Hardcover: 377 pages
Publisher: G.P. Putnam & Sons 1996
Finishing this books means I've finished the 2009 1st in a Series Challenge on J. Kaye's Book Blog. This means I've read 12 books that are the first in any series by any author.
This is the story-about two women top cops and a young male newspaper reporter in Charlotte, N.C. A series of murders of men from out of town who are pulled from their rental cars, sexually mutilated, marked with orange spray paint and shot, creates tension in Charlotte. And there the credibility ends.
Reporter Andy Brazil is assigned to ride along with Deputy Chief Virginia West in order to report on police activity. West is not too happy about having to go back on the streets, especially with this naive young man. Andy is just too perfect...gorgeous, well-built, gifted tennis player, outstanding reporter, has a photographic memory, and still a virgin at 22...it's just too much. Add that to his goody-two-shoes personality and he's just a bit too precious.
Police Chief Judy Hammer, who wears kick-ass suits and is loved by everyone except the local politicians and her husband, has to deal not only with the growing number of serial killings, but also her selfish, self-destructive husband. I really like Chief Hammer and don't believe she deserves to be immortalized in this mediocre writing.
And then there's West's cat Niles. I don't know what Cornwell was thinking when she put this character in the story. Not only does Niles think human thoughts, he knows he is descended from the Egyptians and believes that the USBank tower, which he can see from a window, is his King. By staring at the tower, he percieved that crime was going to be committed and even gave West a clue about it. Puh..leese!
It amazes me that Cornwell could create such a strong, credible characters in the Scarpetta series, yet fail so miserably with a new series. The addition of animals who think and plan is just so silly. I appreciate that maybe she was trying to write something not so serious and more light-hearted but it just doesn't work.
Synopsis (from the author's website)
The creator of Kay Scarpetta, the most fascinating character in contemporary crime fiction, now cunningly reveals the heart and soul of a metropolitan police department. With Charlotte as her simmering background, she propels us into the core of the force through the lives of a dynamic trio of heroes: Andy Brazil, an ambitious younger reporter for The Charlotte Observer and an eager - sometimes too eager-volunteer cop; Police Chief Judy Hammer, the professionally strong yet personally troubled guardian of Charlotte's law and order; and her deputy chief, Virginia West, a genuine head-turner who is married to her job. To walk the beat with Hammer, West, and Brazil is to learn the inner secrets of police work - the tension and the tedium, the hilarity and the heartbreak, the unexpected pump of adrenaline and the rush of courage that can lead to heroics ... or death.