On my recent trip to Hawaii, I was afforded the opportunity to really get in some leisure reading. Prior to my trip, I had never actually heard of Patricia Cornwell before, but my roommate had a bunch of her books, and she said she was a really good murder-mystery writer. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I love me some James Patterson. So, I figured I’d give Ms. Cornwell a try.
I read two of her books, each in about a day. First, I read All That Remains. I think it’s important to note that this book is a part of a series. Much like Alex Cross is a major character for many of James Patterson’s novels, Dr. Kay Scarpetta plays a major role for Patricia Cornwell. A petite, savvy medical examiner, Scarpetta is easily relatable and even funny. She’s not afraid to be annoyed with her cohorts, she has a fiercely protective love over her niece, and she has her fair share of interesting relationships.
I digress. In All That Remains, young couples turn up missing only to be later found dead in the woods. The final couple to go missing raises alarm, because the missing female happens to be the daughter of very important political figure. As the search for the couple moves forward, Scarpetta and her crew get the distinct feeling that they’re not being provided with all of the information, and tempers flare through the frustration. As everything begins to unravel, no one is safe from the victim’s mother and her political reach in her effort to find the daughter’s abductor. The author really kept me guessing until the end.
The second book that I ready by Ms. Cornwell was Unnatural Exposure. Mind you, it is another Scarpetta novel, but it is not the next book in the series. I think it is several books after All That Remains in the series, but I made sure that I at least read the ones I had in order. This book begins with Scarpetta and the crew trying to uncover what they might be dealing with as several “bodies” have surfaced in nearby landfills. To make things even more difficult, the remains they’ve found at each site are only comprised of the torso of each victim — the head and all extremities have been cut off. Without teeth to match to dental records, or fingerprints to run through their databases, Scarpetta and her crew find themselves with a rising body count and no clues.
The book takes an interesting turn when the last torso found has a strange rash. When another body is found with a similar rash, Scarpetta realizes what the killer’s weapon is, and she risks her life in an effort to gain information about who the killer might be and how to stop him. I found this book to be much more gripping than the previous one, and I find myself wanting to go back and read all of the Scarpetta books to see how it all began and how Scarpetta progresses along the way. If you’re into CSI-type shows, I think you’ll find the Scarpetta series to be filled with really good reads.