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Friday, February 21, 2014

"Dust" by Patricia Cornwell~Never Disappoints!


From the world’s number-one bestselling crime writer comes the extraordinary new Kay Scarpetta novel. 

Massachusetts Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta has just returned from working one of the worst mass murders in U.S. history when she’s awakened at an early hour by Detective Pete Marino.

A body, oddly draped in an unusual cloth, has just been discovered inside the sheltered gates of MIT and it’s suspected the identity is that of missing computer engineer Gail Shipton, last seen the night before at a trendy Cambridge bar. It appears she’s been murdered, mere weeks before the trial of her $100 million lawsuit against her former financial managers, and Scarpetta doubts it’s a coincidence. She also fears the case may have a connection with her computer genius niece, Lucy.

At a glance there is no sign of what killed Gail Shipton, but she’s covered with a fine dust that under ultraviolet light fluoresces brilliantly in three vivid colors, what Scarpetta calls a mineral fingerprint. Clearly the body has been posed with chilling premeditation that is symbolic and meant to shock, and Scarpetta has reason to worry that the person responsible is the Capital Murderer, whose most recent sexual homicides have terrorized Washington, D.C. Stunningly, Scarpetta will discover that her FBI profiler husband, Benton Wesley, is convinced that certain people in the government, including his boss, don’t want the killer caught. 

In Dust, Scarpetta and her colleagues are up against a force far more sinister than a sexual predator who fits the criminal classification of a “spectacle killer.” The murder of Gail Shipton soon leads deep into the dark world of designer drugs, drone technology, organized crime, and shocking corruption at the highest levels.

With unparalleled high-tension suspense and the latest in forensic technology, Patricia Cornwell once again proves her exceptional ability to surprise—and to thrill.


Published by:  Penguin Group
Pages:  512
Series:  Kay Scarpetta #21
Genre:  Crime/Suspense/Thriller
Author:  Patricia Cornwell 
Website:  http://www.patriciacornwell.com


Patricia Cornwell sold her first novel, Postmortem, while working as a computer analyst at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond, Virginia. At her first signing, held during a lunch break from the morgue, Patricia sold no copies of Postmortem and fielded exactly one question – an elderly woman asked her where she could find the cookbooks.
Postmortem would go on to win the Edgar, Creasey, Anthony, and Macavity awards as well as the French Prix du Roman d’Aventure prize – the first book ever to claim all these distinctions in a single year. To date, Cornwell’s books have sold some 100 million copies in thirty-six languages in over 120 countries. She’s authored twenty-six New York Times bestsellers.
Patricia’s novels center primarily on medical examiner Kay Scarpetta along with her tech-savvy niece Lucy and fellow investigator Pete Marino. Over twenty years, these characters have grown into an international phenomenon, eventually winning Cornwell the Sherlock Award for best detective created by an American author, the Gold Dagger Award, the RBA Thriller Award, and the Medal of Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters for her contributions to literary and artistic development. Fox 20th Century currently owns the rights to the Scarpetta film.
Patricia’s literary career expands outside the realm of the Kay Scarpetta series – she’s authored a definitive account of Jack the Ripper’s identity, two cookbooks (Food to Die For and Scarpetta’s Winter Table), a children’s book (Life’s Little Fable), and a biography of Ruth Graham. She’s also developed two other series based on Win Garano, an upstart Boston detective, and Andy Brazil, an enterprising Charlotte reporter.
Though Cornwell now lives in Boston, she was born in Miami and grew up in Montreat, North Carolina.  After earning her degree in English from Davidson College in 1979, she began working at the Charlotte Observer, taking whatever stories came her way and rapidly advancing from listing television programs to covering the police beat. Cornwell received widespread attention and praise for her series of articles on prostitution and crime in downtown Charlotte. From the Charlotte Observer, Cornwell moved to a job with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Virginia – a post she would later bestow upon the fictional Kay Scarpetta. It was during these years that Patricia penned Postmortem and began submitting it to major publishing houses in New York, without initial success.
When not writing from her Boston home, Patricia tirelessly researches cutting-edge forensic technologies to include in her work. Her interests span outside the literary: Patricia co-founded the National Forensic Academy and created a Chair in Organic Science at Harvard. She appears as a forensic consultant on CNN and serves as a member of Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital’s National Council, where she advocates for psychiatric research. She’s helped fund the ICU at Cornell’s Animal Hospital, the scientific study of a Confederate submarine, the archaeological excavation of Jamestown, and a variety of law enforcement charities.  Patricia is also committed to funding scholarships and literacy programs. Her advice to aspiring authors: “Start writing. And don’t take no for an answer.” Her latest book, Dust, is due out on November 12, 2013.
There's hardly anything I jump up and down for these days except a new Patricia Cornwell book!  I'm a long time fan of Kay Scarpetta, and I wait on tender hooks for the next episode every year.  Patricia Cornwell hardly ever disappoints in her novels; of course her readers and I love the stories now like M&Ms at the movies, and this book is no exception to the rule.
First, I have to say that this is a gorgeous book physically.  Penguin has gone all out in the publication.  It's a huge volume with a beautiful cover...glittering and giving the author's name a flash of illumination.  I love the inside page, as well, that touts a colorful helicopter landing outside a glass and steel building.  This is pure Scarpetta splash!  Love it.  It's the wrapper that entices even the most hardcore fan.
What compels me to read Patricia Cornwell's books is not only the fine writing about forensics and crime, but the relationships she continually fosters between her main characters.  I'm caught like a moth to the flame by the nuances between Scarpetta and her niece, Lucy; her detective/friend, Marino; and her oftimes absent FBI husband, Benton.  Their banter is sophisticated and witty while it covers pertinent crime details.  They're like the slightly dysfunctional family you love to spy on.  Even her crew at the forensics center are well known to us and are lovable characters.  In fact, Cornwell's stable of repeat characters are endearing and alive with humor, as well as talented in their individual fields of crime solving and other areas of expertise.
In this novel, the mystery of the crime is a complicated one because of  FBI involvement.  It wasn't a clear cut one I could easily solve, and it kept me guessing to the end.  I love this type of complicated story she weaves while she keeps us happily involved in her secondary distractions.  Just consummate Patricia Cornwell to me.
This crime's taking place in Boston was a great boon for me, as well, since that's my "home" city where I raised my children for over 25 years.  I loved all the city references and the country ones, too.  The writing is just vivid, and I could see the places clearly.  Made me homesick.
I highly recommend any of Patricia Cornwell's books.  You can start anywhere since she brings her characters and their past together in any of her books, including this one.  I especially recommend "Dust."  It's a great treat to read and moves quickly despite its daunting size.  The font is sizeable which  helps.
You'll love this great story!
5 stars                          Deborah/TheBookishDame



I am a fan. This is a new one for me and one I will be keeping an eye out for. Thanks for the review.


Hot on the bookshelves right now, Mystica! Hope you get a chance to read it soon. Thanks for commenting!


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Thank you so much, Dave. I appreciate your caring enough to comment! Please keep coming back...


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