Book Review: The Bone Bed by Patricia Cornwell

The Bone Bed (Kay Scarpetta, #20)The Bone Bed by Patricia Cornwell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After a five-year absence, I decided to catch up on the Kay Scarpetta series by Patricia Cornwell. I read the 19th book last month and now I’ve just finished the 20th book, The Bone Bed. If this were a standalone book, I’d be totally thrilled… but after finishing two within a month, I know why I slowed down a bit. It can be a little much at times, and having a year in between is a good thing. I still plan to read the last few in the next couple of months so I’m fully caught up, but then it’ll be nice to keep them spaced out… assuming Cornwell keeps writing more. We’re over the 25 mark already… The Bone Bed is less of a technical thriller and more of a medical thriller. By getting back to the basics, I found myself more interested in the actual murders and autopsies. It’s amusing that I go from reading a light cozy mystery to a hardcore gruesome thriller, but I like to keep the balance in my life as tight as possible. Perhaps I’m a little too wound up?

A body is found at sea attached to a reptilian-dinosaur-turtle creature. A man is on trial for killing his wife but the body hasn’t been found. An archaeologist is missing in Canada. What do they all have in common? A few interesting things and perhaps the same serial killer. But why is (s)he doing it? Kay must find out except as things start to come together, people close to her begin hiding things from her. Then she’s called to testify at a trial only to see it’s a completely orchestrated game where she’s the intended victim. Her entire scene when she’s performing an autopsy then rushing to the courthouse for the trial is absolutely stunning. It’s about 5 to 6 chapters (~100 pages, 25% of the book) and it’s one of the most thrilling and immersive things I ever read. It bounces all over the place but I am completely mesmerized by its power over me. For that, I wanted to give it 5 stars. I was so angry at the judge and the attorney who were treating Kay horribly when she did the right thing no matter if it meant she was late to court. OMG, I wanted to kill them. Luckily my other half, who is an attorney, is not a trial lawyer. Or we’d have a problem!!!

Anyways… the rest of the book was strong, but there were some let-downs which prevented a higher rating. For one thing, we lost a major supporting character in the last book, and this person wasn’t at all mentioned in this book. WHAT? Then, we find out Marino did some stupid things again, and we never see him and Kay have it out. That’s not the kind of thing to leave for the next book. We needed recovery in this one from his antics. And the fine Kay pays for being late to court… I want justice against that judge and opposing council. I also don’t think we should’ve waited til the future for it (I’m making a big leap assuming it will happen in the next book). So… I was let down enough to drop 1 star. I also felt Benton and Kay’s relationship was a tad weak in this book… and Lucy’s sudden new relationship was a surprise but should’ve been more prominent. Lastly, in the final chapter, the man on trial might possibly still be guilty of coercing someone into killing his wife even if he didn’t do it and we know who really did. Are readers supposed to guess from the coy dialog? I wanted it to be firm, not vague. Otherwise, it’s a fantastic read… some frustrating moments but definitely improved by STELLAR courtroom scenes and vivid ME actions.

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About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. There are two books: Academic Curveball and Broken Heart Attack. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.



  1. I started re-reading this series a couple of years ago and stopped after book three (maybe All that Remains – I can’t remember) because I got rather annoyed when a character close to Kay suddenly died and there was nothing there to bridge that moment between two books. To me it actually felt like there was a book missing when there wasn’t. I also felt like they deviated away from the medical aspect and went more technological which confused me greatly. I’m glad to know that she goes back to basics though because when they were medical thrillers, I did like them a lot and sped through really quickly. I’ve been intending to try them again so hopefully I’ll do that at some point.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I remember that one, too. This was similar (between Red Mist and The Bone Bed). This was a better one to read, and it was more medical. There was still technology, but they focused on the autopsy stuff. Did you read the whole series before you began re-reading?

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      • No I didn’t. I think I got up to Port Mortuary but I’m not entirely sure because I seem to have quite a few books missing and I read them before joining Goodreads and blogging so I have no physical record of them at all. I just know that I abandoned the series when I discovered Tess Gerritsen’s medical thrillers and found them more to my liking, but it has been in the back of my mind for a while to revisit the series and try it again.

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      • Both. Her main Rizzoli and Isles series is currently around 12 books long (I think) and she has a few standalones. The series starts with The Surgeon and The Apprentice which were the two books that inspired the Rizzoli and Isles TV series.

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  2. Great review 🙂 i thought you made some excellent points 🙂 tbh I fell of the series wagon with these a while ago. I like the authors writing style, but I just thought some of the character arcs got stretched too far

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I read this one back before I started doing reviews on Goodreads. I think this was where I started getting frustrated with her books as I stopped reading them. Your review is very good at pointing out the positives in this one. I might have to try reading her books again when I get home, I know I have a couple physical books on my shelves at home.

    Liked by 1 person

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