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3.7 out of 5 stars375
3.7 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 7 March 2012
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I didn't manage to finish the book, it was so poor. I didn't think it could get any worse until I switched on the audiobook. I had to turn this off after the first 2 minutes to check if the narrator had one of those artificial electronic voice boxes fitted, so awful was her lack of intonation. After I found she was in fact an award winning audiobook narrator and actress I went back to it reluctantly. The lengthy passages of mundane technical details, the never ending me me me of Patricia Cornwell oops I mean Kay Scarpetta, and the dull predictable characters are all par for the course for the drivel that Cornwell is churning out these days. I read her first half dozen or so novels and they were brilliant. The point at which Benton Wesley miraculously returned from the dead was I think the turning point for both me as an avid Scarpetta fan and Cornwell as a decent crime novelist. It went rapidly downhill from there.

Top tip - stick with the early stuff, when Kay was a force to be reckoned with, Lucy was still a functioning member of the human race and the author hadn't emasculated Pete Merino. Shame.
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VINE VOICEon 5 January 2012
I've been reading Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta books for years. The first 8 or 9 novels in the series are some of the finest forensic crime fiction ever written and many writers before and since have yet to beat the high quality of these books - Cornwell included. The last couple of years her books have gone rapidly downhill in regard to quality.

I very rarely give up on reading a book before the end (I've only done this perhaps 5 times in the past 10 years) but Red Mist is so incredibly boring that I got to the 50% mark and then deleted it from my Kindle in frustration of my wasted time. The content in that 50% (roughly 250 pages) consists of just 2 (yes, you read that correctly) long conversations and not a lot else. As well as treading over the same subject again and again (and again) in these conversations, boring me to tears, the story itself is very uninteresting anyway. Scarpetta is more arrogant and unlikeable than ever (which is saying something!) and her opinions of Marino and Lucy (how could Jamie possibly not love her!?) are sickeningly getting worse in each book.

It's fair to say I didn't like this book. And as a fan of the series generally - especially the earlier books - I am genuinely disappointed with Cornwell and her deteriorating and (now) unlikeable writing style. When her next book comes out I am going to wait to see if it has mainly favourable reviews before I buy it and if it doesn't then Cornwell has lost a longtime fan.
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on 9 February 2012
I enjoyed the first Scarpetta books, because the characters were developing, and the insight into the background was intriguing. But, how stale Cornwell has become! How bored with her work! I'm trying to wade through Red Mist. Apart from the plot, which is creaking along oh so slowly, the writing is atrocious. The 'literary devices' Cornwell uses to support the story are sledge-hammered onto the pages, miss them if you dare! The characters are almost always given their first and last names, in the hope that a reader will remember them, so each time it's like meeting a rather deadly stranger - whom you don't care a toss about anyway.

Where is Scarpetta's charisma and confidence (it reads as if she's losing it)? Her disfunctional family - pooh, she disdains them. Then why drag them in, to what purpose? The only thing we read about Lucy is connected with her lesbian ex-partner; is that how she's defined now? Benton - so far, halfway through, he is only some abrupt sentences on a mobile screen. And poor Marino! What's he for?

Why does an editor accept such nonsense? Why doesn't Cornwell dump the writing career and learn to knit?
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VINE VOICEon 27 November 2011
I have kept away from the indomitable Kay Scarpetta because, frankly, I was put off by the crass storytelling Ms Cornwell churned out after having had a really good start. Her characters were so predictable and downright boring that I turned to better storytellers now available. Obviously, I'm back to read Red Mist in the hope that things have improved. They have but not enough to make we want to be a future regular, leastways not until I've read the reviews.

This story is a slow burner. The first half of the book is still downright boring, filled with backtracking which I find annoying. I suppose much of this appeared in the previous book which I didn't read. Now that I've read Red Mist, I probably didn't miss much either but for 250 pages we have to trudge through the history of several characters one doesn't particularly care for. I was pushing for the story to gain pace. It does, finally when more bodies crop up both inside and outside the Georgia Prison for Women where Scarpetta comes into her own in establishing the cause of death eventually. This leads down a track I wasn't overly convinced about but, nevertheless, it does provide an interesting storyline.

Inevitably, the old character stalwarts appear. Marino who seems more interested in food, the amazing and superhuman niece, Lucy who's as spoilt as ever and Benton, the superb FBI agent who knows everything but discloses nothing much, at least not when it matters.

If you're a fan of Scarpetta you've been through a lot over the years, some of it downright rough. This book does rekindle the character somewhat but Kay Scarpetta is not a person one admires (leastways, I don't). I'm sure fans will be impressed and the book is a decent step in the right direction but for those of us who chose to leave her to her peculiarities several books ago may not feel those very early days of excellent storytelling have been reinstated just yet.
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on 18 January 2012
I've been a Scapetta fan since the beginning and I've seen a huge decline in the quality of Cornwell's writing.

The earlier books like Cruel and Unusual, From Potter's Field and The Body Farm were fast moving, gripping and most definately page turning.
We saw Scarpetta, Lucy, Benton and Marino working as a team, on the trail of serial killers and the use of forensic pathology used to catch said lunatics.
It was writing at it's best.

I appreciate that Cornwell wanted to move the characters along but she's taken it to the extreme. There is no logic in where she takes them anymore. It's farcical.

Benton is so cold and frigid, it begs the question, how the hell are they still married?

Lucy is a psychotic spoiled brat with an attitude problem.

Marino is still a grumpy sod but has become a clean living bore. An unbelievable transformation in my opinion.

As for Scarpetta well, what can I say? She has lost all the 'balls' she had in earlier books. She has become, pompous, condecending, stuck-up and so self-righteous, I can almost touch her halo.
I am fed up with her telling us how smart Lucy is. How handsome Benton is and that Marino 'needs to sort out his issues'.

This book is one long diatribe of crap.
The plot is weak, (though not as bad as some, hence two stars as apposed to one). The characters are self centred and depressing especially Lucy who I could quite happily punch in the nose. She's so bloody miserable all the time.

I would kill to get back the old Cornwell but I think it's going to be a rather long wait.
Trouble is, once you're a fan, you'll always feel obliged to get the new book simply to see if there's been any improvement.
Cornwell is taking our hard earned money under false pretences and getting very rich on money for old rope.
I think she needs to spend far less time on Twitter and Facebook and get back to producing the great stuff I know she is capable of.
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on 8 January 2012
I have read all her books but lately very disappointed. This book is awful, it was a chore to finish it. I may not bother to read any new titles!
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on 3 February 2012
What has happened to Kay Scarpetta? She has turned into a big dull dud. And a snob to boot. 7 chapters in and I was well and truly fed up with her constant lecturing, scolding and self aggrandizing. All of the light and shade from earlier Scarpetta has well and truly gone. We are left with an unbelievable and unlikeable cardboard cut-out of a character. RIP Kay.
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on 29 May 2012
Another awful Kay Scarpetta book! I promised myself a few books ago that I will NEVER read another Patricia Cornwell book, why did I not listen to myself?! I got to page 110 of 501 after 4 very long days and finally decided, enough is enough! Her first few books were fantastic, great plot, characters and script! Perhaps the downward spiral began when she decided to kill Benton (ok it was all a ruse), from that book on, there is a certain darkness, a sense of doom, a negativity that permeates all her books. WHY? Why do all her characters have a common miserable streak in them? No one is happy anymore in her books! The whole world is always out to get Scarpetta and those around her! Why? Gone are the days when we'd find Scarpetta in her kitchen cooking HAPPILY and chatting with not a care in the world despite her job. I just cannot get past this negative vibe. As mentioned, I got to page 101 after 4 laborious days (let me state that I speed read and usually finish a good book in a day), in that time, nothing has happened but a whole lot of bad waffling and reminiscing. That's it, no more! Patricia Cornwell lost her mojo a long time ago!
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on 13 January 2012
I first bought Patricia Cornwell books in the 90's (when there was a 'D' in her name) and have progressed from buying the first 2 on a market stall for £1 to pre-ordering (and eagerly awaiting) the hardback book. Sadly I have found the last few books hard to get into so this time I bought the Kindle copy after the release date.It has sat on my Kindle for 5 weeks before I read it.This book follows on directly from the previous one and once again there doesn't appear to be a plot, apart from yet another major (silly?) coincidence that doesn't really get explained (that's probably going to be the next book!)I'm not sure what the main story line was as it seemed to occur in the background to the mundane stuff that was concentrated on and I'm afraid that this caused me to skim read it-maybe it would have been better to make this and 'Port Mortuary' one book. There is a 'shock' death but I'm already convinced that they will reappear further down the line a la Benton! Perhaps it's time that the author took a rest from this series for a while instead of churning them out every year?
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on 25 December 2011
Red Mist

I'll never learn. I swore I wouldn't buy any more Patricia Cornwell after the last few disappointments, but I keep living in hope that she will return to the brilliance of her first efforts. Alas, this one has not restored my faith. It is a ponderous and stodgy tale and I didn't like anyone or anything in it. I did finish it, but it took me a long time as I found myself dropping off to sleep after a few pages. She has definitely lost the plot big time, and has become mediocre. Very sad, but I will not be buying any more Patricia Cornwell. RIP
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