Monday, December 20, 2021

Review: Autopsy by Patricia Cornwell


Autopsy (Well Met #25) by Patricia Cornwell
Publication Date: November 30th 2021 by William Morrow
Pages: 400
Source: Publisher
Rating: ½
Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

My Thoughts:
Kay Scarpetta is back in Virginia as Chief Medica Examiner in her old stomping grounds and I like the return to her roots. However, she’s left with a mess of an office with much of the staff still loyal to the previous Chief, Elvin Reddy, a slimy ladder climber, from Kay’s past. The office secretary, Maggie, undermines Kay’s every move, and seems to be plotting against her at every turn. It doesn’t help that Kay re-opens a past case that was categorized as an accidental death when details point to it being connected with a new murder. Adding to an already busy caseload is an investigation into the deaths of two astronauts in an outer space lab. A lot going on here.

 It’s been years since I picked up a Kay Scarpetta novel, but the series was a favorite long before Goodreads, so I was excited to hear there’d be a new Scarpetta novel. I really enjoyed catching up with an old favorite character, seeing her happy with Benton and all the gang back together again. Didn’t know that Marino married Kay’s sister. Not sure if that happened in one of the books I missed, but I was a bit surprised. I foresee a bumpy road there. Lucy’s had some sad blows personally, but professionally she’s doing well. Covid is part of the story as well, not that it’s a central focus, just that the characters are dealing with the pandemic like we all are in real life.

Got to the end and I thought maybe the story would be continued in another book because so many things were still up in the air. The overall plot threads were wrapped up (mostly) in the epilogue and it felt abrupt. The solution came out of nowhere with no breadcrumbs or foundation, IMO, and I think that’s the part that was most disappointing. I didn’t feel part of the process. Up until then, Autopsy was a solid 4 stars for me. I did feel like it set up for future books and I’m looking forward to Kay bringing the Medical Examiner’s office back into shape, helping bring criminals to justice.

3.5 Stars

Book Description:

Scarpetta is back! In this twenty-fifth in the electrifying, landmark #1 bestselling thriller series chief medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta hunts an ingenious killer who has mastered cutting-edge science for the most nefarious ends.

Forensic pathologist Kay Scarpetta has returned to Virginia as the chief medical examiner. Finding herself the new girl in town once again after being away for many years, she’s inherited an overbearing secretary and a legacy of neglect and possible corruption.

She and her husband Benton Wesley, now a forensic psychologist with the U.S. Secret Service, have relocated to Old Town Alexandria where she’s headquartered five miles from the Pentagon in a post-pandemic world that’s been torn by civil and political unrest. Just weeks on the job, she’s called to a scene by railroad tracks where a woman’s body has been shockingly displayed, her throat cut down to the spine, and as Scarpetta begins to follow the trail, it leads unnervingly close to her own historic neighborhood.

At the same time, a catastrophe occurs in a top secret private laboratory in outer space, and at least two scientists aboard are found dead. Appointed to the highly classified Doomsday Commission that specializes in sensitive national security cases, Scarpetta is summoned to the White House Situation Room and tasked with finding out what happened. But even as she works the first crime scene in space remotely, an apparent serial killer strikes again. And this time, Scarpetta could be in greater danger than ever before.

In this latest novel in her groundbreaking Kay Scarpetta series, Patricia Cornwell captivates readers with the shocking twists, high-wire tension, and forensic detail that she is famous for, proving once again why she’s the world’s #1 bestselling crime writer. 


  1. I've read all of them until #23 which did not go well for me. 1 heart. So I'm only 2 behind but I'd lost the connection, it was getting very odd. It sounds better with a return to a base I knew.

    Anne - Books of My Heart

  2. I don't love abrupt endings...especially when the rest of the book has been so good. It's been a long time since I've read a Kay Scarpetta book, too.

  3. It sounds interesting even with the problems.