Depraved Heart by Patricia Cornwell combines suspense
with modern day forensics to make a riveting story. This is
the 25th anniversary of the hugely popular Dr. Kay Scarpetta
series. People forget that Cornwell was on the forefront,
one of the people most credited for launching the interest
in forensic research, about a decade before the CSI TV Show.
Cornwell noted, "I would say it is very interesting
to have a series out this long. You start to create a biography
of the character. With each new book you want to tell readers
something about Scarpetta that defines her better. You start
creating scenes that happened long before you even started
the series, such as what happened to her when she was a little
girl. Slowly but surely I am flushing her personal side out.
With each book we get to know her better. She has matured
and is now more comfortable with herself. She was a woman
in a man's world and had to prove herself a lot in the earlier
books. Currently, she has more humor and has become more philosophical."
Having worked in a Medical Examiner's office, Cornwell is
able to create an informative and realistic story. In her
latest novel she not only explores a murder, but also examines
government overreach, the influence of technology, and data
fiction. In today's world the term coined by the author, data
fiction, examines how digital data including texts, posts,
images, and videos can generate a new fictional reality, similar
to Star Trek's Holograms.
Readers have heard of the "CSI effect," and Cornwell
noted she feels a little guilty because "I made that
world as accessible as I did with the advent of the Scarpetta
series it opened the door for the CSI Shows that caused the
CSI effect. Many times it is harmful to law enforcement. For
example, five or six years ago while riding with a Florida
crime scene investigator when we got there the victim [NOTE:
Logical impossibility. Something's missing.] had already collected
and bagged the evidence. This one woman told me, 'I watched
the shows on TV and know fingerprints don't matter anymore.'
I thought to myself, 'I hope I am not a little bit to blame.'"
This psychological thriller ramps up the suspense from the
very first page. The plot starts two months after the last
book, Flesh and Blood, ended. Dr. Kay Scarpetta determines
that the body found in a house is not an accidental death,
but appears more like a murder. While working this investigation
she receives a mysterious text, supposedly from the cell of
her niece, Lucy Farinelli, with a video link showing Lucy's
FBI dorm room almost twenty years earlier. Through these videos
readers learn more about Lucy's backstory, her time at the
FBI Academy. Because the links are sent by Carrie Grethen,
Dr. Kay's nemesis, and they contain potentially incriminating
material, Scarpetta races to Lucy's house to get answers,
only to find more questions. The FBI is there, with a search
and seizure order, turning Lucy and Dr. Kay's life upside
down. It is up to Kay to find answers before Lucy is arrested.
A powerful quote in the book shows how people are dependent
on technology, but that it sometimes can be used for devious
purposes, including taking away someone's privacy. The whole
essence of this story warns that every detail of a person's
life and business can be compromised, and that people will
lose the ability to communicate because of the fear of who
can be trusted. In the novel, Scarpetta comments, "Technology
made everything better for a while and now it seems life is
circling back around to the dark ages
I miss paper and
pen. I miss face-to-face conversations."
Although readers might want to read the previous book, after
a few pages into this book, Depraved Heart, they will
be mesmerized with the plot and captivating characters. The
story is full of twists and turns creating a page-turner that
the reader will not want to put down.
Reviews of other titles in this series
Last Precinct # 11
and Blood #22