Black Notice: Scarpetta (Book 10)

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9780425225455: Black Notice: Scarpetta (Book 10)

The decomposed remains of a stowaway lead Dr. Kay Scarpetta on an international search to Interpol’s headquarters in Lyon, France—and on a mission that will pull her in two opposite directions: toward protecting her career or toward the truth.

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Review:

The postmortem is in-- Black Notice, the 10th in Patricia Cornwell's Scarpetta series, is a gore-splattered, intensely exciting read. As winter grips Richmond, Virginia, an air of somberness pervades chief medical examiner Kay Scarpetta's world. Her beloved niece Lucy is involved in a dangerous undercover police operation in Miami, and auntie fears for her life. A tyrannical new deputy chief, Diane Bray, wants to get Kay's department under her jurisdiction. Meanwhile, back at the office, someone has tinkered with the e-mail system, stealing Kay's identity, and sending off slanderous and hurtful messages. Emotionally battered, Scarpetta fears she is going insane. Or, could it be that someone is deliberately sowing this harvest of sorrow?

Despite her personal problems, Scarpetta is still the reigning diva at the department of death. She is sent to investigate the putrefied remains of a man found inside a container ship, "eyes bulged froglike, and the scalp and beard were sloughing off with the outer layer of darkening skin." Kay finds strange, animal-like hairs on the man's clothing--the same hairs that she discovers on a murdered store clerk a few days later. In actuality, the bizarre killings extend well beyond Virginia; whoever killed the Richmond victims also butchered people in France. Kay and police captain Pete Marino are whisked off to Paris where they must collect top-secret information from a Paris morgue, and avoid becoming victims themselves.

This macabre tome is the stuff that classic Scarpetta tales are made of: creepy but compulsive autopsy scenes, plentiful plot twists, and the compelling, if slightly more vulnerable chief medical examiner herself. --Naomi Gesinger

Review:

It's Christmastime in Richmond, Virginia, but no one seems merry--least of all Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta, back for her 10th outing as a crime-solving coroner. Actress Kate Reading also returns, reading her third unabridged audio for Patricia Cornwell's death-drenched series. This one finds Scarpetta still recovering from the murder of her lover and in a generally foul mood as an investigation of a badly decomposed body leads her to INTERPOL, and eventually, Paris. Series regulars Police Detective Pete Marino, recently demoted, and niece Lucy are in equally cantankerous states of mind, resulting in more blue language than Cornwell regulars may be used to. Reading proves she's up to the task, maintaining multiple distinct voices and highlighting the occasional humor in the overwhelmingly dark novel. A London-based stage actress, she captivates the listener without careening into melodrama. (Running time: 12.5 hours, 8 cassettes) --Kimberly Heinrichs

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