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The Last Precinct (Scarpetta)


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About the Author

Patricia Cornwell's first novel, POSTMORTEM, was published in 1990 and won five international awards. Her Scarpetta novels have since become Number One bestsellers throughout the world. She has also published three police procedurals, HORNET'S NEST, SOUTHERN CROSS and ISLE OF DOGS.Author Location: Virginia and New York.Scarpetta Novels incl: Postmortem/Body of Evidence/All That Remains/Cruel and Unusual/Body Farm/From Potter's Field/Cause of Death/Unnatural Exposure/Point of Origin/Black Notice/Last Precinct/Blow Fly/Trace/Predator


"My central nervous system spikes and surges, my pulse pounds. I am sweating.... " If only readers would share this response with Cornwell's immensely popular Kay Scarpetta, Virginia's chief medical examiner. But most won't. Kay has plenty of reason to be upset. She's standing in a room in a shabby motel where a body has been found, severely tortured. She's under official suspicion of having murdered maleficent ber-cop Diane Bray (in Kay's last outing, Black Notice). She's suspected of trumping up charges against accused serial killer Jean-Baptiste Chandonne, also introduced in Black Notice. She's reeling from the aftershock of Chandonne's murderous attack on her; she mightily misses her slain FBI agent/lover Dan Belson; she's learned that her gay niece, Lucy, is quitting law enforcement for a private PI firm called the Last PrecinctÄand it's Christmas time. Kay has a lot of support in the midst of this law-and-disorder soap opera, from, among others, Lucy, tough cop/sidekick Pete Marino and Kay's aged friend, psychiatrist Anna ZennerÄand that's part of the problem with this novel. Excessive emoting and way too much talk (including long therapeutic sessions between Kay and Anna) derail momentum time and again; the pages feel soggy with tears. Cornwell does provide intense intrigue, but it's a strain to follow as she connects events and loose ends from several novels. Within this narrative swamp, there's one new and very memorable gator, thoughÄNew York prosecutor Jaime Berger, obviously modeled on real-life ADA (and novelist) Linda Fairstein, to whom Cornwell dedicates the novel; she's sharply drawn and charismatic. Cornwell will win few if any new fans with this overlong, sluggish offering, but her giant readership is so hardcore and so enamored of Kay that the publisher's first printing of one million seems, if anything, conservative. $800,000 ad/promo; Literary Guild, Mystery Guild and Doubleday Book Club main selections; national satellite tour; foreign rights sold in the U.K., Germany, Italy, France, Holland, Japan, Finland, Turkey and Spain. (One-day laydown, Oct. 16) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

'This book is classically constructed, moves logically along an absorbing plot line, creares enough tension to make it a page-turner, and packs a smashing surprise denouement.' SCOTSMAN'As always the forensic detail is fascinating.' DAILY EXPRESS'The plotting has the cold assurance of the earlier books, and the characterisation of Scarpetta and her associates is as rich and idiosyncratic as ever.' CRIME TIME'Cornwell has written an elegy to the way in which we create and destroy our own worlds. And whe she is this good, she is hard to beat.' NEW STATESMAN'A superbly crafted and enthralling read.' WATERSTONES QUARTERLY'Utterly riveting.' WOMAN AND HOME'Cornwell is the queen of the forensic thriller.' MAIL ON SUNDAY

The Last Precinct, Cornwell's 11th novel featuring Dr. Kay Scarpetta, is really Part 2 of Black Notice (LJ 7/99), her previous work in this series. The story opens on the night following a vicious attack on Scarpetta by Le Loup Garou (the Werewolf). As she recovers from her injuries, Scarpetta begins another healing process as well by beginning to deal with her past, examine her present life, and contemplate a career change. As always, bodies are delivered to the morgue, and as Scarpetta unravels the mysteries of their deaths, she begins to suspect a connection between a few of her patients and the Chandonne crime family, of which Le Loup Garou is a member. This may be Cornwell's least action-oriented, most reflective work featuring Scarpetta. Readers unfamiliar with the series may find it confusing, but fans will want to read it. Recommended for all public libraries and popular reading collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/00.]DLeslie Madden, Georgia Inst. of Technology, Atlanta Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

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