Monday, September 20, 2010

The Scarpetta Factor by Patricia Cornwell

Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; Reprint edition (August 31, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425236285
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425236284

Cornwell's Dr. Kay Scarpetta is probably my favorite fictional character.  She is brilliant, attractive, successful and an awesome cook.  But even with her many achievements, she has had her setbacks.

In the 17th novel of the Scarpetta series, Kay is living in Boston,and volunteering her time to the New York City Medical Examiner's office and is the senior forensic analyst for CNN.  She is currently investigating the murder of a Central Park jogger as well as looking into the disappearance of Hannah Starr, a wealthy financial planner.  Kay's niece, computer genius Lucy Farinelli, is also probing the disappearance of Hannah for reasons of her own. Along for the ride are Assistant District Attorney Jaime Berger, Lucy's girlfriend, and NYPD Detective Pete Marino.  But it's Benton Wesley, Kay's psychologist husband, whose past comes back to haunt the couple and ties these two crimes together.  Specifically, Benton's presumed death in Point of Origin and shocking reappearance five years later in Blow Fly, and the former FBI agent who planned his presumed death.  

But while I liked this book, I don't think it lived up to previous Scarpetta novels.  In the previous couple of books I noticed a change in the story lines and the characters.  Lucy has changed from a precocious smart kid to a bratty, moody and dangerous woman.  She has become very wealthy and it seems with every dollar earned she gets becomes a little more unhinged.  She needs to be toned down a little.  

Marino's meltdown in Book of the Dead and his transformation into a biker-like thug was just wrong.  Now he is still working with Kay and it's just weird.  I liked him better when he was a grumpy overweight cop in a rumpled suit.  He was gruff yet lovable and the relationship with Kay was always interesting. 

Kay's personality has become watered down, resulting in a woman who is just not as interesting as in earlier books.  Her beautiful house, her gardens, her tomatoes and her marvelous cooking are all missing now.  Her relationships were more interesting and had more substance.  I wish she would move back to Richmond and take over the Medical Examiner's office again.  Leave Boston and New York behind and become the fascinating woman she used to be.

And then there's Benton...originally he was a brilliant FBI profiler and the relationship between him and Kay had sexual tension and excitement.  Now he seems to be a has-been and only a shell of his former self.  They never should have took the interest out the relationship.

I know it seems I had a lot of criticisms in this review, but I still will read any Scarpetta book that comes out.  I am just hoping for a return to better times.

1 comment:

Jill said...

Hi Shirley,

Just wanted to thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving a sweet comment. It's great to meet you! I am a lover of books so I'm sure I will be visiting you often. :-) Hope you stop by again soon.