Patricia Cornwell Books: Top 18 Must Read Books

Patricia Cornwell Books: Patricia Cornwell is an American crime writer. She is known for her best-selling novels featuring medical examiner Kay Scarpetta, of which the first was inspired by a series of sensational murders in Richmond, Virginia, where most of the stories are set

Patricia Cornwell Books

Postmortem by Patricia Daniels Cornwell

Discover the “dazzling…fascinating” (Los Angeles Times) novel that launched the New York Times bestselling Kay Scarpetta series from #1 bestselling crime writer Patricia Cornwell.

Under cover of night in Richmond, Virginia, a monster strikes, leaving a gruesome trail of stranglings that has paralyzed the city. Medical examiner Kay Scarpetta suspects the worst: a deliberate campaign by a brilliant serial killer whose signature offers precious few clues. With an unerring eye, she calls on the latest advances in forensic research to unmask the madman. But this investigation will test Kay like no other, because it’s being sabotaged from within—and someone wants her dead.

The Scarpetta Collection Volume I: Postmortem and Body of Evidence (Kay Scarpetta) by Patricia Cornwell

Postmortem
A serial killer is on the loose in Richmond, Virginia. Three women have died, brutalized and strangled in their own bedrooms. There is little pattern: the killer appears to strike at random — but always early on Saturday mornings.
When Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta is awakened at 2:33 A.M., she knows the news is bad: there is a fourth victim, and she fears now for those who may follow unless she finds the forensic evidence that can break the case.
But not everyone wants her help. Not everyone is pleased to see a woman in this powerful job. Someone may even want to ruin her career and reputation before she can find the killer.

Spin (Captain Chase) Hardcover by Patricia Cornwell

In the aftermath of a NASA rocket launch gone terribly wrong, Captain Calli Chase comes face-to-face with her missing twin sister—as well as the startling truth of who they really are. Now, a top secret program put in motion years ago has spun out of control, and only Calli can redirect its course.

Aided by cutting-edge technologies, the NASA investigator and scientist turned Space Force pilot sets out on a frantic search for the missing link between the sabotaged rocket launch and her predetermined destiny…a search that someone else seems very interested in stopping.

From NASA to the Chase family farm, to the White House to distant orbits of space, Calli plays a high-stakes game of hide-and-seek with a cunning and ruthless adversary. One wrong move will unleash cataclysmic consequences reaching far beyond the boundaries of Earth.

Cruel & Unusual by Patricia Cornwell

“Killing me won’t kill the beast” are the last words of rapist-murderer Ronnie Joe Waddell, written four days before his execution. But they can’t explain how Dr. Kay Scarpetta finds Waddell’s fingerprints on another crime scene — after she’d performed his autopsy. If this is some sort of game, Scarpetta seems to be the target. And if the next victim is someone she knows, the punishment will be cruel and unusual..

Scarpetta by Patricia Cornwell

International publishing sensation Patricia Cornwell’s legion of readers will welcome this omnibus edition of her third and fourth megabestselling Kay Scarpetta novels, All That Remains and Cruel & Unusual. These two novels, presented here complete and unabridged, helped to confirm Patricia Cornwell’s status as queen of the forensic thriller and one of the world’s top bestselling authors.

The Body Farm by Patricia Cornwell

Little Emily Steiner left a church meeting late one afternoon and strolled toward home along a lakeside path; a week later, her nude body was discovered, bound in blaze-orange duct tape. Called by the North Carolina authorities, forensic pathologist Kay Scarpetta recognizes similarities to the gruesome work of a serial killer who has long eluded the FBI But as she tries to make sense of the evidence, she is left with questions that lead her to the Body Farm, a little known research facility in Tennessee where, with the help of some grisly experiments, she might discover the answer.

It is Scarpetta alone who can interpret the forensic hieroglyphics that eventually reveal a solution to the case as staggering as it is horrifying. But she must also endeavor to help her niece, Lucy, who is embroiled in controversy at Quantico. And Scarpetta, too, is vulnerable, as she opens herself to the first physical and emotional bond she has felt in far too long a time. Tenacious and brilliant, tender and gentle, this is Scarpetta even more realized and poignant than we’ve seen her before—in a stunning achievement from a bestselling author at the peak of her powers.

Unnatural Exposure by Patricia Cornwell

Filled with tension and continual surprises, Unnatural Exposure is a thrilling chapter in Virginia Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta’s life, and a triumph for #1 New York Times best-selling author Patricia Cornwell.

The body of an elderly woman is found dismembered in a Virginia landfill. Scarpetta initially believes the clues mirror that of a serial killer she’s tracked before. But upon further investigation, she discovers puzzling pox-like erruptions on the woman’s body that, perhaps, point in another direction.

When the killer contacts her via e-mail, Scarpetta enlists the aid of her computer-savvy niece, Lucy, to help track this monster through cyberspace. Learning that the Virginia victim was exposed to a high-tech virus that might unleash an epidemic, Scarpetta realizes she’s dealing with a sophisticated mind.

All That Remains by Patricia Cornwell

#1 bestselling author Patricia Cornwell returns to the chilling world of gutsy medical examiner Kay Scarpetta for the third installment of this classic suspense fiction series.

In Richmond, Virginia, young lovers are dying. So far, four couples in the area have disappeared, only to be found months later as mutilated corpses. When the daughter of the president’s newest drug czar vanishes along with her boyfriend, Dr. Kay Scarpetta knows time is short. Following a macabre trail of evidence that ties the present homicides to a grisly crime in the past, Kay must draw upon her own personal resources to track down a murderer who is as skilled at eliminating clues as Kay is at finding them…

Cause of Death (Kay Scarpetta) by Patricia Cornwell

Dr. Kay Scarpetta plunges into the murky depths of a ship graveyard to recover the very human remains of Ted Eddings, an investigative reporter. Together with her niece Lucy and police captain Pete Marino, Scarpetta will follow the scents of death and violence to the heart of sinister darkness.

Chaos: A Scarpetta Novel (Kay Scarpetta Mysteries) by Patricia Cornwell

On a late summer evening in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Dr. Kay Scarpetta and her investigative partner, Pete Marino, respond to a call about a dead bicyclist near the Kennedy School of Government. It appears that a young woman has been attacked with almost superhuman force.

Even before Scarpetta’s headquarters has been officially notified about the case, Marino and Scarpetta’s FBI agent husband, Benton Wesley, receive suspicious calls, allegedly from someone at Interpol. But it makes no sense. Why would the elite international police agency know about the case or be interested? It soon becomes apparent that an onslaught of harassment might be the work of an anonymous cyberbully named Tailend Charlie, who has been sending cryptic communications to Scarpetta for over a week.

Depraved Heart: A Scarpetta Novel (Kay Scarpetta) by Patricia Cornwell

Dr. Kay Scarpetta is working a suspicious death scene in Cambridge, Massachusetts when an emergency alert sounds on her phone. A video link lands in her text messages and seems to be from her computer genius niece Lucy. But how can it be? It’s clearly a surveillance film of Lucy taken almost twenty years ago.

As Scarpetta watches she begins to learn frightening secrets about her niece, whom she has loved and raised like a daughter. That film clip and then others sent soon after raise dangerous legal implications that increasingly isolate Scarpetta and leave her confused, worried, and not knowing where to turn. She doesn’t know whom she can tell—not her FBI husband Benton Wesley or her investigative partner Pete Marino. Not even Lucy.

The Bone Bed: Scarpetta (Book 20) by Patricia Cornwell

A woman has vanished while digging a dinosaur bone bed in the remote wilderness of Canada. Somehow, the only evidence has made its way to the inbox of Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta, over two thousand miles away in Boston. She has no idea why.
 
But as events unfold with alarming speed, Scarpetta begins to suspect that the paleontologist’s disappearance is connected to a series of crimes much closer to home: a gruesome murder, inexplicable tortures, and trace evidence from the last living creatures of the dinosaur age.
 
When she turns to those around her, Scarpetta finds that the danger and suspicion have penetrated even her closest circles. Her niece Lucy speaks in riddles. Her lead investigator, Pete Marino, and FBI forensic psychologist and husband, Benton Wesley, have secrets of their own. Feeling alone and betrayed, Scarpetta is tempted by someone from her past as she tracks a killer both cunning and cruel.

Dust (Scarpetta) by Patricia Cornwell


A body, oddly draped in an unusual cloth, has just been discovered inside the sheltered gates of MIT, and it’s suspected the identity is that of missing computer engineering grad student Gail Shipton, last seen the night before at a trendy Cambridge bar. It appears she’s been murdered, mere weeks before the trial in her $100 million lawsuit against her former financial manager, and Massachusetts Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta doubts it’s a coincidence. She also fears the case may have a connection with her computer genius niece, Lucy.

In Dust, Scarpetta and her colleagues are up against a force far more sinister than a sexual predator who fits the criminal classification of a “spectacle killer.” The murder of Gail Shipton soon leads deep into the dark world of designer drugs, drone technology, organized crime, and shocking corruption at the highest levels.

Black Notice: Scarpetta (Book 10) by Patricia Cornwell

Remains were all that was left of the stowaway. He arrived in Richmond’s Deep Water Terminal—the ghastly cargo of a ship from Belgium. The decomposed body gives Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta no clues to its identity—or the cause of death. But an odd tattoo soon leads her on an international search to Interpol’s headquarters in Lyon, France—and towards a confrontation with one of the most savage killers of her career…

Point of Origin: Scarpetta (Book 9) by Patricia Cornwell

The devastating fire tore through the horse farm, destroying everything it touched. Picking through the wreckage, Dr. Kay Scarpetta uncovers human remains—the work of an audacious and wily killer who uses fire to mask his brutal murders. And when Scarpetta learns that her old nemesis, Carrie Grethen, has escaped from a hospital for the criminally insane and is somehow involved, the investigation becomes personal. Tragedy strikes close to home. And Scarpetta must match Grethen’s every move with one of her own to douse the inferno of evil that threatens everyone around her…

Flesh and Blood: A Scarpetta Novel (Kay Scarpetta Series) by Patricia Cornwell

It’s Dr. Kay Scarpetta’s birthday, and she’s about to head to Miami for a vacation with Benton Wesley, her FBI profiler husband, when she notices seven pennies on a wall behind their Cambridge house. Is this a kids’ game? If so, why are all of the coins dated 1981 and so shiny they could be newly minted? Her cellphone rings, and Detective Pete Marino tells her there’s been a homicide five minutes away. A high school music teacher has been shot with uncanny precision as he unloaded groceries from his car. No one has heard or seen a thing.

Red Mist: Scarpetta (Book 19) by Patricia Cornwell

On her quest to find out exactly what happened to her former deputy chief, Jack Fielding, murdered six months before, Scarpetta drives to the Georgia Prison for Women to meet a convicted sex offender and the mother of a vicious and diabolically brilliant killer. Against the advice of her FBI criminal intelligence agent husband, Benton Wesley, Scarpetta is determined to hear this woman out.

Scarpetta has both personal and professional reasons to learn more about a string of grisly killings: the murder of a Savannah family years earlier, a young woman on death row, and then other inexplicable deaths that begin to occur at a breathtaking pace. Driven by inner forces, Scarpetta discovers connections that compel her to conclude that what she thought ended with Fielding’s death and an attempt on her own life is only the beginning of something far more destructive: a terrifying terrain of conspiracy and potential terrorism on an international scale.

Port Mortuary (Kay Scarpetta, #18) by Patricia Cornwell

Port Mortuary, the title of Patricia Cornwell’s 18th Scarpetta novel, is literally a port for the dead. In this fast-paced story, a treacherous path from Scarpetta’s past merges with the high-tech highway she now finds herself on. We travel back to the beginning of her professional career, when she accepted a scholarship from the air force to pay off her medical school debt. Now, more than 20 years and many career successes later, her secret military ties have drawn her to Dover Air Force Base, where she has been immersed in a training fellowship.  

As the chief of the new Cambridge Forensic Center in Massachusetts, a joint venture of the state and federal governments, MIT, and Harvard, Scarpetta is confronted with a case that could shut down her new facility and ruin her personally and professionally.