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Scarpetta Factor, The

by Patricia Cornwell
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Product Details

  • Publisher: Putnam Adult
  • Publishing date: 20/10/2009
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9780399156397
  • ISBN: 0399156399


Patricia Cornwell and James Patterson: Author One-on-One
In this Amazon exclusive, we brought together blockbuster authors Patricia Cornwell and James Patterson and asked them to interview each other. Find out what two of the top authors of their genres have to say about their characters, writing process, and more.

James Patterson is one of the bestselling writers of all time, with more than 170 million copies of his books sold worldwide. He is the author of two of the most popular detective series of the past decade, featuring Alex Cross and the Women's Murder Club, and he also writes nonfiction and The Maximum Ride series for young readers. Read on to see James Patterson's questions for Patricia Cornwell, or turn the tables to see what Cornwell asked Patterson.

James Patterson Patterson: Here's a chance to say all the great things the critics would about The Scarpetta Factor, if there were any newspapers left that still reviewed books. Or, as they say in the TV interviews: Tell us about this one, Patricia.

Cornwell: As was true in the last book (Scarpetta), the new one is set in New York City, and it begins with Kay Scarpetta working on the autopsy of a young woman who presumably was murdered the night before in Central Park. While the apparent circumstances of the violent crime say one thing, the body is telling Scarpetta a very different and incredibly disturbing story that causes the prosecutor, the police, other officials, and even Scarpetta's friends and colleagues, to wonder if she's making mistakes or has begun to believe her own legend. While others are questioning and criticizing her, she begins to doubt herself and her decision to be the senior forensic analyst for CNN—an exposure that possibly leads to her BlackBerry disappearing and a suspicious package being left for her at her apartment building. As the intrigue unfolds, the past is no longer past, and she is soon faced with an old nemesis who threatens to be her final undoing.

Patterson: This book is set in New York again—what do you like about the Big City? What don't you like?

: Certainly New York City is the ultimate Big City. By placing Scarpetta in the midst of NYC within its medical examiner's office, I've positioned her on an international stage where anything can and does happen. The machinery is huge (NYPD and the FBI field office, for example), yet the private lives of the characters remain intimate and small. Not only is this a big story about a big-city case that captivates the world, it's also a very close look at the characters and who and what they are to one another in contemporary times. In terms of what I like and don't like about NYC? The only thing I don't like about it is driving there.

Patterson: I often get asked what I have in common with Alex Cross. What would you say you have in common with Kay Scarpetta?

Cornwell: Scarpetta and I share the same values and sensibilities. We approach cases the same way (which should be rather obvious, since I work the cases by taking on her persona). Beyond that, there are many differences. I'm not Catholic or Italian or married to Benton Wesley. I'm not a forensic pathologist with a law degree. I don't have her emotional discipline or inhibitions, nor do I have her professional dazzle. (I always remind people I was an English major who started working at age eleven, first as a babysitter, then in food service!) I don't have Scarpetta's pedigree. But then, she isn't a writer, unless she's writing professional journal articles or autopsy reports.

: What's your routine like when it comes to writing? Do you do write every day? On the road? Do you need vacations from your writing?

: I wish I had more of a routine. I begin each book with research that continues up to the very end of the process. But gradually, as I approach the deadline, I sink deeper into seclusion until eventually I don’t even answer e-mails or the phone anymore (unless it's my partner, Staci). I just write morning, noon, and night. The pulling together and completion of a novel is so intense, I'm almost living out of body by the time I'm done. It's the most wonderful and miserable experience imaginable. I would love a vacation but never seem to have time, and I doubt I'd know what to do if you made me "do nothing." In fact, Staci and I have a strange habit of going to foreign lands and visiting their police departments and morgues instead of just hanging out at the beach. I don't write every day because I do so much research, and currently, I have many other responsibilities that keep me busier than ever (filming, involvement with forensic institutes—just the business of life, for example).

: What's the best feedback you've had from a reader? Or—what was the best piece of writing advice you've had?

: Frankly, the best feedback was when a reader complained some years ago that he wasn’t sure I liked my characters anymore. And I thought about this and realized I wasn’t sure I did, either. A horrible thing to realize. It was because the series had gone on for so long that it was time to reinvent the characters and their relationships with one another and the world they inhabit. I think this remake is most apparent in the last book, Scarpetta, and I am on a wonderful and invigorating new course that is even more evident in the new one, The Scarpetta Factor.

: Bonus question: How do you feel about the Hollywood adaptations of your work? Don't be afraid—let it all hang out.

: In the past, very disappointed, because the projects went nowhere. Now, so far so good. The first films (Lifetime movies of At Risk and The Front, which are non-Scarpetta novellas) air this spring. I had a magnificent experience from beginning to end with the producers, actors—everyone. It's way too early to talk about the 20th Century Fox project with Angelina Jolie, although who wouldn't be excited about her?

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  • One hundred words about a sub-par series entry
    From Amazon

    Main characters who are once again sniping at one another and a dull, overly convoluted plot made "The Scarpetta Factor" score only a mediocre rating in the enjoyment factor for this reader. Unlike many, I usually don't mind the unlikable nature of most of Ms. Cornwell's cast, finding it refreshing in a sea of bouncy mystery series characters. However, after being teased in the previous installment with the possibility of Scarpetta, Lucy, Benton, Marino, etc. finally getting along, I was disappointed that the grumpiness is back in full force, with the exception of a contrived Christmas scene at the end.

  • bad!
    From Amazon

    I was a big Cornwell fan for a long time. I love her earliest books, but I agree with everything everyone has said here, and I only read a couple of pages of comments. This book was agonizingly long and way too technoheavy and more of the same old same old with everyone's emotional states. I don't understand why Cornwell insists on keeping all her main characters suicidally unhappy forever, especially Lucy. Lucy's wailing and feeling above the law and having had BILLIONS of dollars...whatever! She isn't even close to being a real person or able to have real feelings. Yes, her mother is a tool, but Lucy has been loved to death by Kay and Marino always.. . apparently that counts for nothing with Lucy. I am surprised Marino hasn't jumped off a bridge by now, especially with spending his life around the other three gloomy tunes. I think that Kay and Benton are kidding themselves if they think they are happy, since they clearly aren't, which I think is kind of payback. Both Benton and Kay were low class in cheating on Benton's wife. Let's get back to plot driven books about REAL people and solving real crimes, and in first person? No more werewolves and endless techno descriptions! I also do not know, after reading a number of references to it, WHAT was the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad thing that Agee did to Benton in the hotel room? That is another thing that makes me nuts, constant references to things that are never explained. I read only recently about the attack on Kay and Marino would NEVER do such a thing.

  • Cold story and unsympathetic characters
    From Amazon

    I've been a huge fan of the Kay Scarpetta books. I bought them all and reread them regularly. The Scarpetta Factor is a major disappointment. If I had to use one description, I would use the word 'cold'. It was a cold book. The story was not interesting, no interesting medical facts and the characters were cold. They all had issues with each other, which they kept to themselves and I realized I don't like them anymore. Not Kay Scarpetta, not my favorite Lucy and certainly not Benton. They were like robots. Twice I decided to stop reading, but I felt I owed it to the author to give the book another chance. But it didn't improve. At the end of the book I couldn't have cared less if one of the main characters would have dropped dead. I won t be buying a Scarpetta book ever again, unless I'm absolutely positive it's like the thrilling books Cornwell wrote years ago. I'm not only disappointed, I feel like Cornwell abandoned her fans and couldn't be bothered anymore.

  • No, not again!
    From Amazon

    What is up with Patricia Cornwell? She redeemed herself with her last book "Scarpetta". This book was awful. She argues with Benton about his "disappearance" and his "return" from previous books. Okay, get over it. Can't they have a new drama? Kay seems she has reverted back to bitter ways and now she is a sellout. Michael Baden she isn't. Fancy cars and penthouses now. She has come a long way from Richmond. I wish she would go back. Get off CNN and get back to the morgue. I think her characters Scarpetta, Benton, Lucy and Marino need to ride off into the sunset! I want Kay Scarpetta, medical examiner. Not Kay Scarpetta, media star! Kay Scarpetta is such an addictive drug for me! I wish I could shake her. Still looking forward to November 2010 Port Mortuary (A Scarpetta Novel)

  • $14.99 for ebook ... Seriously?
    From Amazon

    Price set by publisher .... Are they NOT reading the reviews? Guess not. Very sad. The ONE star is a gift.

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