing to see any perceived drop-off in quality in a series, as you all note.  My two all-time faves for top quality all the way through, are Sue Grafton's "Kinsey Millhone" series, and of course the brilliant P.D. James' "Adam Dalgliesh" of Scotland Yard series. 

 

But few can match those two legendary masters of detective fiction.

 

A lot of the most current practitioners, that get a lot of fanfare, I don't particularly care for.   Most recent disappointment--  Elly Griffiths, whose detective-protagonist is a British archeologist based in Norfolk.  Sounded promising, but...  Although her writing is good, the characters and plotting only fair.   And too much tired social commentary, and little hits of fashionable anti-Americanism.  If an author is REALLY good, I can tolerate a lot, but otherwise, no.

 

I was pleasantly surprised at liking Joel Rosenberg's international thrillers, since they are more spy-oriented and far more tech-y and full of derring-do, than I normally go for.  But he kept me guessing. 

 

If anyone else has other suggestions of clever forensics-type mysteries, similar to the first few Cornwell books, do keep them coming!     

 

   

 

 

 

 

Honored Contributor
Posts: 11,639
Registered: ‎03-11-2010

Re: BACK TO THE "KAY SCARPETTA" SERIES BY PATRICIA CORNWELL

Don't care for those AT ALL.

The long and winding road that leads to your door will never disappear.
Honored Contributor
Posts: 11,639
Registered: ‎03-11-2010

Re: BACK TO THE "KAY SCARPETTA" SERIES BY PATRICIA CORNWELL

Really enjoyed her "Portrait of a Killer". It's about Jack the Ripper.

The long and winding road that leads to your door will never disappear.