Under cover of night in Richmond, Virginia, a human monster strikes, leaving a gruesome trail of stranglings that has paralyzed the city. Medical examiner Kay Scarpetta suspects the worst: a deliberate campaign by a brilliant serial killer whose signature offers precious few clues. With an unerring eye, she calls on the latest advances in forensic research to unmask the madman. But this investigation will test Kay like no other, because it’s being sabotaged from within and someone wants her dead – Goodreads
It is a known fact I enjoy a good mystery series. I have no problem admitting that I enjoy the In Death series by J.D. Robb, I’ve read a few Pattersons, even thought of reading the Sue Grafton alphabet series! So reading the Scarpetta series by Patrica Cornwell isn’t a giant shocker.
The heart of this series is Kay Scarpetta, the chief medical examiner for the Commonwealth of Virginia. She is of course looked down upon because she is a woman in her position and this is the early 90s. Other hint that this is a book from the 90s, Scarpetta makes it known that DNA testing and fingerprinting isn’t a trusted science yet. If the CSI series for the past decade has taught us anything it is that DNA and fingerprinting is EVERYTHING. Okay, it isn’t everything, but there seems to be more trust in it now.
This book is easily a good book to start a series. I want to know more about Scarpetta and what will happen with her when technology changes. My problem with the book occurs with who the bad guy was in the series. For 75% of the book he is never in the book. And then bam he becomes the suspect. Which I respect, but as a reader of mysteries I almost prefer to have the bad guy from the beginning and then them have problems catching him. They never had a clue it was this person for almost the whole book and then it like occurred to them “oh, maybe it could be this person.”
I’ll give it to Cornwell, for this being the first book in the series, the writing is well done. She also backs up her science knowledge with layman terms for those who don’t know science, at all. I use to gloss over in my science class (sorry Mr. Barnes, I still love you!) and I still had a firm grasp of what was going on. Plus, Cornwell’s back-story for Scarpetta killed me at times, which helps me want to see where Cornwell takes Scarpetta in the future books.