Port Mortuary:

Scarpetta (Book 18)

From the world’s #1 bestselling crime writer comes the extraordinary new Kay Scarpetta novel. 

Port Mortuary, the title of Patricia Cornwell’s eighteenth Scarpetta novel, is literally a port for the dead. In this fast-paced story, a treacherous path from Scarpetta’s past merges with the high tech highway she now finds herself on. We travel back to the beginning of her professional career, when she enlisted in the Air Force to pay off her medical school debt and found herself ensnared in a gruesome case of what seemed to be vicious, racially motivated hate crimes against two Americans in South Africa. 

Now, more than twenty years and many career successes later, her secret military ties have drawn her to Dover Air Force Base, where she has been immersed in a training fellowship to master the art of CT-assisted virtual autopsy—a procedure the White House has mandated that she introduce in the private sector. As the chief of the new Cambridge Forensic Center in Massachusetts, a joint venture of the state and federal governments and MIT, Scarpetta is confronted with a case that could shut down her new facility and ruin her personally and professionally. 

A young man drops dead, apparently from a cardiac arrhythmia, eerily close to Scarpetta’s new Cambridge home. But when his body is examined the next morning, there are stunning indications that he may have been alive when he was zipped inside a pouch and locked insider the Center’s cooler. Various 3-D radiology scans reveal more shocking details about internal injuries unlike any Scarpetta has ever seen. These suggest the possibility of a conspiracy to cause mass casualties. She realizes that she is fighting a cunning and cruel enemy that is invisible as she races against time to discover who and why before more people die.

In Port Mortuary, Patricia Cornwell brings Scarpetta together with Marino, Benton, and Lucy in an intimate way that is reminiscent of the early novels, and we welcome a voice we haven’t heard in years. The point of view is Scarpetta’s, and this is her story.

Editorial Reviews

“When it comes to the forensic sciences, nobody can touch Cornwell.”

New York Times Book Review

“Compelling…her strongest work in years.”

Publishers Weekly

Author Biography

Patricia Cornwell sold her first novel, Postmortem, while working as a computer analyst at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond, Virginia. It is the only novel to win five major crime awards in a single year. She has since gone on to become a #1 New York Times bestselling author, with some of her more recent bestsellers including The Bone Bed, Red Mist, Port Mortuary, and Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper—Case Closed. To date, Cornwell’s books have sold more than 100 million copies in thirty-six languages in over 120 countries. Her character Dr. Kay Scarpetta won the 1999 Sherlock Award for the best detective created by an American author. When not writing from her home in Boston, Cornwell tirelessly researches cutting-edge forensic technologies to include in her work.

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Reader Biography

Kate Reading is an Audie Award–winning narrator and has received numerous Earphones Awards from AudioFile magazine. She is also a theater actor in the Washington, DC, area and has been a member of the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company since 1987. Her work onstage has been recognized by the Helen Hayes Awards Society, among others. She and her husband live in Hyattsville, Maryland, with their two children.

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