Point of Origin by Patricia Cornwell

Patricia Cornwell's Dr. Kay Scarpetta series captivates its audience by providing frighteningly realistic forensic science investigation.

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Point of Origin by Patricia Cornwell


  • Mass Market Paperback: 397 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.13 x 6.78 x 4.19
  • Publisher: Berkley Pub Group; Reissue edition (August 1999)
  • ISBN: 0425169863

    Virginia's chief medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta is getting ready for a romantic holiday with her retired-FBI-profiler boyfriend, Benton Wesley, when she receives a cryptic and foreboding letter: "Hey DOC, Tick Tock, Sawed bone and fire," it begins. Even more creepy, the taunting note has been signed by Carrie Grethen, the psychotic killer Kay helped send to a psychiatric facility for going on a murder spree with Temple Gault in Cornwell's earlier book
    Body Farm. Benton believes that Grethen--who also happens to be the former lover of Scarpetta's niece Lucy--has big plans for a comeback. And before Kay and Benton can leave for their trip and discuss it further, Scarpetta is called upon to don yet another professional hat, that of a "consulting forensic pathologist" for the federal government. Someone has burned a highfalutin horse ranch and all of its contents, including a human being, to the ground. Worse, Grethen has escaped and is on the loose and closer to Kay and her beloved than she knows. Point of Origin, the ninth Scarpetta thriller, is classic Cornwell: rich with detail and strong dialogue, and doused with harrowing twists. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

    Amazon.com Audio Book Review
    When your everyday life is filled with death it's easy to find yourself a little edgy. The audio version of Patricia Cornwell's Point of Origin gives fans of her familiar heroine, Dr. Kay Scarpetta, a little something extra, a chance to hear the deep hurt and burning cynicism of the chief medical examiner's biting words. "You don't put your hands inside their ruined bodies and touch and measure their wounds.... You see clean case files and glossy photos and cold crime scenes. You spend more time...
    Audio Cassette edition.

    Reader Reviews
    1 of 1 people found the following review helpful: I kept up the page turning..., August 5, 2003 Reviewer: Michael Bird from Placentia, California Like many popular novels, this one is an easy and fairly quick read despite the fact that Cornwell often gives way too much detail and information in places. Near the beginning of this work she introduces a manager at a local motel that has red hair and a cat named "Pickles". She tells us why the cat is named Pickles, and if I could ask her, I'd wonder why she bothered. Somebody apparently likes Vidalia onions too, so what? I think some of the attention to detail, like what's for dinner and what color a meaningless characters shirt is, could have been left out. Cornwell does a good job of back story and I was surprised to find that a character from 'All That Remains', the only other novel of hers I've read, had died off in one of the previous books. By the end of this one, I decided that there was a plot line that Cornwell doesn't seem to escape from; Scarpetta is a bit of a loner and lots of her friends die including one in the the book I just mentioned. I suppose it propels readers into the next book, who will die next? But I find it too contrived. I never liked the premise of that tv show 'Murder She Wrote' either, how many people have someone around them get murdered all the time? In 'All That Remains' we have too many coincidences. Perhaps that is often how crimes are solved, through lucky breaks and the like, but here it was too much. And I really didn't care for the ending, it was too sudden and didn't have much suspense. It seemed like she decided it was time to end the book, so the killers just showed up and started shooting. Another complaint I have is simply that she leaves some issues unresolved. In the beginning of the novel, there is a black foal that has mysteriously escaped death and we are lead to believe this is some kind of foreshadowing, but it never gets resolved. Also the character that seems to be important at the beginning, the big-wig rich guy, ends up being almost meaningless, even though we are lead to believe he has some importance. A huge issue in trying to solve the crime, how the fires started and how they get so big, gets tons of play, but we never get told what actually happened. This was the biggest error of the book, I felt, there was all this drama building up about how they couldn't figure out how the fires got started and then we are never told what actually happened. One of the problems of writing from only one viewpoint, in the first person, is that it is sometimes awkward to describe events that the protagonist doesn't know about first hand. I'd give Cornwell an "A" for how she handles this technique, but to leave out something so important seems unforgivable. She does explain how the fire starts, but it is akin to saying they "used a match" she left out how they got so hot when that question was a huge story point to the fire detectives. And of course the characterization of Lucy was too much. If Cornwell wants to write about a computer genius, beautiful and perfect, able to do calculations in her head that everyone else needs a calculator for, able to fly helicopters, be a fire investigator, FBI agent, and so forth, perhaps she should make her the protagonist as she is almost like a female James Bond and she shouldn't be playing second fiddle. Despite my complaints, being picky and looking for faults is a character trait of mine, I'm still going to give this book a 4. In the field that it is written in, it is above average. I'd recommend, however, starting in the beginning of the series, unlike myself, as I think that would make the stories run together more smoothly. I'd also point out that this type of writing probably appeals more to female readers, but I'd venture to say I'll read more, they are certainly entertaining.

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