All That Remains by Patricia Cornwell

Title: All That Remains Author: Patricia Cornwell Published: August 17, 1992 Publisher: Scribner Acquired via: Library

So, I’m slowly but surely working my way down my ridiculously long TBR list and All That Remains by Patricia Cornwell is/was #2 on that list. Admittedly, I am a little late coming to the Kay Scarpetta series, with Depraved Heart, book #23 having just been published in October 2015; at the rate I’m going it will take me years just to get to this latest installment but I remain undaunted.

This crime fiction series follows Dr. Kay Scarpetta, the Chief Medical Examiner for the state of Virginia, in both her professional endeavors and personal and romantic entanglements. As an aside, the character was actually inspired by former Virginia Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Marcella Fierro and paved the way for a slew of TV shows and books based in the forensic sciences.

In All That Remains, the third book in the series, a serial killer is targeting young couples, abandoning their vehicles at rest areas and hiding their dead, mutilated bodies in remote wooded areas, only to be found months later, leaving no traceable clues. When the latest couple is identified as Deborah Harvey, the daughter of prominent politician Pat Harvey, and her boyfriend Fred Cheney, Dr. Scarpetta must try to unravel the mystery and find the link that connects these crimes. Hounded by the press and under the constant scrutiny and unrelenting pressure from various government agencies, inciting rumors of conspiracies and cover ups, she teams up with Detective Lieutenant Pete Marino and FBI Agent Benton Wesley to put to rest a case that has haunted her many years.

All That Remains is a solid, highly enjoyable crime fiction mystery. What it lacks in action and thrills, Patricia Cornwell makes up for in the detail she gives to developing the plotline, which is just brimming with fascinating scientific techniques (although considering this was written in 1992, some may be outdated by now) and procedures. Her characters are multidimensional, their interactions realistic and engaging. So often, in these types of novels, so much emphasis is given in solving the crime that the characters end up being cold and lacking any personality. In All That Remains, and similarly the preceding two books, Patricia Cornwell has found the perfect balance between her character’s investigations and their personal lives, creating at once an intricate, yet believable storyline.

Recommended to readers looking for a good, science rich mystery, with a strong and intelligent female protagonist. I’ve already ordered the next book, Cruel & Unusual, from the library and can’t wait to get started.

I give All That Remains 4/5 stars.


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