Complete tosh, full of unnecessary detail just to make the book bigger than it is. Some of the rubbish makes me laugh out loud, some of it makes me swear - much to my wife's amusement! Just as a tiny for instance - Kay Scarpetta's husband is described as a having a long, lean figure. Yet when he turns up unannounced at the first crime scene he has to borrow a pair of boots as he has no kit of his own with him. He is then described as "walking around the field in boots that are far too big for him". Really? He's supposed to be long (and lean) so who do the Pathologist's team carry spare boots for - Hagrid? Total tosh - unbelievable conversations between senior detectives and FBI investigators that ignore the blatantly obvious and make American law enforcers out to be a bit thick - aaagh, I can't say any more about this. I made it through 32% of the book and then closed my Kindle on this misbegotten excuse for a book for good.
Again, this is a lot better plot-wise than some of Cornwell's recent books. She does autopsies, investigates bizarre forensics, gets into the lives of her victims. These are the strengths of the series, and always have been. And it's good that she's getting back to them. However, whilst she's ditched some of her other bad habits and has got a hold back on her characters again (Benton is actually rather interesting in this book, and Lucy seems more human; only Marino remains slightly a caricature here, a person who no one alive would tolerate, so childish is his behaviour), she's acquired a couple of new ones: she does occasionally get very BORING. Her plots move too slowly nowadays (they didn't used to), mostly because for some reason this one in particular unfolds over less than a day, so she stuffs the rest of the pages with Scarpetta's introspection and musings on the morality of all and sundry. She would be better to ditch this and add in a bit more plot, because let's face it this books, whilst the plot is fine, does not need 500 pages to tell it.
Overall, as with Red Mist and The Bone Bed this is a distinct improvement, but she needs to tell the story over a longer period of time, and I think that would iron out most of the issues.
I am over halfway through this book and it is only because I never give up that I am still bothering with it. It is tedious beyond belief with the Scarpetta character whingeing on and on about everyone and everything. Benton has become timid and almost silent, Marino is a bitter old cop and Lucy is just, well, Lucy. Do Benton and Kay EVER have fun (or even smile)? I realise any book about murdered people is going to be serious but there is no depth to the relationship between Scarpetta and Wesley. I no longer care about the main characters and probably will not bother with Ms Cornwall's next offering. Sorry.
I have so enjoyed the Scarpetta books over the years, that it pains me to say that this offering does not match up to previous ones. There is too much emphasis on describing buildings and their interiors, so at times it feels like a guided tour. The exhaustive details of scientific and technical matters add little to the story and at times make it seem like a text book. The inter-departmental politics and wrangling take up too much of the book, perhaps Patricia Cornwell has remembered pain in this area? Kay Scarpetta is at her best when displaying her moral integrity, courage and skills in facing down evil and bringing retribution. There was nothing in the way of a showdown, just a footnote of how it all turned out.
I have followed Patricia Cornwall through all the ups and downs in her Scarpetta books but to say this is dismal is putting it mildly. Never thought I would write a bad review of her books but this is just awful. I was halfway through and nothing had really happened, apart from a body being found and we were just getting out of the house! Too much on relationships between them all and not enough of the storyline. The end was rushed........one minute we are getting the bad guy and then we are 4 days later and it is all tied up nicely! if the beginning had been reduced by 40% maybe the ending increased by as much it might have been a good read. So disappointing!