Cover image for Depraved heart : a Scarpetta novel
Depraved heart : a Scarpetta novel

A Scarpetta novel ;

Scarpetta series.
Depraved heart : a Scarpetta novel
First edition.
Publisher Info:
New York, NY : William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, [2015]
Physical Description:
466 pages ; 24 cm.
A Scarpetta novel ; [book 23]

Scarpetta series.
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.


Call Number
Material Type
FIC CORN New or Popular Adult Fiction Book

On Order



From the world's number one bestselling crime writer comes the haunting and irresistible new Dr. Kay Scarpetta novel--Depraved Heart

Depraved Heart: "Void of social duty and fatally bent on mischief."
--Mayes v. People, 806 III. 306 (1883)

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

As Scarpetta watches she comes to grips with frightening secrets about her niece, whom she loves like a daughter. That first clip and others sent soon after raise dangerous implications that increasingly isolate Scarpetta and leave her confused, alarmed, and not knowing where to turn. She doesn't know whom she can tell--not her FBI agent husband, Benton Wesley, or her investigative partner, Pete Marino. Not even Lucy.

Cornwell launches these unforgettable characters on an intensely psychological odyssey that includes the bizarre death of a Hollywood mogul's daughter, wreckage on the bottom of the sea in the Bermuda Triangle, a grisly gift left in the back of a crime scene truck, and videos from the past that threaten to destroy Scarpetta's entire world and everyone she loves. The diabolical presence and singularly "depraved heart" behind what unfolds seems obvious--but strangely, not to the FBI. Certainly that's the message they send when they start harassing Lucy and begin building a case that could send her to prison for the rest of her life.

In the latest novel in her bestselling series featuring medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta, Cornwell captivates readers again with the jolting twists, high-wire tension, and cutting-edge forensic detail for which she is renowned, proving yet again why she is the world's number one bestselling crime writer.

Author Notes

Patricia Cornwell was born in Miami, Florida on June 9, 1956. When she was nine years old, her mother tried to give her and her two brothers to evangelist Billy Graham and his wife to care for. For a while the children lived with missionaries since their mother was unable to care for them.

After graduating from Davidson College in 1979, she worked for The Charlotte Observer eventually covering the police beat and winning an investigative reporting award from the North Carolina Press Association for a series of articles on prostitution and crime in downtown Charlotte. Her award-winning biography of Ruth Bell Graham, the wife of Billy Graham, A Time for Remembering, was published in 1983. From 1984 to 1990, she worked as a technical writer and a computer analyst at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond, Virginia. While working for the medical examiner, she began to write novels. Although the award-winning novel Postmortem was initially rejected by seven different publishers, once it was published in 1990 it became the only novel ever to win the Edgar, Creasey, Anthony, and Macavity awards as well as the French Prix du Roman d'Adventure, in one year.

She is the author of the Kay Scarpetta series, the Andy Brazil series, and the Winston Garano series. She has also written two cookbooks entitled Scarpetta's Winter Table and Food to Die For; a children's book entitled Life's Little Fable; and non-fiction works like Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper - Case Closed.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

In bestseller Cornwell's stirring 23rd novel starring Dr. Kay Scarpetta (after 2014's Flesh and Bone), what at first appears to be an accident quickly turns to murder once Scarpetta determines that Chanel Gilbert, the grown daughter of Hollywood producer Amanda Gilbert, didn't simply fall while trying to change a light bulb in the historic house Amanda owned near the Harvard campus in Cambridge, Mass. Meanwhile, Scarpetta receives a mysterious text, seemingly from the cell of her technical entrepreneur niece, Lucy Farinelli, with a video link showing Lucy's FBI dorm room almost 20 years earlier. It's a surveillance camera clearly planted by Carrie Grethen, Scarpetta's archenemy, who was Lucy's one-time mentor and lover, and now sociopath Carrie is sending potentially incriminating video to Scarpetta at the same time Lucy's nearby house is being raided by the FBI. Scarpetta's current case, Lucy's troubles with the Feds, and Carrie's spooky blast from the past are all on an inevitable collision course, and Cornwell shows surprising restraint in reining in her plot and keeping it tightly focused on her well-developed core characters. Agent: Esther Newberg, ICM. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

At a crime scene, medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta gets a text from her niece Lucy's emergency number. Scarpetta breaks protocol and checks it out. But it's not from Lucy. The text links to a video of her niece, apparently filmed nearly two decades earlier and seemingly this chills Scarpetta to the bone shot by Carrie Grethen. Series fans will remember Grethen, the deeply psychotic woman who was at one time Lucy's mentor and lover (and who appeared as a major antagonist in a few previous novels in the series). Is the video, which was clearly filmed without Lucy's knowledge, a threat of some sort? Did Grethen put in motion, many years earlier, a plan that is only now coming to its culmination? Kay has a potentially high-profile case on her hands the daughter of a Hollywood bigwig has died under suspicious circumstances but can she focus on it when her niece's life might be in danger? Dark and cleverly plotted, the latest Scarpetta novel should definitely appeal to loyal series fans. Newcomers might want to check out the backlist first to bone up on Kay, Lucy, and Carrie's rather complicated history. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Cornwell's track record assures demand for her latest Scarpetta novel wherever books are sought.--Pitt, David Copyright 2015 Booklist