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Rating: 2.9 / 5.0 (642 votes)

Released: 1999-08-02

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Black Notice by Patricia Cornwell

Description

“Patricia Cornwell lights a fire under familiar characters–and sparks her hottest adventure in years,” wrote People magazine about Point of Origin, the instant #1 bestseller by America's premier crime writer. “Evil always smolders when it seems to be doused,” said The Atlanta Constitution. “Scarpettans know to keep their security systems armed until the next installment.”

Now Cornwell delivers a high-stakes Kay Scarpetta novel with an intrigue that will take Kay an ocean's length away from home. The nightmare begins when a cargo ship arriving at Richmond's Deep Water Terminal from Belgium is discovered to be transporting a locked, sealed container holding the decomposed remains of a stowaway.

The autopsy performed by Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta initially reveals neither a cause of death nor an identification. But the victim's personal effects and an odd tattoo take Scarpetta on a hunt for information that leads to INTERPOL's headquarters in Lyon, France, where she receives critical instructions: go to the Paris morgue to receive forbidden, secret evidence and then return to Virginia to carry out a mission. It is a mission that could ruin her career.

In a story that careens across international borders, Black Notice puts Dr. Kay Scarpetta directly in harm's way and places her and those she holds dear at mortal risk.

“No one holds her head higher than Kay Scarpetta. She is for many readers the capable female writ large–a lightning rod for those who would destroy change at any price, yet a formidable champion because of it.” –Patricia Holt, San Francisco Chronicle


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Editorial Review

The postmortem is in–Black Notice, the 10th in Patricia Cornwell's Scarpetta series, is a gore-splattered, intensely exciting read. As winter grips Richmond, Virginia, an air of somberness pervades chief medical examiner Kay Scarpetta's world. Her beloved niece Lucy is involved in a dangerous undercover police operation in Miami, and auntie fears for her life. A tyrannical new deputy chief, Diane Bray, wants to get Kay's department under her jurisdiction. Meanwhile, back at the office, someone has tinkered with the e-mail system, stealing Kay's identity, and sending off slanderous and hurtful messages. Emotionally battered, Scarpetta fears she is going insane. Or, could it be that someone is deliberately sowing this harvest of sorrow?

Despite her personal problems, Scarpetta is still the reigning diva at the department of death. She is sent to investigate the putrefied remains of a man found inside a container ship, “eyes bulged froglike, and the scalp and beard were sloughing off with the outer layer of darkening skin.” Kay finds strange, animal-like hairs on the man's clothing–the same hairs that she discovers on a murdered store clerk a few days later. In actuality, the bizarre killings extend well beyond Virginia; whoever killed the Richmond victims also butchered people in France. Kay and police captain Pete Marino are whisked off to Paris where they must collect top-secret information from a Paris morgue, and avoid becoming victims themselves.

This macabre tome is the stuff that classic Scarpetta tales are made of: creepy but compulsive autopsy scenes, plentiful plot twists, and the compelling, if slightly more vulnerable chief medical examiner herself. –Naomi Gesinger

Book Details

Author: Patricia Cornwell Publisher: G. P. Putnam's Son.. Binding: Hardcover Language: English Pages: 415

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The Last Precinct (A Scarpetta Novel)
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