It is the week before Christmas. The effects of the credit crunch have prompted Dr. Kay Scarpetta to offer her services pro bono to New York City's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. But in no time at all, her increased visibility seems to precipitate a string of dramatic and unsettling events. She is asked live on the air about the sensational case of Hannah Starr, who has vanished and is presumed dead. Moments later during the same broadcast, she receives a startling call-in from a former psychiatric patient of Benton Wesley's. When she returns after the show to the apartment where she and Benton live, she finds a suspicious package -- possibly a bomb - waiting for her at the front desk. Soon the apparent threat on Scarpetta's life finds her embroiled in a deadly plot that includes a famous actor accused of an unthinkable sex crime and the disappearance of a beautiful millionairess with whom Lucy seems to have shared a secret past.
The last two installments in the Scarpetta series gave some hope of improvement back to a series most readers once loved but that had lost it's bite. Unfortunately The Scarpetta Factor is a drawback once again. Although it seems that Cornwell tries to give back some substance to the series characters it just isn't what the reader wants. Those who have read the series right from the beginning will miss Scarpetta's investigations, autopsies and exciting morgue stories.
Instead there is a lot of high tech investigation like GPS, Internet and what not.
Cornwell rehashes a lot of the old junk between Scarpetta and now husband Benton. Why he left her and went undercover etc. . It is good to know but not enough substance to fill a 500 pages book.
I'm not sure if the reader still wants to read about the Chandonne family or wants the remaining part to return at all. The Chandonnes' were a part of Cornwell's books way to often and at one point it just gets stale. At least for my taste.
The personal stuff in each characters life got boring and uninteresting, it distracts from the rather thin main plot.
That being said, you'll still like Scarpetta after reading this book but if it is enough to keep you interested for another 500 pages book is the question to be answered.
Visit Patricia Cornwell.
Hardcover: 512 pages
Publisher: Putnam Adult (October 20, 2009)