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Literature & Fiction

Rating: 3.0 / 5.0 (399 votes)

Released: 2000

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The Last Precinct (A Scarpetta Novel) by Patricia Cornwell

Description

A profoundly original book from America’s premier crime novelist! Follow international bestselling author Patricia Cornwell’s latest addition to the Kay Scarpetta series with The Last Precinct. This engrossing piece of fiction is woven through with the extraordinary forensic detail you’ve come to expect from Cornwell, with a palpable sense of fear that keeps readers looking back—into the past for clues, and over their shoulders for the next enigmatic act of violence.

The Last Precinct finds Virginia’s Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta in the middle of a nightmare that began with Black Notice, and continues as she discovers the so-called Werewolf murders may have extended to New York City and into the darkest corners of her past. Scarpetta must struggle to make what she knows to be the truth prevail against mounting evidence to the contrary. By the end of the novel, it is clear that Scarpetta’s life can never be the same.

The Last Precinct marks a new era for Kay Scarpetta and a triumphant achievement for Patricia Cornwell. You won’t be able to put this nail-biter down!

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Editorial Review

Patricia Cornwell's legendary crime fiction creation, Virginia's Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta, has logged a host of fans among mystery readers and, within the bounds of her fictional world, an equally impressive tally of individuals intent on causing her grievous physical or psychological harm.

The 11th Scarpetta novel, The Last Precinct, doesn't add any new names to the second roster. Instead, in a sweeping narrative gesture toward retrospection (less-than-fervent fans might whisper "or stagnation"), the novel depends largely on ground already covered in its predecessors, Black Notice and, to a lesser extent, Point of Origin. All the familiar faces--friend and foe--are here: police captain Marino, Kay's niece Lucy, the so-called Werewolf murderer, and (in memoriam) Kay's lover Benton Wesley and his killer, Carrie Grethen. Kay, who nearly killed the Werewolf in self-defense as Black Notice came to a close, now finds herself the target of a corrupt police investigation that will dredge her darkest secrets from the deepest corners of her past.

Torn between a desire to clear her name and the instinct of a wounded animal to turn against even its would-be rescuers, Kay sifts through the forensic evidence that seems to link Chandonne to other horrific events in her past, up to and including Wesley's murder. Physical analysis, however, will not be enough to right her up-ended world. Instead, Kay must rely on the strategic support of her niece, cofounder of the Last Precinct (an odd, ill-defined organization that is, in the words of its motto, "where you go when there is nowhere left"), and on her willingness to examine her own fears, misconceptions, and anything-but-altruistic motives. The most important setting in this novel is not the morgue--it's the living room where Kay's therapist forces her to address (you guessed it) "unresolved issues."

The novel's focus on Kay's emotional evolution does not, unfortunately, mask the leaps of illogic that pepper the plot's murky stew. More disturbing than these occasional lapses, however, is the feeling that Cornwell has written herself into a corner. The Scarpetta of The Last Precinct is a far cry from the irritably independent woman of previous books. Her often over-inflated musings are more tiresome than tantalizing. Cornwell's impressive track record makes this excursion a bit disappointing, but that same record means that loyal fans will race to acquire the book anyway and that the odds of her returning to her usual stellar form next time are (hurrah!) favorable. --Kelly Flynn

Book Details

Author: Patricia CornwellPublisher: G. P. Putnam's Son..Binding: HardcoverLanguage: EnglishPages: 449

Similar Books

Black Notice
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Cause of Death (Patricia Cornwell)
Predator (Kay Scarpetta Mysteries)
From Potter's Field


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