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Autopsy: A Scarpetta Novel (Kay Scarpetta #25) (Hardcover)
In this relaunch of the electrifying, landmark #1 bestselling thriller series, chief medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta hunts those responsible for two wildly divergent and chilling murders.
Forensic pathologist Kay Scarpetta has come almost full circle, returning to Virginia as the chief medical examiner, the state where she launched her storied career. Finding herself the new girl in town once again after being away for many years, she’s inherited not only an overbearing secretary, but also a legacy of neglect and potential corruption.
She and her husband Benton Wesley, now a forensic psychologist with the U.S. Secret Service, have relocated to Old Town Alexandria where she’s headquartered five miles from the Pentagon in a post-pandemic world that’s been torn by civil and political unrest. Just weeks on the job, she’s called to a scene by railroad tracks where a woman’s body has been shockingly displayed, her throat cut down to the spine, and as Scarpetta begins to follow the trail, it leads unnervingly close to her own historic neighborhood.
At the same time, a catastrophe occurs in a top-secret laboratory in outer space, endangering at least two scientists aboard. Appointed to the highly classified Doomsday Commission that specializes in sensitive national security cases, Scarpetta is summoned to the White House and tasked with finding out exactly what happened. But even as she works the first potential crime scene in space remotely, an apparent serial killer strikes again very close to home.
About the Author
Patricia Cornwell is recognized as one of the world’s top bestselling crime authors with novels translated into thirty-six languages in more than 120 countries. Her novels have won numerous prestigious awards including the Edgar, the Creasey, the Anthony, the Macavity, and the Prix du Roman d’Aventure. Beyond the Scarpetta series, Patricia has written a definitive book about Jack the Ripper, a biography, and three more fiction series among others. Cornwell, a licensed helicopter pilot and scuba diver, actively researches the forensic technologies that inform her work. She was born in Miami, grew up in Montreat, North Carolina, and now lives and works in Boston.
“With a sophisticated narrative, an outstanding company of characters, a horrific crime, and a surprising ending [Cornwell] proves you can go home again… Scarpetta is brilliant, compassionate and humble, excelling in her profession and in diplomacy while trying to solve a heinous crime… Longtime fans will cheer Scarpetta’s return.”
— Library Journal (starred review)
"Propulsive...the tension is sustained to the last page...Dr. Kay Scarpetta is back and with her is a cast of well-drawn characters and intersecting plot lines...Thriller lovers and Cornwell’s many fans will enjoy riding along with Scarpetta as she navigates dark waters on a personal and professional level, on Earth and in space."
— Jacksonville Times-Union
“Thank you, Patricia Cornwell: Dr. Kay Scarpetta is back!... [Cornwell’s] stories feature taut, complex, and well-wrought plots full of tension, suspense, unexpected twists, and a mood of danger and foreboding, all centered around an admirable central character… A solid entry in a memorable crime series.”
— The American Spectator
“Autopsy revitalizes this venerable series and its beloved cast of characters... As always, forensics is at the forefront—but it is balanced by the themes of family, friendship, and food... Whether you’re revisiting the indomitable Scarpetta or meeting her for the very first time, this is an ideal (re)entry point.”
— Criminal Element
“The autopsy, remotely controlled by Scarpetta — and physically carried out by two astronauts — is an astonishing, groundbreaking sequence… Patricia Cornwell’s terse, evocative style adds to the creeping sense of unease… Thirty years on, there’s still no other crime writer like her.”
— The Sunday Times (UK)
"[Scarpetta] slips easily and naturally into past tense when filling us in on background details—all of which seems to give her slightly sharper edges; her doubts and also her impatience are especially vivid and warm in that mode."
— Sullivan County Democrat
"Autopsy strides comfortably back into the dark and dangerous work of the complicated medical examiner. Long-time readers of this series will enjoy the gritty crime details, puzzling clues, and familiar characters."
— Manhattan Book Review
“To have Scarpetta return – and engaged in a hunt for a possible serial killer – is simply terrific… The dead woman’s trail seems to be leading to a dangerous serial killer but Scarpetta isn’t convinced. The science, as readers know, will tell… [This is] gold-star Scarpetta at work… I loved it.”
— Globe and Mail (Toronto)
“Scarpetta is back at her former job as chief medical examiner for the state of Virginia. She has a lot of cleaning up to do… [Cornwell] pulls it off nicely. In fact, she pulls off the whole book nicely. Scarpetta's return to her Virginia roots feels just right.”
— Booklist on Autopsy
“Autopsy is… the best book Cornwell has written in years, a tale penned from the heart as well as the mind. A seminal forensics thriller that reminds us that this is a sub-genre she basically invented. The last must-read book of 2021 is not to be missed.”
“Dr. Kay Scarpetta… [is] an awesome force in the field of forensic science.”
— New York Times Book Review on Flesh and Blood
“In this tense forensic thriller, an ingenious killer threatens to destroy that which Kay Scarpetta loves most—her family.”
— Daily News on Flesh and Blood
“Everyone knows Scarpetta; she has the wit, intelligence, and strength that any forensic sleuth should own. This never-stop action plot is yet another gift to readers from Patricia Cornwell-a literary artist that is never going to stop writing some of the best and most memorable thrillers out there.”
— Suspense Magazine on Flesh and Blood
“In Scarpetta, Patricia Cornwell has a character as strong as any in popular fiction.”
— Wall Street Journal
“When it comes to the forensic sciences, nobody can touch Cornwell.”
— New York Times Book Review
“Patricia Cornwell has created characters with real emotions and life experiences, and she provides them with more than enough danger to make things interesting. Dr. Scarpetta has become a good friend.”
— MysteryPlayground.net on Chaos
“Lots of cutting-edge forensic detail and some revelatory character moments.”
— Publishers Weekly on Chaos
“While Scarpetta’s character has flaws, she is still a powerful female protagonist and she offers the reader an amazing calculating approach to investigation. I am always amazed at the passion that she has for her position. . . . A fast engaging read.”
— Dad of Divas Reviews on Chaos
“There is a quiet intensity to Ms. Cornwell’s writing that compels you to read, then the eeriness sets in. . . . With Chaos, once again Patricia Cornwell mesmerizes with her astounding scientific knowledge, her keen ear for dialogue and the human psyche, all woven together flawlessly.”
— FreshFiction.com on Chaos
“Thrilling…. Readers new to Cornwell will find themselves involved from the very first page, as will the veterans. Chaos is one book you should not miss.”
“Cornwell is still the ace of forensic science mysteries. Dr. Kay Scarpetta and her family and friends just keep growing as characters, and Cornwell’s plots are still taut and tangled enough to make readers afraid to miss even a bit of minutiae. With Flesh and Blood, Cornwell is at the top of her game.”
— RT Book Reviews
“Stir phony IRS agents and wisecracking Boston cops and a few red herrings into the mix, and you’ve got the makings of a real puzzler. . . . A trademark Cornwell mystery: terse and tangled, messy and body-fluidy, and altogether satisfying.”
— Kirkus Reviews on Depraved Heart
“Dark and cleverly plotted.”
— Booklist on Depraved Heart
“Scarpetta is one of the most believable characters in crime fiction.”
— Vancouver Sun
“Forget the pretenders. Cornwell reigns.”
— Mirror (London)
“Cornwell’s books run on high octane fuel, a cocktail of adrenalin and fear”
— The Times (London)