Saturday, January 8, 2011

Port Mortuary, by Patricia Cornwell (2010)

This took me out of the world for a day and a half. (And I really wanted to get some academic work done instead of reading a novel.) It is a completely engaging book, one you won't put down. This is another in a series of the Scarpetta novels that Cornwell is known for. As usually there is a gripping plot and the main characters are fully developed and nuanced. To get the full effect of the book you would need to have read others in the series. Those of us who have followed the Scarpetta series delight in the additional new shades added to her cast. Scarpetta herself is the narrative voice and that device makes the ambiguity of the events entirely believable.

As always Cornwell gives us rich pictures of modern forensic medicine and other technological information. This particular book will be alarming to anyone who has hesitations about technological advances in offensive weapons. It also connects briefly to Apartheid in South Africa.

When you pick this up make sure your calendar is clear for a day or so--you won't be accomplishing much other than finishing the book.

Although this is an adult book, I can strongly recommend it for high school students. The violence is minimal and there is essentially no sex.

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