Thursday, January 19, 2017

Depraved Heart

Depraved Heart by Patricia Cornwell
HarperCollins: 1/3/17
trade paperback; 496 pages
ISBN-13: 9780062561329
Dr. Kay Scarpetta Series #23

Depraved Heart by Patricia Cornwell is a highly recommended addition for fans of the long running Dr. Kay Scarpetta series. It is set during one day.
Scarpetta is at a crime scene in Cambridge, Massachusetts, investigating the death of a young woman. While taking note of the scene and her observations, Scarpetta receives a message, a video, from Lucy's in case of emergency (ICE) cell phone line. While simultaneously watching the video and observing the crime scene, Scarpetta knows two things. First, from the initial impression of the scene it appears the death was accidental, but upon further observation it seems to have been staged. Second, Lucy is in trouble.

The video sent to her was a surveillance film of Lucy taken almost twenty years ago by Carrie Grethen at the FBI academy when she was Lucy's mentor and lover. Carrie, a sociopath and the archenemy of both Scarpetta and Lucy, is the depraved heart "void of social duty and fatally bent on mischief." Scarpetta rushes to Lucy's house where she discovers the FBI is in the middle of a raid. They are harassing Lucy and trying to build a case, any case against her. "Data fiction" may play a part in the case being built against her. But even more suspect is how and why Lucy's harassment may be related to the death scene Scarpetta is investigating.

Patricia Cornwell is an accomplished writer. Her long-running Scarpetta series indicates just how talented she is at writing great crime scene investigation/psychological thrillers that keep her huge fan base reading. I started reading the Scarpetta series from the beginning and stayed with it for years until I finally took a break from it several novel ago. Depraved Heart provided some of what I love about Cornwell's books - the great writing and the detailed scene investigation - and also why I took a break from the series. The positives are the quality of the writing, the tight focus of the plot, and the tense atmosphere. The downside is that this is the 23rd book in a series so it is competing with all the other books in the series for a rating. That is tough competition.

It's a given that I know the characters and could jump into Depraved Heart after a hiatus from the series. If you have never read any Scarpetta books, this is not the place to start. At All. Go back to the beginning and work your way through them. At this point the characters are so established and so well-developed that long-time readers know them intimately. It's simply a fact that you can't include a detailed background of these characters for new readers after so many novels featuring them.

Is Depraved Heart my favorite addition to the series and worthy of my highest rating? Nope. Is it a huge disappointment? Nope. I like Kay Scarpetta. I enjoyed the novel, was hooked to the end and felt like it was a perfectly satisfactory novel. I do wish questions were answered and threats removed rather than continuing. It's a 3.5 for me (rounded up). It's not going to be one of my favorite books in the series, but it's not worth a horrible review.

After I finished reading I was ready for Scarpetta to take a break from Marino, Benton, and Lucy. It's my opinion that the woman needs some quiet time to reflect on the way her loved ones treat her and how much she should be willing to tolerate. Perhaps a break from them would help Marino, Benton and Lucy realize how much they need and depend on her. (Not that I could ever tell Patricia Cornwell how to write any novel.)

Disclosure: My copy was courtesy of HarperCollins.



1 comment:

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

This series has been going on for a long time, and there are bound to be books you enjoy more and books you enjoy less in that time. I'm glad you're still interested in following along with these characters (albeit after a break) even though this particular book wasn't your favorite in the series.

Thanks for being a part of the tour!