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Tuesday, November 10, 2015


5 stars out of 5

At first blush, it was same old, same old: Medical Examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta's colleagues don't respect her. Her investigative partner Pete Marino doesn't trust her. Her techno-wizard, filthy rich niece Lucy doesn't believe her. Her FBI profiler husband Benton Wesley won't confide in her. And a psychopathic liar, murderer and Lucy's one-time love interest is out to kill her. 

Or so the good doctor, whose mind has moved disturbingly toward the paranoid in recent books, is convinced. This time, though, she's right on the money with that last one. After nearly killing Scarpetta with an underwater spear gun somewhere in the Bermuda Triangle a couple of months earlier, it's a pretty sure bet old nemesis Carrie Grethen wants Scarpetta - and maybe Wesley, Marino, Lucy and her now-partner Janet - at the very least discredited professionally and at worst dead. 

As she investigates a death scene in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Scarpetta gets a text message, apparently from Lucy's secret phone line, with a video link to a film of Lucy, taken a couple of decades ago when she was an FBI rookie. Soon thereafter, Lucy's highly secured estate becomes the target of an intrusive search and seizure presumably designed to collect enough evidence to send her to prison. That's followed by the murder of the daughter of a Hollywood heavyweight in her own home. Wedged in and around all that are murdered cops, more revealing and incriminating old-time videos of Lucy, and, of course, lots more Scarpetta angst.

This time, though, the story is so intriguing that Scarpetta's fretting over not being the center of everyone's universe really didn't bother me much. As the plot thickened, I was far more worried about what was happening - and about to happen - to the others. More often than not, nothing is as it seems; just trying to keep all the head games straight in my own mind was a challenge, and hanging over it all was the fear that this time, someone might not live to see another book. All in all, it's an exciting book and, IMHO, one of the best in the series of late.

Depraved Heart by Patricia Cornwell (William Morrow, October  2015); 480 pp.

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