Monday, February 28, 2011

Port Mortuary
by Patricia Cornwell

In Port Mortuary, Patricia Cornwell brings Scarpetta together with Marino, Benton, and Lucy in the intimate way her fans loved in the early novels, and we welcome a voice we haven't heard in years. The point of view is Scarpetta's, and this is her story.

Port Mortuary, the title of Patricia Cornwell's dazzling, fast-paced eighteenth Scarpetta novel, is literally a port for the dead -- and the deaths are mounting, as a treacherous path from Scarpetta's past merges with the high-tech highway on which she now finds herself. At the beginning of her professional career, when she accepted a scholarship from the Air Force to pay off her medical school debt, Scarpetta found herself ensnarled in a gruesome case of what seemed to be vicious, racially motivated hate crimes against two Americans in South Africa. Now, more than twenty years and many career successes later, her secret military ties have drawn her to Dover Air Force Base, where she has been immersed in a training fellowship to master the art of CT-assisted virtual autopsy -- a procedure the White House has mandated that she introduce into the private sector.

As the chief of the new Cambridge Forensic Center in Massachusetts, a joint venture of the state and federal governments and MIT, and Harvard, Scarpetta is confronted with a case that could shut down her new facility and ruin her personally and professionally. A young man drops dead, apparently from a cardiac arrhythmia, eerily close to Scarpetta's new Cambridge home, but when his body is examined the next morning, there are stunning indications that he may have been alive when he was zipped inside a pouch and locked inside the Center's cooler. When 3-D radiology scans reveal more shocking details about internal injuries unlike any Scarpetta has ever seen -- ones that suggest the possibility of a conspiracy to cause mass casualties -- she realizes that she is fighting a cunning, cruel, and invisible enemy. Now it is a race against time to discover who and why before more people die. But that time is running out...

It has been awhile since I've read one of Ms. Cornwell's Scarpetta books. I felt that this one didn't go into enough details about some things and too many details about things I felt were not important. However, my copy of the book (bought from a book membership website) had about one hundred less pages than a friends copy (checked out of the local library) had, so mine may have been a condensed version even though it didn't say it was and usually they do. All in all, it was a quick read and would not deter me from reading more of her novels.


Susie said...

I've recently thought about re-reading the series from the beginning. I haven't read any of her most recent books (like the last 3 or 4 I think). I'll have to think harder about re-reading them!

Help Teach A Child To Read

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library