Flesh and Blood by Patricia Cornwell
ISBN: 9780062325358 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780062325365 (ebook)
ASIN: B00R04IQFA (Kindle edition)
Publication date: June 30, 2015
Publisher: William Morrow
It’s Dr. Kay Scarpetta’s birthday and she’s about to head to Miami for a vacation with her FBI profiler husband Benton Wesley when she notices seven pennies on a wall behind their Cambridge house. Is this a kids’ game? If so, why are all of the coins dated 1981 and so shiny it’s as if they’re newly minted? Then her cellphone rings, and Detective Pete Marino tells her there’s been a homicide five minutes away. A high school music teacher has been shot with shocking precision as he unloaded groceries from his car. No one heard or saw a thing. It’s as if God did it.
In this 22nd Scarpetta novel, the master forensic sleuth finds herself in the middle of a nightmarish pursuit of a serial sniper who seems to leave no evidence except fragments of copper. The shots are so perfect, they cause instant death and seem impossible, and the death scenes aren’t crime scenes because the killer was never within hundreds of yards of the victims. The victims seem to have nothing in common, and there is no pattern that might indicate where the Copperhead will strike next. First New Jersey, then Massachusetts, and then into the murky depths off the coast of South Florida, where Scarpetta dives a shipwreck, looking for answers that only she can discover and analyze. There she must face an unthinkable truth that points in the direction of her techno genius niece, Lucy, Scarpetta’s own flesh and blood.
Dr. Kay Scarpetta’s birthday was supposed to be a quiet day at home with her husband at their Cambridge, Massachusetts home, followed by a birthday trip to Florida. The quiet day becomes anything but quiet when Dr. Kay Scarpetta is called to a murder scene not far from her home in Flesh and Blood by Patricia Cornwell.
The murder of a high school music teacher in Cambridge, Massachusetts is quickly linked to several other murders in Massachusetts and New Jersey. With the help of her husband, Wesley Benton, an FBI intelligence analyst or profiler, her computer genius niece Lucy, and her friend and police detective Pete Marino, it is quickly determined that many of these deaths have ties to Dr. Scarpetta. If that’s not bad enough, it appears that someone is not only targeting people with ties to Dr. Scarpetta, but also trying to implicate her niece Lucy. Kay knows that her niece is volatile and moody, but she also knows that she isn’t responsible for these murders. Three murders using a high powered rifle and copper ammo; a poem sent on Mother’s Day from Copperhead; and, seven bright and shiny pennies dates 1981. What do these all have in common? Is it possible for Kay and her team to discover the mastermind behind these murders before someone else dies? Who knows all of the players so well that he can manipulate them from a distance?
I enjoyed Flesh and Blood, as I’ve enjoyed reading many of the books in the Scarpetta series. I found this to be a quick and engrossing read and probably would have finished the book in one sitting if it weren’t for a series of severe migraine headaches and a leaking hot water heater (probably the cause of the headaches). It was nice to reconnect with Kay, Benton, Lucy, and Marino and to see how they’ve matured and changed over the years. Kay no longer sees things as “black or white.” Benton is no longer avoiding conspicuous consumption due to his wealthy family background (a superficial change, but a change nonetheless). Lucy is in turmoil over a possible change in her relationship with her lover (read the book to find out what change). And Marino is back on a police force and just as volatile as he has been in the past. Most of the action in the story takes place over the course of a few days, and Ms. Cornwell packs a lot of action in that brief timeframe. There’s quite a bit of technical jargon that slowed me down (okay, my eyes glazed over but that could have been the migraine), but it didn’t interfere with my overall enjoyment with this book. Whether you’ve read any books in the Scarpetta series before or not, Flesh and Blood is an amazing suspense-thriller read. I can’t wait to read the next book in this series, Depraved Heart.
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Patricia Cornwell is recognized as one of the world’s top bestselling crime authors with novels translated into thirty-six languages in more than 120 countries. Her novels have won numerous prestigious awards including the Edgar, the Creasey, the Anthony, the Macavity, and the Prix du Roman d’Aventure. Beyond the Scarpetta series, she has written a definitive book about Jack the Ripper, a biography, and two more fiction series. Cornwell, a licensed helicopter pilot and scuba diver, actively researches the cutting-edge forensic technologies that inform her work. She was born in Miami, grew up in Montreat, North Carolina, and now lives and works in Boston.
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