Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Scarpetta Factor-Patricia Cornwell

The Scarpetta Factor
Patricia Cornwell
Putnam, Oct 20 2009, $27.95
ISBN: 9780399156397

Marriage between Benton Wesley and Kay Scarpetta seems to be working out fine even though he remains angry and jealous of police officer Pete Marino. His feelings makes it difficult for them to work together, which they must on her latest cases. Toni Darien was murdered by a blunt force trauma to the head; which is obvious but the time of death is not. Reliable eye witnesses insist she was still alive hours after the medical examiner declared her dead.

Besides her pro bono ME position in Manhattan, Scarpetta is the forensic expert on the CNN Carley Crispin Show, hosted by Carly Crispin whose superiors want to replace her. They want Kay to star on a new show The Scarpetta Factor because she has the gift of always finding the killer. When Kay returns to her ME office, she picks up a Fed-Ex package that strikes her as off kilter. She calls for the bomb squad and is proven right that there was a bomb in the package that could have badley injurered her and Benton. Kay, Benton, her niece Lucy Farinelli,, Pete Marino, ADA Jaime Berger work together on several cases though there is a strain within the sleuthing group. They believe there is a connection to Toni’s death and the disappearance of beautiful millionaire Hannah Starr as well as the bomb scare. None of these so-called experts has found the link between all their cases as a clever diabolical puppeteer works their strings perfectly.

It does not take being a forensic expert to know that Patricia Cornwell’s latest Scarpetta Factor is filled with excitement and plausible twists that also contains revelations about each of the recurring cast; none of this is easy to do when this is number seventeen in this great series. Switching perspectives without slowing down, the story line is told in the third person with varying leads enabling the readers to get deep inside each of the main players especially to what fears and traumas they must overcome. Fans will enjoy competing with the Scarpetta zoo crew in trying to discover who killed Toni and why and what happened to Hannah.

Harriet Klausner