Book of the Dead, Hardback
3 out of 5 (2 ratings)


The 'book of the dead' is the morgue log, the ledger in which all cases are entered by hand.

For Kay Scarpetta, however, it is about to have a new meaning.

Fresh from her bruising battle with a psychopath in Florida, Scarpetta decides it's time for a change of pace.

Moving to the historic city of Charleston, South Carolina, she opens a unique private forensic pathology practice, one in which she and her colleagues offer expert crime scene investigation and autopsies to communities lacking local access to competent death investigation and modern technology. It seems like an ideal situation, until the murders and other violent deaths begin.

A woman is ritualistically murdered in her multi-million-dollar beach home.

The body of an abused young boy is found dumped in a desolate marsh.

A sixteen-year-old tennis star is found nude and mutilated near Piazza Navona in Rome.

Scarpetta has dealt with many brutal and unusual crimes before, but never a string of them as baffling, or as terrifying, as the ones before her now.

Before she is through, that book of the dead will contain many names - and the pen may be poised to write her own.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Crime & mystery
  • ISBN: 9780316724234



Free Home Delivery

on all orders

Pick up orders

from local bookshops


Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

An excellent read as usual from this author. I don't know how Patricia Cornwell weaves such an intricate thread. The story kept me guessing all the way through. There were many individual stories coming together it seemed to me to make a brilliant complete whole.Kay is now in Charleston running her own private forensic practice. After the death of a tennis star in Italy she and Benton Wesley (now engaged) have to work hard to quickly solve the crime as it seems the killer has done this before and likely to do it again. The psychiatrist Dr Self is back causing as much trouble to Scarpetta as she can and deeply involved in the murders.But what has happened to Pete Marino? I don't like the downward spiral the ex-cop is taking as I think he is an essential part of the whole series and would not like to see his exit.

Review by

The plot of this book begins when Drew Martin, a 16 year old tennis star is brutally murdered in what seems to be a bizzare ritual. Dr Kay Scarpetta is now living in Charleston and is starting up a new private forensic pathology practice with the help of her niece, Lucy. Pete Marino, her collegue, seems to be self-destructing after becoming involved with a new demanding girlfriend. Scarpetta's own personal life is also having some ups and downs, and even those closest to her are not telling her everything. She also has to deal with what appears to be attempts at sabotaging her, and an old enemy makes an unwelcome return to her life.As more dead bodies turn up, the hunt for a killer known as 'the sandman' begins...I have read a couple of Cornwell's previous books featuring Scarpetta, and I remember quite enjoying them. However, this book was a lot weaker than I expected. Whilst I stuck with it and read it to the end, I would not read it again. I found that I could not empathise with any of the characters, and certain characters in the book just irritated me. I felt the climax of the book was also lacking, it was not the exciting ending I was hoping for. In fairness, I may have missed something as I have not read the previous 14 in sequence, and I wouldn't recommend it as a stand alone book as certain element of the plot referred back to previous books.

Also by Patricia Cornwell   |  View all