Postmortem By Patricia Cornwell
--reviewed by Jane
I've read several of Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta novels and to be honest, I never felt like you had to read them in order. Although now that I've read this book, which was the the first of the series, it does help the other book's shorelines fall into place.
Cornwell is a great writer and for crime and mystery novel lovers, she is probably at the top of most lists. "Postmortem" introduces us to Kay Scarpetta, the chief medical officer for the Commonwealth of Virginia. She is trying to solve the case of "Mr. Nobody" who has strangled several young girls. There is lots of "CSI" type stuff, since she is a forensic expert, so she has to piece together the clues to solve the crimes.
The book is based on the true story of Richmond, Virginia's "South Side Strangler". Cornwell was a reporter before she started writing crime novels. So, her attention to detail and knowledge of an actual medical examiner's office pays off.
Back to the book. Kay Scarpetta is a professionally tough broad, working a very male-oriented field, i.e. police and criminal investigations. The entire series is well-written and highly entertaining, but if you want to begin the journey and start the Kay Scarpetta series, start with this book. It may not be the best of the Scarpetta novels, but you'll have a much better understanding of the protagonist going forward. Once you read this one, I have a feeling you'll be searching for another fix.