Scarpetta continues into the darkness

Depraved Heart  Patricia Cornwell
Hardcover, 480 pages, Published October 27th 2015 by William Morrow

The last time I read a Scarpetta novel was back in 2013 and it was book 16 in the series. I have come back to the series at book 23 with Depraved Heart.
Scarpetta is called to investigate an apparent suicide but as she begins to examine the clues all is not what it seems. Yet her investigation is side-tracked as she receives a series of text messages with a video feed that suggest her niece Lucy is in trouble. Once again Scarpetta finds herself in a race to sort out fact from fiction.  
Coming back to a Scarpetta novel is like catching up with old friends. You come in visit their lives, discover what a mess they have made, where they have been successful and that you still find Lucy annoying.
What I did find to be a significant change in this book is that no one seems to trust anyone anymore. Scarpetta does not trust Lucy, Benton or Marino. Marino does not trust Scarpetta and Lucy is sounding more like a conspiracy theorist every time she opens her mouth.
Cornwell knows her subject well and includes enough interesting detail not to bog down the novels pace. The writing is sharp and certainly keeps the pages turning, What I do like is that Cornwell keeps abreast of the latest trends and new technology that is occurring and is able to seamlessly weave into the story line.
You can read this novel as a standalone if you have some knowledge of Scarpetta’s world.  If you are first time reader of Scarpetta then do go back and read some of the earlier novels. It will be of great benefit and give you better understanding of the characters.
One aspect of the novel I did find disturbing was at the end when Scarpetta acknowledges that everyone is carrying a gun at a family dinner. It might seem strange but I found it to be an overly dark scene as a family has been driven to such fear that they can only see a violent solution in the offering.
There is still life in the series and Scarpetta still remains a trailblazer.