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Black Notice (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


It's like a splash of cold water on a hot day to be plunged, after the irritating third-person satire of Cornwell's last novel, Southern Cross (1998), back into the bracing narration of medical examiner Kay Scarpetta. As in the nine Scarpettas past (Point of Origin, etc.), here it's not the novel's events, startling as they are, that propel the story so much as the deep-hearted responses of Kay, as real a hero as any in thriller fiction, to the "evil"Äher wordÄthat threatens. Evil wears several faces here, from petty to monstrous. Most insidious is the office sabotageÄinsubordination, thefts, fraudulent e-mailsÄthat's making the grieving Kay look as if she's lost her grip since her lover's murder in Point of Origin. More destructive are the overt attempts by calculating Richmond, Va., deputy police chief Diane Bray to ruin Kay's career as well as that of Kay's old friend, Capt. Pete Marino. Then there's the wild rage at life that's consuming Kay's niece, a DEA agent. FinallyÄthe plot wire that binds the sometimes scattered plotÄthere are the mutilation killings by the French serial killer self-styled "Loup-Garou"Äwerewolf. The forensic sequences boom with authority; the brief action sequences explode on the pageÄin the finale, overbearingly so; the interplay between Kay and Marino is boisterous as always, and there's an atmospheric sidetrip to Paris and an affecting romantic misadventure for lonely Kay. A thunderhead of disquietude hangs over this compulsively readable novel, sometimes loosing storms of suspense; but to Cornwell's considerable credit, the unease arises ultimately not from the steady potential for violence, but from a more profound horror: the vulnerability of a good woman like Kay to a world beset by the corrupt, the cruel, the demonic. One million first printing; $750,000 ad/promo; Literary Guild, Doubleday Book Club and Mystery Guild main selections; unabridged and abridged audio versions; foreign rights sold in eight countries. (July) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

'Cornwell's books run on high octane fuel, a cocktail of adrenalin and fear. BLACK NOTICE is no exception' THE TIMES'BLACK NOTICE is undoubtedly her best book for some time: not only because of some excellent scalpel work, but mainly because it is not so much about crime as about Scarpetta.' EVENING STANDARD'She's a wonderful writer.' DAILY MAIL'Imitators now abound, but - pathologically speaking - nobody does it like Cornwell' LITERARY REVIEW'As usual with Cornwell. The plot is consummately fashioned, the suspense is intense. But there is also a new ingredient: emotional depth, of a quality to keep you riveted this is a brave book.' INDEPENDENT'The strength and appeal of these bestselling books lies in the forensic details with exert an appalling fascination this is first-rate storytelling.' DAILY EXPRESS'beautifully written and perfectly researched.' INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY'Undoubtedly her best book for some time.' EVENING STANDARD

Cornwell (Southern Cross) brings chief medical examiner Kay Scarpetta back for her tenth foray into crime-solving in Black Notice. When the unidentified remains of a badly decomposed body are found in a cargo container en route from Belgium, Scarpetta is pulled into a case of global significance. Once again, her professional worries are exacerbated by personal concerns for pal Marino and niece Lucy. The investigation takes Scarpetta around the world and into the sights of powerful and ruthless enemies. Reader Kate Reading's nearly flawless performance compensates for the book's sometimes plodding pace. She gives her usually low-key characterization of the usually low-key Scarpetta just the right edge as flashes of despair threaten to overtake her controlled life. Although Reading thoroughly becomes Scarpetta through her expert narration, she has other strengths, as well. Her interpretation of each minor characterÄsome appearing only once or twiceÄbreathes life into individuals who, in the hands of a less competent reader, would otherwise blend and vanish from memory. Recommended for popular fiction collections.ÄJennifer Belford, Addison P.L., IL Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

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