Renee at It’s Book Talk began Throwback Thursday as a way to share some old favourites or books that you’re finally getting around to reading that were published months or years ago.
This is my first Throwback Thursday and I’m sharing an ‘old favourite’: the first book to pop into my head when I read about Throwback Thursday, because I’ve mentioned or recommended it two or three times already this week in various places. It is the first book that got me into the ‘dark side’ of crime fiction, following many years of working my way through Agatha Christie’s back catalogue.
It is Postmortem by Patricia Cornwell, the first in the mighty Kay Scarpetta series.
A serial killer is on the loose in Richmond, Virginia. Three women have died, brutalised and strangled in their own bedroom. There is no pattern: the killer appears to strike at random – but always early on Saturday mornings. So when Dr Kay Scarpetta, chief medical officer, is awakened at 2.33 am, she knows the news is bad: there is a fourth victim. And she fears now for those that will follow unless she can dig up new forensic evidence to aid the police. But not everyone is pleased to see a woman in this powerful job. Someone may even want to ruin her career and reputation …
This is a brilliant book: it is dark, clever, creepy and really well written and researched. I have read Postmortem and the other early books in the series at least three times each and they certainly stand up to repetition.
The whole Kay Scarpetta series is worth investigating but this first book plus books four, five and six are particular highlights for me: Postmortem, Cruel & Unusual, The Body Farm and From Potter’s Field. Each one is thrilling, fascinating and disturbing in equal measure.
I haven’t yet read the more recent Kay Scarpetta books but as I said here, Patricia Cornwell’s series is one of those that I want to get back into. But I don’t think I could just re-start in the middle – I would have to go back at start at the beginning!
I look forward to seeing what Kay (sorry, Dr Scarpetta) has been up to since I last met her.