Review: Detective Pete Marino phones Dr. Kay Scarpetta, Massachusetts' Chief Medical Examiner, to advise her that the body of a young woman has been found lying in an athletic field on the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with no visible signs of injury but covered in a fine substance, in Dust, the 21st mystery in this series by Patricia Cornwell.
The victim is identified as Gail Shipton, who was set to go to trial in a $100 million lawsuit she was bringing against her former financial managers. Scarpetta does not believe her death is a coincidence. Shipton was last seen taking a phone call at a popular bar in Cambridge. Scarpetta now finds her posed, lying in the grass wrapped in an ivory linen cloth and covered with what appears to be dust. But under an ultraviolet light, that dust shows up luminously in three vivid colors, a "mineral fingerprint". The clues soon lead Scarpetta to a series of unsolved murders in Washington DC and, most alarmingly for her, to her niece Lucy, a computer expert. Though her husband, FBI profiler Benson Wesley, is convinced that someone in the government doesn't want the "Capital Killer" murders solved — or that of Gail Shipton — Kay Scarpetta is determined to get answers.
This books in this series of mysteries and thrillers — and there are some that lean more heavily in one direction than the other — have story arcs spanning long periods of time, mostly character driven but also from a professional perspective. And yet the author manages to both accomodate long-time readers and first time readers in a remarkably transparent manner, giving the former a chance to get caught up on what's happened since the events of previous books, and the latter context so they don't feel as if they've missed something along the way. The storyline is a complicated one, as most in this series are, but one that can readily be followed and one that holds the reader's interest. Dust is definitely one of the better entries in this fine series.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Dust.
Acknowledgment: Penguin Group provided a copy of Dust for this review.
Review Copyright © 2013 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Dust: Boston, Massachusetts; Washington DC
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Dust by Patricia Cornwell — A Kay Scarpetta Mystery
Publication Date: November 2013
List Price: $28.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
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