LaurieH118's Reviews > The Scarpetta Factor

The Scarpetta Factor by Patricia Cornwell
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's review
Feb 27, 2013

it was ok
Read on July 14, 2010

Patricia Cornwell is a terrific writer. Her prose is elegant, and some passages, especially the one at the end of the book about Christmas dinner, are gorgeous. With Kay Scarpetta, she has created a warm, wise and endearing heroine.

Yet this book kinda stinks.

The pace is excruciatingly slow! 500 pages to cover just a week in these characters' lives. And without being a spoiler, let's say that the unfortunate choice of villain highlights -- double underscores, in fact -- one of the weakest elements of the Scarpetta series.

Then there's the way Cornwell insists on treating the characters. So now Kay Scarpetta is one of the hottest things on TV, with everyone clamoring to be near her. The spotlight on her illuminates Benton, Marino and Lucy, too, making them celebrities, as well. Please! Kay is a well-spoken woman who must be in her mid-50s by now. Sad to say that's long past the expiration date on most of TV's IT girls. And then there's her profession: she's a CORONER, for pity's sake, not the celebrity judge on Project: Runway or Top Chef! She's an expert on crime, forensics and death. It's strains credibility that the public would be obsessed with her.

Then there's Lucy and Berger. On the one hand, Cornwell has even minor characters wondering aloud about Berger's sexuality and her relationship with Lucy, as if it's some clandestine, dark secret. I thought New York was more sophisticated, but OK. But then would a powerful, intelligent woman like Berger then bring Lucy -- an independent contractor with no legal standing -- along on the interrogation of a high-profile person of interest in a media-saturated case? Hard to accept and distracting.

I feel like my review has gone on about as long the Scarpetta Factor itself, so I'll close by saying that I hope that Cornwell's next addition to this series serves both her audience and her heroine better than this one did.

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