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BOOKS


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Black Notice
by Patricia Cornwell

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If you are a fan of gore and convoluted plot lines, Black Notice will be a must-read. If, however, you enjoy a more straight forward mystery you would be well advised to keep on looking for another book.

Patricia Cornwell's lead character, Dr. Kay Scarpetta, is certainly intriguing even if she is not particularly likable. As the chief medical examiner in Richmond, Virginia she faces death in an up close and personal fashion and this book seems particularly prone to dishing up creepy and gory details that go way beyond the limits.

As she scrapes dead flesh off of rotting corpses, Scarpetta is coldly and decidedly aloof. Scarpetta is also portrayed as a bit too brilliant, too successful and too sure of her own status as a super sleuth. Maybe it's no wonder that everyone else in the book seems to want to sabotage her success.

Someone has been tampering with Scarpetta's e-mails and, assuming her identity, is sending off threatening messages and slanderous messages. Another thorn in her side is a new deputy chief of police, Diane Bray, who has demoted Scarpetta's friend and sidekick, Officer Pete Marino.

Between all the office politics, Dr. Scarpetta is still at work in the forensic lab where she discovers some weird animal hairs on a corpse. The body had been found inside a container ship and soon the murder is linked to other victims not only in Richmond, Virginia but in France. Scarpetta and Marino embark on an international series of murders that crisscross the Atlantic and two continents. The overworked plot alone is enough to make one seasick.

Read our biography of Patricia Cornwell.