‘CHAOS ~ A vast chasm or void
The science of unpredictability’
No. 1 New York Times bestselling author Patricia Cornwell delivers her twenty-fourth thriller starring medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta, CHAOS.
Published by Harper Collins, on 20th October, I was delighted to be invited to hop on the CHAOS blogtour bus!!
Please read on to hear my thoughts….
In the quiet of twilight, on an early autumn day, twenty-six-year-old Elisa Vandersteel is killed while riding her bicycle along the Charles River. It appears she was struck by lightning—except the weather is perfectly clear with not a cloud in sight.
Dr. Kay Scarpetta, the Cambridge Forensic Center’s director and chief, decides at the scene that this is no accidental Act of God.
Her investigation becomes complicated when she begins receiving a flurry of bizarre poems from an anonymous cyberbully who calls himself Tailend Charlie. Though subsequent lab results support Scarpetta’s conclusions, the threatening messages don’t stop.
When the tenth poem arrives exactly twenty-four hours after Elisa’s death, Scarpetta begins to suspect the harasser is involved, and sounds the alarm to her investigative partner Pete Marino and her husband, FBI analyst Benton Wesley. She also enlists the help of her niece, Lucy.
But to Scarpetta’s surprise, tracking the slippery Tailend Charlie is nearly impossible, even for someone as brilliant as her niece. Also, Lucy can’t explain how this anonymous nemesis could have access to private information.
To make matters worse, a venomous media is whipping the public into a frenzy, questioning the seasoned forensics chief’s judgment and ‘a quack cause of death on a par with spontaneous combustion.’
Kay Scarpetta is back!!
For me, having not read a Patricia Cornwell novel in awhile, I was fascinated to see how the characters have developed. The writing style seems very familiar, with the story being told in first person by Scarpetta.
CHAOS takes place over a very short time frame.
Scarpetta is prepping for a talk she will be giving to a room full of ‘influential students, faculty, politicos and global leaders’ As the Director of forensics at the Cambridge Forensic Center (CFC) in Massachusetts, Scarpetta is particularly busy….but for all the wrong reasons. The population are suffering from one of the worst heatwaves in history, making it very difficult for many. As Scarpetta puts it ‘It’s a gift and a curse that I have job security in this imperfect world.’
Scarpetta and her husband, FBI agent Benton Wesley, have a set dinner date on the first Wednesday of every month, when they can both make it. But this Wednesday, as is the life they lead, they both receive simultaneous telephone calls which results in both leaving the restaurant and dealing with what they assume are two different incidents.
Scarpetta’s call is from her old pal Pete Marino. A body has been found…
And so begins a series of events that reopens an old but persistent thorn in Scarpetta’s side.
The body of twenty-six-year-old Elisa Vandersteel is found in a wooded area close to Cambridge. Her death is unexplained and the marks on her body reveal that something more sinister may be afoot.
In the meantime, Lucy, Scarpetta’s niece, is on the trail of a cyberbully, Tailend Charlie, who is sending threatening emails with very personal information to Scarpetta. Lucy is a bit of enigma in my eyes. ‘Failure is Lucy’s Kryptonite. She can’t endure it.’ Her drive, her passion and her loyalty to her aunt is exceptional. Lucy carries many scars and is driven by a past that continues to follow her. Lucy has a persistent feeling that something is not right with the coincidental nature of many of these occurrences. With Benton on her side, Lucy looks to protect Scarpetta against a threat that no one seems capable of getting a grip on.
For me CHAOS is a book that delves more into the personal relationships that Scarpetta has in her life.
We get a back story from her younger days in training as a pathologist. We get to read about the estranged relationship Scarpetta has with her sister Dorothy. Scarpetta’s relationship with her mother, her deceased father, her husband, her colleagues are all explored.
CHAOS is a book about a psychopath reeking vengeance but more so, I think, CHAOS humanizes Scarpetta. It’s as though a layer of her rock hard shell has been revealed. You almost get a sense from the book that Dr Kay Scarpetta is winding down a little…but just when you thought Scarpetta might be packing up her boots, Patricia Cornwell throws a very BIG curveball into the mix..
CHAOS moves at a different speed. There is a strong sense of discovering who Scarpetta is at this stage in her life and Patricia Cornwell has left the reader in no doubt that Dr. Kay Scarpetta will be back…..
To purchase a copy for yourself please click Here
About the Author:
Patricia Cornwell is recognized as one of the world’s top bestselling crime authors with novels translated into thirty-six languages in more than 120 countries.
Her novels have won numerous prestigious awards including the Edgar, Creasey, Anthony, Macavity, and the French Prix du Roman d’Aventure prize.
Beyond the Scarpetta series, Patricia has written a definitive book about Jack the Ripper and a biography and has created two more fiction series among others.
Cornwell, a licensed helicopter pilot and scuba diver, actively researches the cutting-edge forensic technologies that inform her work. She was born in Miami, grew up in Montreat, NC, and now lives and works in Boston.