Review: Cambridge Forensic Center's director and Chief pathologist Dr. Kay Scarpetta's newest case begins on a very hot autumn afternoon in Boston when a young woman is found dead on a path along the Charles River in the park on the site of the Harvard University, in Chaos, the twenty-fourth mystery in this series by Patricia Cornwell.
A call had been made to 9-1-1 about "an incident in the park." Scarpetta's investigative partner, Pete Martino, had also received a strange call, supposedly from Interpol, which mentioned the incident in the park. When they found the body, the cause of death is a mystery. At first it appeared she had been struck by lightning, but there were no storms in the area. In fact there wasn't a cloud in the sky. Kay had seen the young woman earlier when she and Benton, Kay's husband, were going out for dinner. The young woman was on a bicycle and rode off after kissing a young man. Her bike and her helmet were not near her body. Twin girls, aged ten, were near the body. Although they said they hadn't moved the body, the dead girl's shirt was found in the bushes where one of the sisters vomited on it. Plus, they had taken her phone and called 9-1-1 after believing she was dead.
The woman was later identified as twenty-six-year-old Elisa Vandersteel. Kay and Pete waited for equipment to come to set up a huge tent to have privacy for the initial inspection of the body. A lot of detail goes into setting up the tent to house a crime scene keeping police, reporters and just pedestrians at bay. Kay begins to think and tells Pete about quite a few e-mails she has recently been receiving. They all are threatening and had voice recordings sounding suspiciously like her deceased father. The sender identified himself as "Tailend Charlie". He seems to know an awful lot about Kay's private life, and that of her family, information that no outsider would know about. Her niece Lucy, a technical wizard, tries to find out who Tailend Charlie is.
The murder investigation and Kay's messages begin to connect, leading to the conclusion that Kay's long-time psychopathic antagonist, Grethen, may be the instigator, if not the actual killer.
The murder mystery storyline in Chaos is compelling and worth following, but the overall pace of the book is very slow and there are long passages where little of interest happens. Too, there are quite a few elements in the story that refer to past characters and events of which a new reader to the series would have no knowledge. Long-time fans, however, will likely not be disappointed to follow Kay along on her investigation for the few surprises that await them.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Chaos.
Acknowledgment: HarperCollins provided a copy of Chaos for this review.
Review Copyright © 2017 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Putnam (Hardcover), November 2013
ISBN-13: 9780399157578; ISBN-10: 0399157573
Location(s) referenced in Chaos: Boston, Massachusetts; Washington DC
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Chaos by Patricia Cornwell — A Kay Scarpetta Mystery
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: November 2016
List Price: $28.99
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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