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Crime mystery set in NORTHERN VIRGINIA

7th November 2023

Unnatural Death by Patricia Cornwell, crime mystery set in Northern Virginia.

This is no.27 in the Kay Scarpetta series and it is a while since I last picked one up. It is therefore good to see that Patricia Cornwell is still in top form and includes some very familiar faces.

The bodies of Huck and Brittany Manson, mauled and unrecognisable, are the latest case for chief medical officer, Kay Scarpetta. The author’s choice of surname for the two dead people naturally adds a frisson of disquiet given the case of namesake Charles, who in the later 1960s orchestrated a series of brutal killings that shocked the world.

Their bodies are found not far from an area where they were camping, a terrain that is filled with mining debris and toxins. Thus, Scarpetta has to ensure adequate protection for herself and her team and the appropriate clothing is an absolute must. Soaring by helicopter into the sky with her niece Lucy, the pilot, she sets off to this remote part of the state, a terrain populated by fierce wild animals and goodness knows what else. They rise higher, dodging drones and press corps, all headed out to the same area and now it is clear that someone, clearly, is leaking information to outside parties.

There is also a curious foot print that has to be factored into the crime scene. Could it be a Bigfoot?

The couple has been on the authorities’ radar for some time, a ruthless husband and wife pairing who seem to have connections with foreign countries hostile towards America. Scarpetta not only has to deal with the unnatural and brutal deaths, but an old nemesis pops up from the past to challenge and threaten her very being.

There is plenty of technical detail about procedures and a dip into the wider world of AI. There are also the machinations of the secret service and her own department’s dynamics to contend with.

Kay Scarpetta’s world is like Mission Impossible with women at its heart. Brave and intelligent, resourceful and clever – imagine how the world might look if these competent heroines were in charge 😉

This is a novel that bowls along at a good pace.

Tina for the TripFiction Team

Catch then author on Twitter X @1pcornwell

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