Book Review: Depraved Heart by Patricia Cornwell

Posted January 25, 2016 by Stormi in Book Reviews / 7 Comments

Book Review: Depraved Heart by Patricia Cornwell

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Genres: Forensics, Mystery
Published by William Morrow on October 27, 2015
Pages: 480
Format: Hardcover
Source: the library

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Twenty-third in the Kay Scarpetta forensic mystery series currently set in Boston and focused on Dr. Kay Scarpetta and her family and friends. It’s August, two months after Kay almost died in Flesh and Blood, 22.

My Take

It does pull you in with the drama, the tension, the highhandedness of the FBI — I wanted to smack them myself!

Since when are witnesses allowed to leave without giving a statement? Why wouldn’t they have gone to check on the housekeeper SOONER?! I mean, duh, supposedly Kay and Pete are so smart with all this experience… What else I don’t understand is why View Spoiler » The way Janet and Benton go on about that damned video from Florida drove me mad. Just get on with it!!

I can understand why Lucy was so incorrigible as a child. With a mother like hers combined with her brilliance, I’m impressed she came out as well as she did. But it is really getting old (or I’ve forgotten! Quite possible!) with all this “teasing” Cornwell does about why Lucy was thrown out of the FBI. After all these installments, just get on with it. Tell us.

I think Kay comes across as paranoid. Of course, I’m feeling paranoid about what Cornwell has to say about the Undernet. Jesus. That seems all too possible.

I don’t get it. How is that underwater recording going to hurt Kay? It makes no sense.

I cannot believe how unprofessional Erin is, in so many, many ways.

Cornwell goes on and on and on and on, repeating the same stuff over and over and over…gettin’ to ya, yet? It’s a frustrating mix of “oh, brother”, “how stupid”, and “oh, wow”. The plot concocted about embarrassing POTUS, the Undernet, the extreme leeway taken by the FBI, the plot to knock off Lucy and possibly Janet and Desi are all part of that “oh wow”. And…oh, wow…

The Story

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

As Scarpetta watches she begins to learn frightening secrets about her niece, whom she has loved and raised like a daughter. That film clip and then others sent soon after raise dangerous legal implications that increasingly isolate Scarpetta and leave her confused, worried, and not knowing where to turn.

The Characters

Dr. Kay Scarpetta, the chief medical examiner of Massachusetts and director of the Cambridge Forensic Center, has degrees in medicine and law and is a reservist colonel in the Air Force. Benton Wesley is a criminal intelligence analyst for the FBI, aka, a profiler. Sock is the brindle greyhound Kay rescued. Kay was the first woman chief medical examiner of Virginia when Lucy Farinelli came to live with Kay at 10. Janet, a lawyer, is Lucy’s partner. Desi is Janet’s nephew; his mother died of cancer three weeks ago. Jet Ranger is their ancient English bulldog.

Dorothy is Lucy’s very childish, extremely immature mother. Mister Pickle is the vintage green teddy bear Kay gave a ten-year-old Lucy.

Cambridge Forensic Center (CFC) is…
…the Massachusetts crime labs. Rusty and Harold are the transport team. Luke Zenner is Kay’s deputy chief. Bryce Clark is her too-chatty chief of staff. Anne is the forensic radiologist. Ernie Koppel is the senior trace evidence examiner. The self-obsessed Jen Garate is the forensic investigator Kay hired to fill Pete’s position, but she badly wants to fire her. Jim is chief of the firearms lab.

Cambridge PD
Pete Marino is a police investigator these days. Although it certainly doesn’t seem to keep him from hanging around with Kay all the time. The obnoxious Officers Park Hyde and thinks-he’s-knowledgeable Lapin are on-scene at the Gilbert murder. Helen is the dispatcher. Al Jacks, aka, Ajax, is a former Navy SEAL who leads the SWAT team.

Massachusetts State Trooper Vogel, aka, Typhoid Mary, got damned lucky. Jill Donoghue is a highly regarded criminal defense attorney.

Chanel Gilbert has her secrets, even in death. Her mother is a Hollywood movie producer, Amanda Gilbert. Elsa Mulligan is the housekeeper.

Carrie Grethen, aka Copperhead, aka Sasha Sarin, had been doing dirty work for Rosado, is a psychopath who has been dogging Lucy and Kay’s lives for decades. She first appeared in Lucy’s life when she was appointed as mentor to Lucy as an intern. She reappeared in Flesh and Blood.

FBI jerks include…
Special Agent Erin Lorin is a former Tennessee beauty queen who is now married to Judge Zeb Chase in Virginia who was appointed by the White House. Doug Wade claims he’s a revenue officer for the IRS; he’s really with DoD.

Back in Flesh and Blood
Pete Rosado was the corrupt U.S. congressman murdered off the coast of Florida. His son, Troy, is a young psychopath who teamed up with Carrie. Rick and Sam are the police divers murdered by Carrie.

Lucy’s “Résumé”
Interned with the FBI seventeen years ago to design the Criminal Artificial Intelligence Network (CAIN) at the Engineering Research Facility (ERF). Became a new agent. Got fired. Joined ATF. Became a mercenary special operator. Started her own forensic computer company in New York City and was then run out of there. Now she’s a thirty-five-year-old rich technical entrepreneur who handles the IT for the CFC.

Joel Fagano was a New York forensic accountant who died last month in Boston. Newton Joyce was the helicopter pilot who died back during Carrie’s escape. General John Briggs is the chief of Armed Forces Medical Examiners and Kay’s military boss.

The Cover and Title

The background is a hologram of interlocking circles against black; it gives the impression of being inside a deep, dark hole from the perspective of that white rectangle almost center of the cover. The author’s name is in white with the title in red, but the letters are actually frames for images.

The title is the title, Depraved Heart, of the videos Kay receives.

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7 responses to “Book Review: Depraved Heart by Patricia Cornwell

  1. I absolutely adored the first 4 or 5 books in the series but I stopped reading it about 10 years or so ago and this review doesn’t make me sorry I did. It sounds like the problems that I had with the series are still very present. There’s just too much going on, too many coincidences and Kay sounds like she’s crossed the line from tough and driven into fairly crazy. I do want to go reread the ones I loved though. Body of Evidence and All that Remains were brilliant!

  2. Hmm not sure I’d enjoy this, Stormi. I’m sorry it wasn’t like the other books in the series, and that the story moved slowly, as well as the things that annoyed you. One would think that people working for the FBI have the experience needed not to let witnesses slip through their fingers…
    Have a terrific Tuesday!!

  3. Flesh and Blood was pretty good. Not so sure about this one. I trust your review:)I wonder if sometimes the author is trying to pump new blood into a series and lose their way with the story.

  4. I read Body Farm several years ago (before blogging and even before I was on GR). Then I read another book, probably not in order, I remember thinking it was the same story with a few things changed. I knew exactly what was going to happen. I stopped after that. Sorry this didn’t work for you.

  5. I used to love this series and read them as soon as they came out. I quit reading it probably five years ago. I just got really tired of the same stuff over and over. It really was good for a long time though.

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