It’s a Mystery: The Bone Bed, by Patricia Cornwell

The Bone Bed (Kay Scarpetta, #20)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kay Scarpetta’s having a hell of a day. She arrives at her office and opens an email containing a photo of a severed ear. She’s due in court after lunch, and wouldn’t you know, gets called out to recover a body floating in Boston Harbor. Strangely, the corpse, which appears mummified, is tied up in such a way that it’s likely to be pulled to pieces during recovery, so Kay must dive in and figure out how to prevent that from happening. When she arrives late to court, the judge reads her the riot act in front of the jury. When she finally gets back to her lab, it’s to find that the FBI has horned into her case.

Over the course of thirty six hours, Kay and her team (Lucy, Marino, and Benton) discover and scramble to solve a string of interconnected murders. Kay and her cohorts are brilliant people all, but talk about emotional baggage! While struggling with their personal problems, which are heavy, it becomes evident that the killer is taunting Kay. Rarely has she felt more vulnerable or alone.

What is refreshing about this, the twentieth Scarpetta novel, is watching four pros who care very much about each other pool their first rate clinical specialties to resolve some nasty crimes; while it’s disconcerting and often aggravating to see them at odds with one another, it is this that makes them truly real, truly human. Unlike the characters in some long running series, they do grow older, and along the way, act and react and evolve over time. They stand by each other nevertheless. Sometimes, they’re a bit paranoid, but then again, who isn’t?

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