Patricia Cornwell Books In Order

Reading the Patricia Cornwell books in order really depends on which series you’re looking at – or whether it’s a series you want to read or her standalone novels, in the first place.

Here is the list of all the Patricia Cornwell books in proper reading order with the series sorted by chronological order with the book numbers within each series in brackets.


Kay Scarpetta Series In Order

  1. Postmortem, 1990 (Kay Scarpetta #1)
  2. Body of Evidence, 1991 (Kay Scarpetta #2)
  3. All That Remains, 1992 (Kay Scarpetta #3)
  4. Cruel and Unusual, 1993 (Kay Scarpetta #4)
  5. The Body Farm, 1994 (Kay Scarpetta #5)
  6. From Potter’s Field, 1995 (Kay Scarpetta #6)
  7. Cause of Death, 1996 (Kay Scarpetta #7)
  8. Unnatural Exposure, 1997 (Kay Scarpetta #8)
  9. Point of Origin, 1998 (Kay Scarpetta #9)
  10. Black Notice, 1999 (Kay Scarpetta #10)
  11. The Last Precinct, 2000 (Kay Scarpetta #11)
  12. Blow Fly, 2003 (Kay Scarpetta #12)
  13. Trace, 2004 (Kay Scarpetta #13)
  14. Predator, 2005 (Kay Scarpetta #14)
  15. Book of the Dead, 2007 (Kay Scarpetta #15)
  16. Scarpetta, 2008 (Kay Scarpetta #16)
  17. The Scarpetta Factor, 2009 (Kay Scarpetta #17)
  18. Port Mortuary, 2010 (Kay Scarpetta #18)
  19. Red Mist, 2011 (Kay Scarpetta #19)
  20. The Bone Bed, 2012 (Kay Scarpetta #20)
  21. Dust, 2013 (Kay Scarpetta #21)
  22. Flesh and Blood, 2014 (Kay Scarpetta #22)
  23. Depraved Heart, 2015 (Kay Scarpetta #23)
  24. Chaos, 2016 (Kay Scarpetta #24)

Andy Brazil Series in Order


  1. Hornet’s Nest, 1996 (Andy Brazil #1)
  2. Southern Cross, 1998 (Andy Brazil #2)
  3. Isle of Dogs, 2001 (Andy Brazil #3)

Win Garano Series in Order

  1. At Risk, 2006 (Win Garano #1)
  2. The Front, 2008 (Win Garano #2)

Non-Fiction Patricia Cornwell Books



[the_ad id=”11755″] Patricia Cornwell was born in 1956 in Miami and grew up in Montreat, North Carolina.

Patricia CornwellDuring her childhood, Patricia suffered extensive emotional abuse. In an interview where she was asked why she is focusing on psychopaths in her books, the author mentioned it’s because she “grew up with terrible fear.” After her father left the family on a Christmas day when Patricia was only 5 years old, she was also molested by a convicted pedophile.

Thankfully nothing really bad happened, but it was enough to shake her to the core. When her brother appeared on his bicycle, the guy was trying to take Patricia to his car, which would have most likely ended up with her death.

Thus, in 1961, her mother took her and her two brothers and moved to Montreal, in North Carolina, since she was fearing for the well-being of her kids. During school, Patricia was quite the bright A student, she was a good athlete and quite the talented cartoonist.

She attended the Davidson College where she earned her English degree in 1979. She got her first job the same year, as working for the Charlotte Observer where she did various jobs, starting from listing TV programs to covering the police beat.

Some of the articles she wrote on prostitution and crime in the downtown Charlotte area brought her a lot of attention, praise, and respect, and this is when she received her first award, the North Carolina Press Association’s Investigative Reporting Award.

In 1981, she began working on the biography of Ruth Bell Graham, wife of the famous evangelist Billy Graham, who took Patricia in when her mother became sick.

After leaving her job as a journalist behind, in 1985 she started working with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Virginia, where she stayed for six years. This is the very place that her fictional character, Kay Scarpetta, would work in as well.

Her first novel, Postmortem, was written during this time, and while initially it was not successfully received, it was eventually published and it became the first book in her popular crime series.

The author is living in Boston where she is working on her next book.

Not many people know, but the author of the popular Kay Scarpetta series has also written a couple of non-fiction books, among them also being also two foodie books as well – and they’re great too!

Of course, when we mentioned Patricia Cornwell, we mostly think of the famous Scarpetta series, featuring the Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta, working in Massachusetts. The author’s very first novel, Postmortem, published in 1990, is, I think, also her most popular book as well. It is really the book that started a new trend with CSI style novels – forensic anthropology mystery books – that would take the fiction genre by storm.

She also created two additional crime series focusing on Andy Brazil, a young journalist turned cop in Virginia, as well as another other series with center stage taken by Win Garano in Boston.

An interesting side note is that Patricia Cornwell appeared as herself on TV in one of the Criminal Minds episodes, “True Genius.”

The author’s latest book is part of the Kay Scarpetta series, called Chaos, published in 2016. It is the 24th book in the Kay Scarpetta series.

Just like Dan Brown, Patricia Cornwell had also legal issues. The author of the Virginia Ghost Murders, Leslie Sachs, accused Patricia of plagiarism for her The Last Precinct novel, saying that the two books have too many similarities to be a mere coincidence. During the trial, Patricia got awarded $37,780 in damages that she had to pay for in order to defend herself from the other author’s attacks. Sachs also was permanently banned from defaming Patricia Cornwell in any shape or form in the future.

In addition, the trials and tribulations of our favorite author were far from over. At some point in her career, she was investigated for a full year by the FBI for political campaign finance fraud. She was absolutely sure that she would end up in prison because once the FBI is investigating someone, the person usually doesn’t get off lightly.

In her book Depraved Heart, Patricia Cornwell made sure to point out just how useless the FBI is at times since they want to get people even when they are completely innocent. This was something like a literary revenge for what she had to endure at the hands of the FBI during that fateful year.


Should We Read The Patricia Cornwell Books In Order?


The question is relevant to her 3 mystery series, but most importantly to her Kay Scarpetta series in order. Having read the books, I’d suggest reading them in publication order – incidentally, in case of all three series, the right chronological order is also the order in which the books were published.

You will see not only Kay Scarpetta developing her personality through the books, but you will also get to learn her relationship with her niece, Lucy Farinelli, which is worth learning about for the intensity of it. Overall sure, you can read them in any order you choose as the action evolved one story per book, but the characters develop, mature and progress from novel to novel. Worth not missing out on it.

As a side note, what I”m really waiting for (aside from the latest Kay Scarpetta book, of course) is the new movie to be played by Angelina Jolie. We don’t know when the movie will air yet (it was initially rumored to air in 2015, but that deadline passed a long time ago).

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43 Responses to “Patricia Cornwell Books In Order”

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  1. Cat Stevenson says:

    Waiting for the Scarpetta book after Chaos!!!!

  2. Ccoooke says:

    I forgot how great the Scarpetta series are. Had to list them again just so I can see where I left off. On that note, I can re-read these and still thoroughly enjoy them again. I love Scarpetta’s stregnth and smarts yet see he tender side as well. Well written in subject matter and characted(s)…. With the exception of wanting to slap Marino! Bull headed, complex but smart! Don’t get me started on
    Lucy! She is amazing. Always liked her and her character immensely. I hope this series continues!

  3. Tina Gicewicz says:

    I am reading Red Mist right now. I love the Scarpetta series. I hope you continue to write many more. I’ve learned a lot from her and am extremely impressed that you put yourself through so much in order to state facts that are true about forensic science.
    Thank you for all the truth you put in your series.

  4. Le Loup Garou says:

    I was recently turned on to Conwell novels as a result of her being mentioned by the Jefferson Bass writing team..after running out of their books, I began the Scarpetta quest. Within a month I had read 13 of them.
    Absolutely riveting. I however was unfornate enough to not have read them in order. I cant seem to obtain the book where the “ressurection” occurs and it is driving me crazy!! Please help!! So I settled for Book of The Dead for now…

  5. Lyzz says:

    I’ve read every book – and I think it’s absolutely necessary to read the Scarpetta series in order – if you want to enjoy them to the maximum effect. Some villains crossover books, and the behaviors of some characters just cannot be “felt” if you have no context. And lastly, some events will just not rock your world if you don’t have the “prerequisites” in mind – or if you already know the future.

  6. gill watts says:

    many thanks for that info. have found my copy of trace and will re read.will have to sort out and arrange my titles to read in sequence!!

  7. gill watts says:

    love the books trying to collect them all. have just finished blow fly and need to know title of next book in this series of chandonne

  8. I saw on one of the series about a sixteen year ols boy hsd been killed or murdered and I did not get the name of the book. Kyou help me. thankz

  9. Jac says:

    I listen to these books and I can’t get Stephanie plum out of my head listening to flesh and blood this has to be changed sorry!

  10. Naomi Medina says:

    I love all her books. Read them in order to see what is happening. I got my daughter to read them also.

  11. Linda Rippel says:

    I have read other mystery series but Patricia Cornwell is by far the best. I love Kay Scarpetta and her family of characters. I hope this series never ends.

  12. raksha says:

    The books have to read in an order my first book was The last precinct and then I read the body of evidence… It was truly confusing.. After that I decided to start the entire series from book 1… It’s been an amazing read… Kay has been beautifully evolving from one book to the other… Love the work of Patrician Cornwell….

  13. Guillan Bombase says:

    I’ve read black notice first and the story says that benton wesley died, the next book i read was Trace and in it, benton wesley is still alive, i’m just confused about the orders of the series cause i’m following Dr. Scarpetta’s love story. haha

  14. Ephraim says:

    Of course when we mentioned Patricia Cornwell, we mostly think of the famous Scarpetta series, featuring the Chief Medical Examiner Kay Scarpetta, working in Massachusetts.

    Sorry, but she worked in Virginia, not Massachusetts.

  15. Dorothy says:

    I read Flesh and Blood in January. This was my first in the Scarpetta series. I have just now found Point of Origin, written in 1998, and have just finished it. To my horror I found out that Benton Wesley died in this series, yet he is listed as Scarpetta’s husband in Flesh and Blood. Did he miraculously come back from the dead or it was not him in the first place and they let go the ashes of someone else? Without me having to read the rest of this series to solve this answer, Can someone let me know how he comes back to life please?

    • Marianne says:

      You are in for a nice surprise! He has been resurrected. After reading the later novel after he died I decided to start from series 1. Thanks to my nook her Scarpetti series is from 1990 to 2014. And Lthough I have read the older ones it is much better to start from scratch to see how all the characters evolve.

  16. Stacy Brown says:

    Can someone match the villains to the books? I want to refer back to the book when Carrie Gretchen, and Temple Gault, or any others come up in a new novel. Thanks!

    • They first appeared when Lucy was interning at UVA. The book is Cruel & Usual but she refers to Gault again in the next book and Carrie is mentioned in Unatural Exposure when a cop Lucy won’t date & who happens to hate Scarpetta reveals something to the DA prosecuting Carrie that could end Lucy’s career while trying to also discredit Scarpetta

  17. Kelly says:

    I HOPE #23 is in the works! I just finished Flesh and Blood, with a huge gap between the last I read…I need to read all I’ve missed but there must be more Kay Scarpetta!

    And movie is in works??? So exciting!

  18. betty doyle says:

    I like the ‘Wen Garano’ books, trouble is I’ve read all ‘2’ of them. Any more in the works.

  19. John Marshall says:

    I just listened to the audiobook version of “Point of Origin” thinking it was new because the audio version just become available on Audible, and was stunned by the brutal death of a major continuing character whom I knew appears in later novels. For that reason I checked the list of publication dates and to confirm that character does appear afterwards – and to find out that Point of Origin was published in 1998. At any rate, though each book stands pretty well on its own, there is definitely a utility to reading them in order, and I cannot imagine how the future resurrection of this character will take place without rendering the fabric of time & space, etc. I just hope the character doesn’t just magically appear as though nothing happened. Having read or listened to most of the books already, there are some gaps to fill in – and definitely a bonus to consuming them in order of publication.

  20. Bronia Gaujenieks says:

    I am a huge fan. Absolutely love the series. Originally had a number of books, not in sequence. Read them twice before I found the rest of books. Have now read and reread the series, and still look forward to rereading about Kay Scarpetta and all the gang. Like having family around! Some are fine, others irritating. Keep up the writing. Hope there are still a number of novels to come.

  21. Sharon Breyer says:

    LOVE Patricia Cornwell’s books!! My sis, Deb, and I read them over and over, but a new one is Always waited for with huge anticipation. Thank you, Patricia, you are the best. Long live Scarpetta!

  22. wendy balshaw says:

    Please please you’ve got to tell me is there a scarpetta #23 planned, as it been written yet if there is? When is it available to read? Just finished Flesh and Blood won’t say anything other than need to know if and when there is another. Please say there is and it’s very very soon.

  23. Sheilatraylor says:

    I have read all of scarpetta series. I
    Like keeping up with pete and Lucy. Looking forward reading next book.

  24. Lorraine Allen says:

    I just love the Kay Scarpetta series, I’ve read all by Flesh & Blood, that’s for tonight . Thank you Patricia Cornwell.

  25. jessica says:

    she’s the best suspense-thriller author I ever come across with! Been following and reading the Kay Scarpetta series, I’m a HUGE FAN!

  26. Patricia Carol O'Dor says:

    I’m a huge fan of Patricias’…have all of her books except one & can’t find it anywhere. It’s the one about her neice, Lucy, and a friend who went on a vacation (per se); ended-up at some farm where dead people were buried & a town was abandoned, and, Lucy & Friend, had to be rescued by friends/family in the ZigMobile?, why can’t I find that book????? The book was about someone accidently spilling something lethal.? I’ve searched stores / Libraries, but can’t find that book anywhere & it’s driving me batty!!! I KNOW it exists…or at least did at one time.
    Patricia Carol O’Dor

  27. teresa deiter says:

    she is the best writer ever keep up the good work patricia d cornwell.

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