Black Notice

Patricia D. Cornwell, Author $25.95 (415p) ISBN 978-0-399-14508-7
It's like a splash of cold water on a hot day to be plunged, after the irritating third-person satire of Cornwell's last novel, Southern Cross (1998), back into the bracing narration of medical examiner Kay Scarpetta. As in the nine Scarpettas past (Point of Origin, etc.), here it's not the novel's events, startling as they are, that propel the story so much as the deep-hearted responses of Kay, as real a hero as any in thriller fiction, to the ""evil""--her word--that threatens. Evil wears several faces here, from petty to monstrous. Most insidious is the office sabotage--insubordination, thefts, fraudulent e-mails--that's making the grieving Kay look as if she's lost her grip since her lover's murder in Point of Origin. More destructive are the overt attempts by calculating Richmond, Va., deputy police chief Diane Bray to ruin Kay's career as well as that of Kay's old friend, Capt. Pete Marino. Then there's the wild rage at life that's consuming Kay's niece, a DEA agent. Finally--the plot wire that binds the sometimes scattered plot--there are the mutilation killings by the French serial killer self-styled ""Loup-Garou""--werewolf. The forensic sequences boom with authority; the brief action sequences explode on the page--in the finale, overbearingly so; the interplay between Kay and Marino is boisterous as always, and there's an atmospheric sidetrip to Paris and an affecting romantic misadventure for lonely Kay. A thunderhead of disquietude hangs over this compulsively readable novel, sometimes loosing storms of suspense; but to Cornwell's considerable credit, the unease arises ultimately not from the steady potential for violence, but from a more profound horror: the vulnerability of a good woman like Kay to a world beset by the corrupt, the cruel, the demonic. One million first printing; $750,000 ad/promo; Literary Guild, Doubleday Book Club and Mystery Guild main selections; unabridged and abridged audio versions; foreign rights sold in eight countries. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/28/1999
Release date: 08/01/1999
Genre: Fiction
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-606-19510-2
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-399-14515-5
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-399-14516-2
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Hardcover - 527 pages - 978-0-375-40845-8
Mass Market Paperbound - 441 pages - 978-0-425-17540-8
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7887-3458-8
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 978-0-7865-2598-0
Compact Disc - 978-0-7366-7679-3
Paperback - 432 pages - 978-0-7515-2543-4
Hardcover - 5 pages - 978-1-4055-0271-9
Paperback - 448 pages - 978-986-235-166-6
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