Massachusetts Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta has just returned from working one of the worst mass murders in U.S. history when she’s awakened at an early hour by Detective Pete Marino.
A body, oddly draped in an unusual cloth, has just been discovered inside the sheltered gates of MIT and it’s suspected the identity is that of missing computer engineer Gail Shipton, last seen the night before at a trendy Cambridge bar. It appears she’s been murdered, mere weeks before the trial of her $100 million lawsuit against her former financial managers, and Scarpetta doubts it’s a coincidence. She also fears the case may have a connection with her computer genius niece, Lucy.
At a glance there is no sign of what killed Gail Shipton, but she’s covered with a fine dust that under ultraviolet light fluoresces brilliantly in three vivid colors, what Scarpetta calls a mineral fingerprint. Clearly the body has been posed with chilling premeditation that is symbolic and meant to shock, and Scarpetta has reason to worry that the person responsible is the Capital Murderer, whose most recent sexual homicides have terrorized Washington, D.C. Stunningly, Scarpetta will discover that her FBI profiler husband, Benton Wesley, is convinced that certain people in the government, including his boss, don’t want the killer caught.
In Dust, Scarpetta and her colleagues are up against a force far more sinister than a sexual predator who fits the criminal classification of a “spectacle killer.” The murder of Gail Shipton soon leads deep into the dark world of designer drugs, drone technology, organized crime, and shocking corruption at the highest levels.
With unparalleled high-tension suspense and the latest in forensic technology, Patricia Cornwell once again proves her exceptional ability to surprise—and to thrill.
This is my first time reading a novel my Patricia Cornwell and I was excited because I’d heard great things about the Kay Scarpetta series. Unfortunately, this book was a let down for me.
The characters are all well established, have a history with each other, and a pattern of behaviour, which is fine. Old tensions and rivalries are brought in quite a bit.
This novel takes place over the course of one day and yet there is very little actual action. Scarpetta spends a lot of time going over things in her head, so much time that things get very repetitive. And I mean really repetitive. I almost didn’t make it through the book. She explains old rivalries between the characters several times, she looks at the evidence, figures it out, talks about it, explains it, then thinks about it again.
And, I have to say, that it bugged me that Scarpetta was hungry all the time but barely ever ate. And that they were sometimes in a hurry, but it would take two chapters of thoughts and contemplation before they actually left the room.
Right from the start, Scarpetta’s husband and FBI profiler, Benton, seems to know there’s a cover up and who’s doing it and much of the rest of the book is finding ways to use the evidence against him.
It is obvious that the author knows a lot about forensic science and all of the techniques and gadgets and that was interesting, however, the story was so slow and repetitive that author knowledge couldn’t compensate.
Today I am happy to have author D.R. Shoultz on my blog.
Hello D.R. Can you describe yourself in a few sentences.
I grew up in a small, Midwestern town, the son of a self-employed home builder. I was a better than average student and an athlete in high school, but quickly became a small fish in a big pond at college. After graduating with degrees in education and mathematics, I spent 32 years in corporate America where I traveled the world and uprooted my wife, son and daughter eight times. Shortly after retirement, I lost my beautiful wife of 33 years in a traffic accident. I spent the next several years finding myself. After a long-distance relationship, I married Claudia in 2012, who not only became my wife, she became my writing partner and editor. We live in the Blue Ridge Mountains with our rescue dog, Milo. Our interests include reading, writing, hiking with Milo, golfing, drinking wine at sunset, and spending time with friends and family. Read more →
What genre(s) do you write in? Who is your audience?
I write mystery/suspense. I couldn’t term them “police procedurals,” “cozies,” or “hard-boiled.” They are an amalgam of all these embedded in the narrative of a young couple’s evolving relationship.
My audience. Let me see. They are probably twenty-five or older (I hope not exclusively), they love to solve puzzles, identify with complex characters, and vicariously escape terrifying threats. They might even “take up residence” in Hawthorn County and make personal connections.
Tell us about your books. Is there one in particular you are promoting right now? What is it about?
My books comprise a series of stand-alone stories featuring Richard and Jill Carter, who have come to a small Ozark town to escape celebrity/notoriety stemming from their encounter with a serial killer in Michigan. Richard (now a rural deputy) is a former marine, haunted by guilt and suffering PTSD. Jill, dealing with PTSD of her own, is the “rock” of the family (their precocious daughter Mirabelle is the third member).
The latest book is “The Daughter.” Shara McGregor has it all: brains, beauty, and a well-connected family friend (former Senator Willis Sparkes), who intends to see to it that she gets into a prestigious law school. When Shara, the town’s “golden girl,” disappears on her way to visit a university, only her blood-stained car and discarded phone are discovered. Suspects abound, including an ex-boyfriend, several would-be boyfriends, a boss who can’t keep his hands to himself, and the family friend who continually inserts himself into the investigation. Imagining his own daughter at Shara’s age, Richard becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl.