October 2016

‘Chaos’ by Patricia Cornwell

No. 1 New York Times bestselling author Patricia Cornwell delivers the twenty-fourth engrossing thriller in her high-stakes series starring medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta.

On a hot late summer evening in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Dr. Kay Scarpetta and her investigative partner Pete Marino respond to a call about a dead bicyclist near the Kennedy School of Government. It appears that a young woman has been attacked with almost super human force.

Even before Scarpetta’s headquarters, the Cambridge Forensic Center, has been officially notified about the case, Marino and Scarpetta’s FBI agent husband Benton Wesley receive suspicious calls, allegedly from someone at Interpol. But it makes no sense. Why would the elite international police agency know about the case or be interested? With breathtaking speed it becomes apparently that an onslaught of interference and harassment might be the work of an anonymous cyberbully named Tailend Charlie, who has been sending cryptic communications to Scarpetta for over a week.

Stunningly, even her brilliant tech savvy niece Lucy can’t trace whoever it is or how this person could have access to intimate information few outside the family would have.

When a second death hundreds of miles south, shocking Scarpetta to her core, it becomes apparent she and those close her are confronted with something far bigger and more dangerous than they’d ever imagined. Then analysis of a mysterious residue recovered from a wound is identified as a material that doesn’t exist on earth.

In this latest in the bestselling series featuring medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta, Cornwell shows us once again why she is the world’s number one bestselling crime writer, mistress of the shocking turns, delicious thrills, and state-of-the-art forensic details that all fans of suspense have come to love.

I have been a fan of Patricia Cornwell for several years now and I have all her books.  When I was offered the chance to not only read and review her new book ‘Chaos’, but to kick off the blog tour, naturally I jumped at it.

I love the character of Dr. Kay Scarpetta and I suppose that I am more than a wee bit envious of her job.   I have two ‘fantasy’ jobs, one of which is a medical examiner and the other is as a criminal/ forensic psychologist.

No matter what is thrown at her, Kay Scarpetta gets straight back up, dusts herself off and carries on.  She is a real trooper.  Kay is dedicated to her job but she has the ability to balance the demands of her work life and her personal life.  She also seems to be able to get on with people from all walks of life.  Kay Scarpetta is married to a (handsome) FBI agent called Benton Wesley.  By the end of the book, I had fallen in love with Benton myself.  Both Kay and Benton can switch into work mode at the drop of a hat.  Indeed this is what happens when they go for a meal at the university where Kay is due to give a speech.  Kay also has a ‘work husband’ in Pete Marino and it is him that she teams up with when she gets the phone call that a body has been found in a nearby park.  This is only the start of a very complex investigation with many different strands to it.  As time goes on, Kay’s team and her very technologically minded niece, Lucy become involved in the case.  I don’t want to say too much more about the plot as I wouldn’t want to spoil it for anyone.

I must admit that I binge read this book in that I read it over a couple of days.  To begin with, I was a bit confused by the events in the book and the plot but because I was continuously reading it everything quickly slotted into place.  The book starts at a gentle pace, but as the reader is drip fed little bits of information and further events occur the book gathers pace, until it reaches a tense and terrifying conclusion.  Towards the end of the book I almost had to read through my fingers as I feared what was going to happen next.

It’s certainly true that some of the details are rather gruesome in nature but since Kay Scarpetta is a medical examiner what do you expect?  The gruesome bits didn’t really bother me but then I have a strong stomach and I had to have because both of my parents were nurses.

‘Chaos’ can be read as a standalone novel but for certain references to past events to make sense I would advise that you read the series in order.  This is the 24th book in the series and the series is still going strong.  Once you start this series you will become addicted to it and you won’t want to stop reading.

In short I really enjoyed this book and I would recommend it to others.  I can’t wait to read further books in the Dr. Kay Scarpetta series.


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