I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by William Morrow on October 27th 2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Fiction, General, Suspense, Thriller
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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. She doesn’t know whom she can tell – not her FBI husband Benton Wesley or her investigative partner Pete Marino. Not even Lucy.
In this new novel, Cornwell launches these unforgettable characters on an intensely psychological odyssey that includes the mysterious death of a Hollywood mogul’s daughter, aircraft wreckage on the bottom of the sea in the Bermuda Triangle, a grisly gift left in the back of a crime scene truck, and videos from the past that threaten to destroy Scarpetta’s entire world and everyone she loves. The diabolical presence behind what unfolds seems obvious - but strangely, not to the FBI. Certainly that’s the message they send when they raid Lucy’s estate 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 chief medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta, Cornwell will captivate readers with the shocking twists, high-wire tension, and cutting-edge forensic detail that she is famous for, proving yet again why she’s the world’s #1 bestselling crime writer.
Okay, so first off, this book is LONG. I don’t mean “this took forever to read because it was lengthy”, I mean “the first half nothing happened”. I haven’t read a Scarpetta novel before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew she was a leader in her literary niche with plenty of novels under her belt but I had no idea she’s wrote 23 of this series! This knowledge still didn’t prepare me for all the history and past experiences the characters have under gone during the previous novels although Cornwell did an excellent job of catching me up.
Depraved Heart was easy to read and all the character’s previous experiences were explained thoroughly so a new reader like myself wasn’t too lost for long. I also got a feeling for personalities early on that never wavered from my initial impressions. Although, I found myself not particularly liking any of the characters. Benson is a duplicitous man who is not only a cheat but also a liar, Scarpetta is naive and a bit judgmental while Lucy is a toddler in adult clothing. I think, for me personally, that it might have been beneficial to see how each character came to be the flawed individuals they are portrayed in Depraved Heart in order to make a positive connection to the characters, but without prior knowledge I found myself struggling to like most of the characters. I get they are going through a difficult time or in Scarpetta’s case she’s struggling with PTSD but again, I have no prior experience with these characters so it was hard to connect with them in their current states.
What did I like? The science was interesting, the way that Cornwell dumbed down some of the more complicated evidence details was far superior to Rieches and I enjoyed how I wasn’t sure what would happen next. The series seems to have a previous flair for dramatics so reading this novel I wasn’t sure when the “action” would start or even if it would. It does, it just arrives a little late and instead of helicopter chases and James Bond style scuba diving assignations, there’s some science sleuthing and bad guy catching.
Plus, it seems they answer the question of who shot Scarpetta while on a evidence dive. Meanwhile, is Carrie alive? Is she still State side and what is her new agenda? Things definitely left off in an interesting place with all the characters on the precipice of an irrecoverably life changing event. I honestly will probably buy the next book in the series to learn more about Carrie and how she intends to exact her revenge. Oh, and to understand why she wants revenge – I don’t really fully understand why she hates Scarpetta or Lucy so much..
In the end, Depraved Heart was a long, arduous journey that ended with plenty of questions that made this read worthwhile. The entire novel was a giant detective story that slowly developed over a period of 24 hours that could have probably been written in 100 less pages. Nevertheless, the novel was enjoyable and I never found myself particularly bored with the contents or Cornwell’s clearly skilled writing. I don’t think ill ever be able to write a book near Cornwell’s level of mastery.
This book will appeal to readers who enjoy forensics, crime novels, action novels and extremely long series. I definitely believe a new reader can leap right into the story with Depraved Heart, but readers of previous installments of this series might be a bit frustrated with the level of detail concerning the last 22 books.