Chaos - Patricia Cornwell


By Patricia Cornwell

  • Release Date: 2016-11-15
  • Genre: Mysteries & Thrillers
Score: 3.5
From 188 Ratings


#1 New York Times bestselling author Patricia Cornwell returns with the remarkable twenty-fourth thriller in her popular high-stakes series starring medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta.

In the quiet of twilight, on an early autumn day, twenty-six-year-old Elisa Vandersteel is killed while riding her bicycle along the Charles River. It appears she was struck by lightning—except the weather is perfectly clear with not a cloud in sight. Dr. Kay Scarpetta, the Cambridge Forensic Center’s director and chief, decides at the scene that this is no accidental Act of God.

Her investigation becomes complicated when she begins receiving a flurry of bizarre poems from an anonymous cyberbully who calls himself Tailend Charlie. Though subsequent lab results support Scarpetta’s conclusions, the threatening messages don’t stop. When the tenth poem arrives exactly twenty-four hours after Elisa’s death, Scarpetta begins to suspect the harasser is involved, and sounds the alarm to her investigative partner Pete Marino and her husband, FBI analyst Benton Wesley.

She also enlists the help of her niece, Lucy. But to Scarpetta’s surprise, tracking the slippery Tailend Charlie is nearly impossible, even for someone as brilliant as her niece. Also, Lucy can’t explain how this anonymous nemesis could have access to private information. To make matters worse, a venomous media is whipping the public into a frenzy, questioning the seasoned forensics chief’s judgment and "a quack cause of death on a par with spontaneous combustion."


  • Chaos (or... the lack thereof)

    By Negativenowhere
    As a longtime fan, I'm very sad to say that this was the worst novel in the Scarpetta series to date. After several books worth of buildup to bring back the old arch-nemesis Carrie, I was intrigued. Then this book drags along with a few hundred pages of predictable and disconnected events, with the majority of the actual plot and action literally taking place elsewhere - only to finish out the dramatic climax in just a few rushed pages, almost like an afterthought. Even the final "big plot twist" at the very end wasn't all that surprising. Lucy barely even makes an appearance throughout the entire book, which I found rather lame since this story is apparently the big finale to Carrie's "return from the dead". I've read quite a few very negative reviews of the past several Scarpetta novels, yet even when Cornwell made the regrettable switch from first person to third person narration awhile back, I still stuck around and gave her a chance. I was thrilled when she switched back to first person, and even though some of the the books that followed didn't quite measure up to her original style, there was at least a somewhat interesting and fairly suspenseful storyline. This is was the first Scarpetta book where I actually put it down several times to go do something else... not because I was busy or had to get some sleep, but because I was actually bored with the story! Hopefully next time around Cornwell will devote the time needed to develop a great story instead of rushing to publish a new book every year. She would do well to remember that quality is far more important than quantity.
  • Very Disappointing

    By Jason's Amy
    This book felt rushed, as if she put it out just for the sake of selling another Scarpetta book. I usually love these books, and this one centered around a single day with no character development or suspense. The final takedown of Carrie Gretchen was written in 3 pages. This is the first time I ever felt cheated by a story.
  • Slow, but I couldn't put it down

    By Goldenglove58
    While I love Carrie Grethen as the villain, I would love it if at some point Lucy and she duke it out. I man like world war 3 and one of them finally dies. This book was good, but predictable and maybe a bit of a stretch. Ending was pretty cool. Temple Gault lives on!!
  • Chaos. Liz32905

    By Liz32906
    Always the best of my top ten favorite authors! Always hungry for more.

    By vintage lotus
    I couldn't believe the ending...SHOCKER! As always Patricia Cornwell has me waiting for her next book! Just when you think it's over......
  • Chaos

    By Turvball
    I read everything from start to finish no matter how great or not. This will be the first of thousands of books I have quit, utterly boring.
  • Chaos

    By Xyzygy
    Another dud from Cornwell. Pass!
  • Chaos

    By Buffy71
    I just love all of her books. Can't wait for the next one !!!
  • Chaos

    By Jensing4u2
    Just finished the newest Patricia Cornwell book. Once again, she never fails to write a story that keeps the reader wanting more. I'm already looking forward to the next edition of Doctor Scarpetta & company's crime-solving mystery.
  • The worst

    By 15downthedrain
    My first book review: I gave up and quit reading just past page 200.