Now Patricia Cornwell brings her millions of readers a novel concerning crimes with roots in a murder from the distant past. When Kay Scarpetta is mandated to investigate the 400 year-old violent death of one of America's first settlers at Jamestown, Virginia, it seems like the perfect match: modern technology's savviest avatar versus an age-old crime. Kay's involvement in the case attracts headlines, and more-the unwelcome ire of a person or persons unknown.
Kay and those closest to her soon find themselves the targets of vicious hate crimes that are clearly inspired by her connection to the archaeological excavation. At first more nuisance than assault, the nature of the attacks quickly escalates to violence. Worse still, those sworn to protect prove to be the enemy, forcing Scarpetta, her niece Lucy, and detective Peter Marino to take matters into their won hands- torquing the rule of law and changing their lives forever. In a case ranging from an 18th-century murder to mortal risk in present day, The Last Precinct pits Kay Scarpetta against a rogue enemy who will stop at nothing to stop her.
"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)
Customer ReviewsSee All
The Last Precinct
Excellent mystery-could not put it down.
Completely addicted to this series!! Highly recommend!
The Last Precinct
A must read another terrific Scarpetta mystery
Patricia Cornwell rocks again