By their very nature, crime novels can be engrossing reading material. The surrealism of cold blooded murder and elusiveness of the perpetrators who seem to go about with absolute impunity always captures the true fan of the genre. Crime novels by Patricia Cornwell are completely engrossing. Her special gift for presenting graphic details of murder from her unique point of view consistently guarantees success.
From Potter’s Field brings crime fighting consultant forensic pathologist Kay Scarpetta up against the ghastly doings of her old nemesis, Temple Brooks Gault.
The story begins when a female body, naked and with a gaping gunshot wound to the head is found on a frosty Christmas morning. The fact that it is propped against a fountain in a remote part of Central Park and has some trade mark incisions made to the skin suggests a familiar modus operandi.
Its not long before Doctor Scarpetta is called in to assist the overworked and under motivated New York medical examiners office. Clues start turning up, Scarpetta starts questioning and second guessing the techniques used by the local pathologists, and she soon identifies a profile of the killer.
Like all Cornwell crime novels, the dead bodies of the victims each tell their own silent story, and the pieces come together in reverse. As Scarpetta leads the police closer to the killer, she finds herself one step ahead of them and as usual she ends up being nearer to the killer than she should be.
This is a good story and really takes off with a thrilling and unnerving game of cat and mouse which is played out in the ghostly depths of the New York subway, a lexicon of tunnels and service passage ways.
From Potter’s Field is a dark tale with sinister and disturbing undertones that leave the reader wondering how New York, with its multi million population, can become such a desolate and foreboding place.