Cause of Death is the 7th book in the “Kay Scarpetta” thriller and mystery series by award-winning author Patricia Cornwell. I’ve read about 2/3 of the series and now returning to write reviews on everything I’ve read in the hopes it’ll push me to pick up the series again in the coming weeks. My rating: 3 of 5 stars
For those new to the series, Scarpetta is a Virginia-based medical examiner, but eventually she moves around a bit over the course of the 20+ book series. She’s sharp, witty and tough. She’s had strong ties with the police and the FBI, as well as been on the outs with them over her career. She’s been the targeted victim by a few of the serial killers she’s helped to trap and capture. She’s not married for most of the books, but has a boyfriend for a while. Her niece Lucy helps her solve crimes on occasion. And her cop friend Pete Marino was in love with her at one point. Some of this may have changed after book 13/14 when I temporarily stopped. I stopped because I felt like I needed a new character to focus on, a different set of stories in a different place, but they are still all generally good books.
Cause of Death was one of the average books. Scarpetta’s involved in more intrigue than usual, with international situations, and she’s also filling in for a fellow ME on New Year’s Eve when she is summoned to look at a dead body. The funny thing… she knows about it before the police do. Now who is after her? There are multiple story angles in this one, and Cornwell got too technical for me. I love to learn when I read, but I also don’t want to have to look stuff up in an encyclopedia or online. By today’s standards, some of this is more common knowledge, but over a decade ago, she was ahead of the curve.
While still a good story, it’s not my favorite and I wouldn’t recommend this one to start with if you’re interested in the series.
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