I've long been a fan of the Kay Scarpetta book series, written by Patricia Cornwell. To date, I'm only missing the last two novels, but I hope to be getting them soon (hint, hint, Heather!). In preparation, I've started reading the whole series over, from Postmortem all the way through. At the moment, incidentally, I'm rereading Black Notice. I think I like these books so much because, once upon a time, becoming a forensic pathologist was my dream job. I love reading about what goes on in Kay's morgue. There are lots of other great reasons to read the Kay Scarpetta book series, though, and I've decided to share them with you!
1. It's Better than CSI
That's sort of a tongue-in-cheek reason, but in the main, it's true. If you enjoy shows like CSI (and all its variations), Criminal Minds, and even the reality shows based around medicine, crime, pathology, and so on, then you'll love the Kay Scarpetta book series. Patricia Cornwell delves into exquisite detail when she describes many of the tests and procedures, so you get a really good idea about what's being done to find trace evidence, test DNA, and profile criminals.
2. Fabulous FBI Intrigues
Speaking of which, the FBI intrigues are very interesting as well. Actually, you learn about the FBI, ATF, and DEA at different times during the series. You'll hear about inter-agency feds, you'll see when and how they work together, and you'll learn much more about their particular specialties. If you've ever been interested in law enforcement, whether it's on a local or federal level, the books will definitely pull you in quickly.
3. It's LGBT Friendly
I love reading books that are LGBT friendly, and these certainly are. Moreover, they're realistic. The characters don't always react well to the revelation of someone's sexuality, at least not initially, but you get to see friends and family members come to terms with it. Much of it is amazingly, poignantly realistic, and I enjoy that. Patricia Cornwell herself is a lesbian, and I think she brings a really personal touch to her LGBT characters.
4. Powerful Female Characters
With her rich job history and her personality, she also brings a personal touch to most of the female characters. Even the bad women are strong and independent, but no one beats Kay Scarpetta herself, or her genius niece Lucy. You won't find any damsels in distress in these novels. The main female characters are strong, fiercely independent, and powerful in the ways that really care.
5. Interesting and Intriguing Crime Plots
The crimes and murder mysteries in these books always grab my attention. You'll read about biological warfare, pyromania, cyber crimes, and so much more. No plot is simply thrown together, either. You can tell that Cornwell reads up on past cases and the latest technologies to bring even her worst villains to life.
6. Meaningful Story Arcs
However, not everything is blood and gore. There are very meaningful, touching story arcs between the characters. Death and loss play enormous parts in the novels, but so do love, friendship, and acceptance. Watching the characters grow is always a pleasure, even if it isn't always realistic. I don't think Kay is ever going to turn 60.
7. Benton Wesley
Last but not least, read these books for Benton Wesley. I love Benton; every time I see him in a book, I picture a cross between Anderson Cooper and Dr. Drew. However, he's also a beautifully drawn character, with an economy of words and emotions that make him a joy to read. Also, there's just something sexy about this particular profiler!
As you can see, if murder mysteries, science thrillers, and things of that nature intrigue you, then you'll probably like the Kay Scarpetta book series too. Sometimes Patricia Cornwell's prose is a little awkward and sometimes Kay comes off as arrogant (but then, she is). However, for me, those little quirks don't take away from the story. Some readers complain that some of the books are slow, but if you love knowing about the science behind the science, so to speak, I think you'll enjoy those parts as much as I do. Do you enjoy Kay Scarpetta? Let me know, too, if you'd like to see a movie based on the novels!