Book Review: “Chaos” by Patricia Cornwell

This book was published in 2016, so it’s a new Scarpetta novel.  I’ve read one before and I liked it.  However, I wasn’t as pleased with this one.  It took eight chapters before much happened.  By then, I was ready to give up, but I gave it until chapter ten.  Events started happening, but slowly.

A young woman was murdered not far from where Dr. Scarpetta and her husband were having dinner.  As the medical examiner, she was called to the scene at the same time her husband received a call from his work.  He was an FBI profiler.  Dr. Scarpetta is picked up at the club where she’s dining by Detective Marino and taken to the crime scene.  On the way, the Detective tells her about a phone call he’s received from Interpol and they discuss the issue.  How did Interpol know of the crime before anyone else?  It didn’t make sense and they realize after arguing about it (for a chapter) that it was a hoax.  Once they get on the crime scene, they encounter a set of twins, aged thirteen or fourteen, who may have tampered with the evidence.  Another chapter or two or three is needed to clarify their involvement.  At that point, the crime scene command vehicle arrives and two technicians begin to tent the area to keep out the curious.  While they put up the tent (another couple of chapters), Dr. Scarpetta receives a visit from her niece, Lucy, who discusses a strange 911 call and other communication from a stalker.  A woman from Scarpetta’s past, Carrie Grethen, emerges to complicate and threaten her life.  Meanwhile, the cause of death is unusual and mystifying.

Once the story got going, it was interesting, but it moved along like molasses.  Then, it seemed like it was over too quickly.  In addition, the title didn’t seem to fit for me.  There wasn’t anything chaotic.  This one is for true Scarpetta fans.


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