Depraved Heart: A Scarpetta Novel by Patricia Cornwell

Depraved Heart: A Scarpetta Novel by Patricia Cornwell

William Morrow: An Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers


466 Pages

From the publisher:

Dr. Kay Scarpetta is working a highly suspicious death scene in Cambridge, Massachusetts, when an emergency alert sounds on her phone. A video link seems to be from her niece Lucy. But how can it be? It’s clearly a surveillance film of Lucy taken almost twenty years ago.

As Scarpetta watches she comes to grips with frightening secrets about her niece. That first clip and others sent soon after raise dangerous implications that increasingly isolate Scarpetta and leave her confused, alarmed, and not knowing where to turn. The diabolical presence and singularly “depraved heart” behind what unfolds seems obvious—but strangely, not to the FBI. Certainly that’s the message they send when they start harassing Lucy and begin building a case that could send her to prison for the rest of her life.

In the latest novel in her bestselling series featuring medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta, Cornwell captivates readers again with the jolting twists, high-wire tension, and cutting-edge forensic detail for which she is renowned, proving yet again why she is the world’s number one bestselling crime writer.

My thoughts on Depraved Heart:

I have only read one Patricia Cornwell book before this one: Portrait of a Killer (2002). Portait of a Killer was about Ms. Cornwell’s theory that artist Walter Sickert was Jack the Ripper. I found her theory quite credible and I went to hear Ms. Cornwell speak about Jack the Ripper recently at the Dallas Museum of Art. Ms. Cornwell has done much more research in London and has even more evidence now to back up her theory, as presented in a soon-to-be-published follow-up. When she was in Dallas, Ms. Cornwell also spoke about her most recent Kay Scarpetta novel entitled Chaos. I enjoyed learning about her characters in the Scarpetta series from the talk and was excited to begin reading Depraved Heart

The book did not disappoint since I enjoy these types of series novels. I have to say Ms. Cornwell’s writing is a step above my usual authors of crime fiction (Stuart Woods, Janet Evanovich). I did not find it necessary to feel I have to read this series from the beginning and in order. I know I will eventually get around to reading more Kay Scarpetta novels. I am not a scientific or mathematical person, but I enjoyed the forensic aspect and descriptions of evidence Dr. Scarpetta related in the novel. I very much enjoyed learning about Dr. Scarpetta’s cohort in crime solving, Marino, as well as learning the story of her niece Lucy and husband Benton. All of this was made more interesting to me after hearing these characters discussed in person by Ms. Cornwell. 

In this book, Dr. Scarpetta is recovering from almost being killed by a spear gun and is called to a case in what seemingly is a fall from a ladder at a private residence. The main subject of this case is what Ms. Cornwell describes as data fiction. How appropriate to read about data fiction in this current time of “fake news” and the FBI and emails and the recent election. I found the book captivating and read the 466 pages as quickly as possible.

The only disappointing part of the process of reading this book was that there was not complete resolution with the murderer, a truly evil person with a depraved heart. Well, this will make things interesting in Chaos, as Depraved Heart was published before Chaos. And, if this murderer is not present in Chaos, I am sure the depraved heart will feature in a future book. If you like crime fiction and want to read and get to know characters in series, I recommend Ms. Cornwell’s Scarpetta books. Just after reading this one book, I know that you can enjoy each book on its own. I am delighted to have been introduced to Scarpetta and her cohorts in crime solving. 

Purchase Links: HarperCollins | Amazon Barnes & Noble
Author Links: Website, TwitterFacebook, and Instagram
About Patricia Cornwell:
Patricia Cornwell is recognized as one of the world’s top bestselling crime authors with novels translated into thirty-six languages in more than 120 countries. Her novels have won numerous prestigious awards including the Edgar, the John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger, the Anthony, the Macavity and the Prix du Roman d’Aventures. Beyond the Scarpetta series, Patricia has written a definitive book about Jack the Ripper, a biography and two more fiction series among others. Cornwell, a licensed helicopter pilot and scuba diver, actively researches the cutting-edge forensic technologies that inform her work. She was born in Miami, grew up in Montreat, North Carolina, and now lives and works in Boston.

  2 comments for “Depraved Heart: A Scarpetta Novel by Patricia Cornwell

  1. January 16, 2017 at 3:38 PM

    I love mystery series for two contradictory reasons: you can typically read them as standalones, but if you do read them in order, you’re often rewarded with a complicated story that you wouldn’t get otherwise. It’s nice to have the choice to dip in and out of a series or to stick with a series from the start.

    Thanks for being on this tour!

    • January 16, 2017 at 4:05 PM

      That is very true, Trish! Thank you for the opportunity to read all of the wonderful books I have read via TLC and the future ones, too. I have some great ones in the TLC queue! Cheers, Denise

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