"Port Mortuary" book review

Port Mortuary (Kay Scarpetta Series #18)Port Mortuary by Patricia Cornwell
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

My advice to Patricia Cornwell: Less is more.

I could not get past page 235 in this book. I skipped ahead and read the end, because I wanted to find out what happened to the dog. I figured it out, not because I’m brilliant or anything, far from it, but this book was too predictable and WAY too long.

Honestly, if I had to read another page of Kay Scarpetta droning on and and about how she was gone too long from her lab and now it’s all going to hell and she’s sorry as all get out that she’s let everybody down, where the hell is Fielding, why did I hire Fielding again…

I wanted to scream.

I read the first Scarpetta book, Postmortem, in the summer of 1996 during my summer vacation from grad school (I’m an exceptionally late bloomer). I finished the dang book and had to find a Barnes & Noble bookstore, right away, so I could buy the next book in the series, Body of Evidence. My drooling appreciation for The Kay Scarpetta novels continued until Point of Origin, when I started to wonder if maybe Cornwell was pumping out books too fast. I think Scarpetta’s personal life became too dominant in the books. It was more about her personal angst and less about who whacked the corpse.

Cornwell had a winning combination in the early days: A workaholic, crime-solving medical examiner with a raunchy cop sidekick named Marino, a niece whom she loved (and who drove her crazy), and a sexy married FBI profiler complicating her life.

Add a well plotted story and you’ve got bestseller city.

I’m getting off track.

Port Mortuary is 496 boring pages long.

Cornwell’s dialogue is long-winded and overly dramatic.

I’m not sure “who done it,” and I don’t care, because Cornwell lost me on page 235 as Scarpetta and her husband are having an argument:

“I’m sorry you’re angry. I’m sorry you’ve come home to a situation that is upsetting. Your homecoming should have been joyful.”

“Joyful. What the hell is joyful?”

“A word. A theoretical concept. Like full disclosure.”


Sorry, I feel asleep while typing.

I could throw more quotes at you, but I don’t want you to fall asleep reading this. There’s a lot of dialogue like this, in the first few hundred pages.

I wanted Port Mortuary to be another Cornwell stunner of a ripping good tale.

Alas, it is not.

I’m no book reviewing expert, but I know what I like.

And I don’t like Port Mortuary.

And now I’m going to go sit in a tubful of bubbles and meditate away my sense of loss.

And then I’m going to pray, hard, that Patricia Cornwell is home slaving away at a Scarpetta story that will knock my socks off again. I hope Cornwell cuts back on the personal drama and focuses more on whodunit.

Remember, less is more.

View all my reviews

About boomergrl49

Mom, Grandma, retired social worker, blogger. I love reading fiction of all kinds, and I'm also addicted to television (Netflix, Hulu, Acorn, Amazon video).

Posted on June 24, 2011, in Goodreads, Patricia Cornwell, Port Mortuary. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. yes! spare words are best!

    Aloha from Honolulu,

    Comfort Spiral

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  2. I feel the same way. Too many authors, who have books under their belt must be paid by the number of words. The more words, the more money. I quit reading Scarpetta a long time ago. Patterson is the same way. Of course, he only has about 75 words in a chapter,and no story line. Gives me time to check out new authors! The new one by Follet is so big, I don't know if I'll even start it. I'm getting so old, I don't want huge books to read! LOL!

    Now my verbosity is overwhelming!


  3. It's so disappointing to not have a author thrill you anymore.

    I feel that way about James Patterson too Linda. I loved Alex Cross books, until I got the latest one. How many times is someone gonna try to kill his family? I didn't even try to read it. I took it back to the library.

    As much as I enjoy Morgan Freeman as an actor, he was not Alex Cross. He was Alex Cross's dad, maybe. So that ruined them too.


  4. Yes! Thanks for the review and the visit down to Southern Oregon. Our weather is similar, yes?


  5. Aloha,Cloudia!


  6. I got burned out on the Alex Cross books also, Kathy. And I couldn't see Morgan F as Dr. Cross either.


  7. I know what you mean about Ken Follet's books. I read The Pillars of the Earth. Then I bought World Without End, and haven't I haven't even started it yet! I get wrapped up in other books!


  8. Rosaria, we do have lots of weather in common 🙂


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