PUBLISHED : Sunday, 17 May, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 17 May, 2009, 12:00am


by Patricia Cornwell

Little, Brown


Not released until last November, Scarpetta quickly became one of the best-selling novels of 2008. Less predictably, it was also one of its strangest. Patricia Cornwell may have earned millions of dollars with her thrilling lessons about DNA and murder, but recently she has mixed her formula with more exotic brews. In Scarpetta, this means taking her standard plot - forensic pathologist versus serial killer - and adding sadomasochistic 'little people', a mysterious gossip website and a paranoid murder suspect who has a GPS tracking device inserted where the sun doesn't shine. Somewhere in all this, Cornwell's regular cast continues its ever-more baroque soap opera: Kay Scarpetta has two men on her mind, Benton Wesley and her ex-friend turned would-be rapist, Pete Marino. Scarpetta's wild niece Lucy seems to have found love at last. And there is a new 'character' - New York - that acts as their private playground. Cornwell has expanded her repertoire to include the personal (privacy, stalking), political (the war in Iraq and the Bush administration) and social (sexuality). Scarpetta is glorious, confusing, messy and great fun all at the same time.


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