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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Body Farm


I read about Patricia Cornwell in The New Yorker and decided to read some of the Kay Scarpetta series. The earliest book in the series I could find at the library was The Body Farm. I feel as if I were coming in the middle of things. Obviously there have been some connections made earlier and I must backtrack to catch up.
Scarpetta gets right into the mix with the boys at the FBI Academy where a group is exploring the recent killing of a young girl by a demented killer named Gault. Kay has a brief encounter with her niece who is at UVA and interning at the FBI Academy, who has her own story to tell. This is interrupted when Kay has to fly off to a crime scene in Ashville, NC of a NC State Bureau of Investigation agent she didn’t have a good encounter with at the FBI training grounds The initial murder and then the even more bizarre death/murder gets us right into the middle of weirdness and Scarpetta’s life even as she treats a wounded colleague in more ways than one.
The first half is filled with tensions in all relationships and then we go into a great detailed FBI forensics report about the facts. Great stuff. The different actions slowly interweave and as each separate case becomes more clear, what were different cases become one. And all personal stuff, all the stuff of life between sisters, failed marriages, lovers, co-workers, friends and mothers are deftly handled and real. It’s amazing the domino effect that one action can cause especially when it starts with the horrendous murder of a little girl.
Cornwell creates fu characters, great drama, and does it well.

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