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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Different but enjoyable
I guess most people who will read this book will read it because of the name of Patricia Cornwell. This was the first Patricia Cornwell book I read (I really should have read Hornet's Nest first). Now i have read some other books by her I have found that Hornets nest and Southern Cross are different to her previous novels. They cannot really be compared since one is more...
Published on 5 Sep 2001 by Nikstar101

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2.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing follow-up to Hornet's Nest
All the elements which made Hornet's Nest such an exciting alternative to the increasingly far-fetched Scarpetta series are sadly missing from this hasty followup. The plot twist which brings the protagonists to Richmond is so implausible as to make the reader suspect Cornwell simply needed a device to move the action to home territory and didn't much care what it...
Published on 5 Mar 1999


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Different but enjoyable, 5 Sep 2001
I guess most people who will read this book will read it because of the name of Patricia Cornwell. This was the first Patricia Cornwell book I read (I really should have read Hornet's Nest first). Now i have read some other books by her I have found that Hornets nest and Southern Cross are different to her previous novels. They cannot really be compared since one is more a medical view whereas this based on the police side on the crimes. I prefer this police view of crime, solving them with good old police methods rather than forensic evidence
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A light-hearted romp from a fine serious writer, 1 Oct 2004
I can't help feeling that the 1-star reviews have missed the point. This is very different from PC's Kay Scarpetta books; it's a light, frothy confection that she seems to have enjoyed writing as a change from the more sombre Scarpetta formula. It's almost as if Terry Pratchett had a go at writing a police procedural - there's teenage hooligans, brainless rednecks, and the priceless rebirth of Confederate president Jefferson Davis as a black basketball player. Great fun.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing follow-up to Hornet's Nest, 5 Mar 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Southern Cross (Hardcover)
All the elements which made Hornet's Nest such an exciting alternative to the increasingly far-fetched Scarpetta series are sadly missing from this hasty followup. The plot twist which brings the protagonists to Richmond is so implausible as to make the reader suspect Cornwell simply needed a device to move the action to home territory and didn't much care what it was. The multi-layered tension which drew Brazil and West apart then together in 'HN' has been squandered into an offstage resolution and contrived interruption, and their new relationship lacks any sort of authenticity (even if you do accept that Brazil, described when we first meet him as "a scribe of life and all in it" has meekly settled for being a Website author for the Richmond P.D).
Whilst the supporting cast retain some of that realism, the major players, so vibrant and refreshing at first, have subsided into one-dimensional cliche. 'HN' came over as basically a chance for Cornwell to exercise a dulled imagination - the language bristled and burned with imagery and the dialogue sparkled. The second we learned that three women were in control of a major city's police department, we knew we were in a parallel universe. Throughout, with tight, economical language, Cornwell made that universe jump and dance and flash fire.
In comparison, 'SC', despite a few nice moments, is contrived, dull, and has none of the attractiveness of its predecessor. Cornwell showed with 'HN' that she -can- still come up with new ideas and colourful language, so perhaps she just needs a new editor. As it is, one gets the feeling her driving desire is to churn out indifferent work to a grateful -and paying - public. She can do better, and I wish that she would.
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1.0 out of 5 stars If there was a Zero Crowns rating - this'd be it, 2 Mar 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Southern Cross (Hardcover)
I must admit that when I picked up 'Southern Cross' I was prepared to be disappointed, after all its predecessor ('Hornet's Nest') was not a patch on Patricia Cornwell's previous novels. Unfortunately I was right to be disappointed, however I did not expect that this novel would be quite as *much* of a disappointment as it proved to be. From a writer who has enthralled and engrossed millions with her tightly plotted and fast-paced 'Kay Scarpetta' novels, there is really no excuse for this kind of meandering, contrived and downright annoying story-telling. The plot (yes, believe it or not there *is* a plot buried in there somewhere) constantly blunders off into meaningless asides which have little or no bearing on the actual story. The, frankly incredible, romantic split between the two main characters of the prequel is nothing more than a thinly disguised opportunity for a series of romantic misunderstandings which fail to inspire any sense of sympathy for the beleaguered lovers. The comedic aspects of the book frequently fall into the literary equivalent of slapstick and the obviously contrived use of one characters inability to use the English language falls far short of being funny and instead becomes annoying as you are forced to reread whole chunks of dialogue in order to figure out what in blue blazes the character was trying to say. I could go on to lambast the tortured ending of the novel which relies on several unlikely coincidences to reach its climax, but I won't I'm too tired. From a novelist of the calibre that Patricia Cornwell has show herself in the past to be, this is one which should be given a decent burial and quietly forgotten.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, but not great ..., 13 Aug 2001
By A Customer
I have to admit that this was the first book by Cornwell I read. I also have to admit that I have it in my collection because I forgot to cancel the book club. I also have to admit that I just now picked it up on a rainy Irish weekend because I ran out of things to read.
But, reading the reviews, I wonder what the fuss is about.
The book is not a thriller, but an attempt at a funny crime story. It is "quaint Dickensian" in some aspects, sometimes annoyingly so. It has not a very strong plot. The "three shots in back of head" murder does not fit in with the rest of the story. The coon misunderstandings (racoons vs. African-Americans) are too far-fetched. The Fluck-gag runs out of energy soon ...
But I still had fun reading it. Not great crime writing, but fun. OK for a rainy day.
Maybe because I was not bent on "comparing" but only on entertainment.
And the only thing that really annoyed me was the picture of a NYPD K-9 Unit on the cover, which has no relevance to the story at all ... but then I am a stickler for these details.
Final word ... just enjoy!
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3.0 out of 5 stars And now for something completely different..., 6 Jan 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Southern Cross (Hardcover)
This is definitely not a Scarpetta novel - those readers expecting to find a Scarpetta-clone should reflect that Cornwell would be the last to write one of those! (Copies come from other authors.) Southern Cross doesn't seem very realistic in its plot, but it's a fun read with some wierd black humour. Maybe this book and its predecessor Hornet's Nest form a new genre, Fantasy Crime, where million to one chances happen 9 times out of 10! Once while reading Southern Cross I was surprised to be reminded of Carl Hiassen - no-one could match him but a faint echo was there. Cornwell has a way to go before this series reaches the quality of Scarpetta but I for one will read any more Hammer/West/Brazil novels that appear in the hope she really makes it work.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Black Humor, 6 Oct 2007
By 
M. A. Ramos (Florida USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
From some of the other reviews it seems that some people just don't have a sense of humor. The book is not her usually writting, instead of a serious serial killer story, expect a dark comedy. She takes a pot shot at everybody and hits the nail on the head every time. The most important lesson to be learned from this book is that there are too many people out there hearing things that haven't been said and others who do not pay attention at all. The narrative gets a little disjointed at times. But the cast of characters are tied together in the end. On the serious side, there is a teenage gang leader and the kids he scares into the gang. One note: though very cute, I usually only like talking animals in fantasy novels.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Settled down for a good read..I was so disappointed, 7 Mar 2000
By A Customer
This is my second Patricia Cornwell, and I was so disappointed. I love this genre, and found her character of Kay Scarpetta very human and moving, and her plot and writing very good. But this...oh my, what can I say. The characters are one-dimensional, the plots farcical, the attempts at humour pathetic. It's hard to imagine this is the same author. The basic storyline, that of the teenage gangs, could have made for a good plot, but for me, the humour just didn't work, and put me off. I struggled through to the end, but only because I hate abandoning a book I've started.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars An absolute waste of money, 28 Feb 2000
By A Customer
Was this really written by Patricia Cornwell? It reads as if it were written by a committee - none of whom can write. Don't even think of buying it.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Was this really written by Cornwell?, 13 April 2000
By A Customer
I've read all of Patricia Cornwell's previous books and found her Kay Scarpetta stories excellent and enjoyed Hornet's Nest , but this is just a completely different kettle of fish!
The characters seemed to have nothing behind them when I feel so much more could have been mad of some (Weed for example) At times the story just seemed to be going nowhere...
I really hope that this was just a one off and that her next is up to its usual standard!
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