"A character as strong as any in popular fiction, Scarpetta knows the world is evil and often overwhelming, but she continues to rail against it with all her endearing and humane self-righteousness," wrote The Wall Street Journal about Black Notice, the latest in a hot streak of number-one New York Times bestsellers by America's top crime novelist. Now Patricia Cornwell delivers a profoundly original novel that takes her readers deeper into Scarpetta's heart and soul than ever before.
We enter The Last Precinct through the reverberating aftershocks of Black Notice, inconceivably finding Virginia's Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta an object of suspicion-and criminal investigation. And the nightmare perpetuated on Scarpetta's doorstep continues as she discovers that the so-called Werewolf murders may have extended to New York City and into the darkest corners of her past. When a formidable prosecutor, a female assistant district attorney from New York, is brought into the case, Scarpetta must struggle to make what she knows to be the truth prevail against mounting and unnerving evidence to the contrary. Tested in every way, she turns inward to ask, where do you go when there is nowhere left? The answer is The Last Precinct. By the end of the novel, it is clear that Scarpetta's life can never be the same.
Woven through with extraordinary forensic detail, the larger-than-life presence of Scarpetta's niece Lucy and her colleague Captain Pete Marino, and a palpable sense of fear that keeps readers looking back-into the past for clues, and over their shoulders for the next enigmatic act of violence.The LastPrecinct marks a new era for Kay Scarpetta and a triumphant achievement for Patricia Cornwell.
About The Author
Readers of Patricia Cornwell's crime novels need a strong stomach, both for the gruesome details and the suspenseful turns of her plots. With medical examiner Kay Scarpetta, Cornwell created a cool and compelling heroine who repeatedly draws readers back for more.
"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 Precinct--and 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 Zenner--and 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, though--New 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.
In a continuation of Black Notice, Virginia's chief medical examiner, Dr. Kay Scarpetta, finds herself still under attack by Jean Baptiste Chandonne as she is now accused of murdering rival Diane Bray rather than the Werewolf. Both author and her protagonist seem to suffer from too much burnout, repetition, and lack of new challenges. Much of the book is insufferably morose, and even devoted fans may be put off by Scarpetta's autopsy of her own spirit and psyche. The intelligent, independent woman is a mere shadow of herself as Benton's ghost hovers ever near. The revisiting of old cases does attempt to create what mystery is present here, though it is too easily discerned early on. Cornwell seems increasingly intolerant of her own supporting cast of characters. Kate Reading's narration is far stronger and more varied in the unabridged version, but the abridgment does cut much of the doubt and gloom that weigh down the novel. Not recommended. Packaging of all versions will not withstand typical library usage. Joyce Kessel, Villa Maria Coll., Buffalo, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
People - Pam Lambert
[This] Forensic thriller cuts deep.
What could be more open and shut than a case in which a widely sought killer tricks his way into the home of Virginia's Chief Medical Examiner, attacks her with a hammer of exactly the same sort he'd used in killing Richmond Deputy Police Chief Diane Bray, and is still on the scene when police arrive? But when Dr. Kay Scarpetta, the intended victim of notorious JeanBaptiste Chandonne, hears the statement the suspect (dubbed Le LoupGarou, the Werewolf, for the fine, undisguisable hair covering his entire body) has given the police, she realizes that despite her obvious suffering and terror, attested by the elbow she broke just after throwing some providential formalin into her assailant's eyes, the case boils down to her word against his. As she and her embattled loyalists—ATF niece Lucy Farinelli; neanderthal Richmond Police Captain Pete Marino; New York sex crimes ADA Jaime Berger—toil to link Chandonne's current murder spree first to the killing of a Big Apple weathercaster two years ago, then to the execution of Scarpetta's FBI lover Benton Wesley, the news gets steadily worse until Scarpetta finds herself entering a grand jury chamber not as an expert witness but as a homicide suspect.
"Ignites on the first page...Cornwell twists escalating violence, unrelenting tension and growing paranoia into a thick rope of horror and unfolding conspiracy. No one depicts the human capability for evil better than she...Cornwell has created a character so real, so compelling, so driven that this reader has to remind herself regularly that Scarpetta is just a product of an author's imagination."--USA Today
"Plots within plots, fraught atmosphere and unrelenting suspense keep readers on tenterhooks while one trap after another springs under unwary feet. Cunningly designed, ingeniously laid out, composed with Cornwellian skill, this far-from-the-Last Precinct is a model of the art."--Los Angeles Times
"The most unexpected of the Kay Scarpetta novels so far...The Last Precinct unfolds deliberately, keeping you in the dark along with Scarpetta so that when the revelations dawn, you're almost reeling, too. The overwhelming feeling, though, is that Cornwell has the series on the verge of spinning off in a thrilling new direction. The Last Precinct may just be a terrific first step toward something even more exhilarating."--The Miami Herald
"One of Ms. Cornwell's better novels...There are surprises and unexpected plot twists...A page-turner that will engage, surprise, and engross readers to the final page."--The Richmond Times Dispatch
Series: Kay Scarpetta
For Ages: 18+ years old
Number Of Pages: 468
Published: 3rd July 2001
Dimensions (cm): 17.2 x 10.5 x 3.4
Weight (kg): 0.354