Sunday, January 27, 2008

Book of the Dead

Book of the Dead by Patricia Cornwell (Kay Scarpetta, No. 15) was published in October 2007. My hardcover copy is 326 pages. Most other reviews have hit this right on the mark; it is not indicative of Cornwell's earlier, and better Scarpetti novels. It is a so-so novel and I'd only recommend it for die hard fans who are going to read it anyway, which is the only reason I read it. I also noticed that some current political leanings that are perhaps Cornwell's views were included this time. Perhaps they have been in previous novels and were easily overlooked, but this time I noticed them and they annoyed me.

"It's hard to fault Cornwell for trying to redeem herself after missing the mark with her last few Kay Scarpetta novels, but this new one won't do the trick. The frosty forensic pathologist and her entourage remain as annoyingly self-absored and screwed up as ever, and their emotional baggage once again gets in the way of the story. A lengthy, vivid scene during which a young tennis star is slowly and brutally tortured sets up the mystery, which unfolds in artless leaps, mostly through halting dialogue and occasional forays into the mind of the killer. Once again Cornwell trots out venal characters from previous Scarpetta books; prominent here is psycho-bitch teleshrink Dr. Self (Predator, 2005), who is hoarding information about what turns out to be a string of loosely related murders. Then there's Scarpetta's longtime investigator, Pete Marino, foulmouthed and crude but tolerated, who reveals true ugliness in what may be the best scene in the book. As to forensic detail, it seems right up to the minute, and Scarpetta uses it often in her search for the killer, all the while trying to preserve balance in her personal life. Only for diehard Cornwell fans, of whom there are still many, despite the author's continued slump."

1 comment:

Deb said...

Thanks for the review on this one, Lori. You saved me the time and money. I was wondering whether I'd want to try her again. Deb