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Black Notice by Patricia Cornwell
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's review
Aug 16, 2008

did not like it
Read in August, 2008

The best thing about Black Notice are the many white pages between the short chapters. My copy doesn't even have any contents or a blurb, just the author's picture covering the back, underlining that she's sold as a must to a certain group of people I guess.

As predicted, now that Cornwell "killed" off Benton, he's suddenly much more beloved and gets more space. Kay is exactly the same, but her frequent crying and "feeling depressed" is now attributed to his loss (I will never ever buy another so I skimmed wikipedia with one eye - I'll never get to see his resurrection and omg engagement). Lucy is exactly the same, ie. not really there except in illogical bits of annoying-her-aunt (her relationship with Marino would have been the only interesting one but, as usual, off-screen).

All conversations are monologues of people talking apart from each other, which sadly does not seem to be an intentianal post-p-p-modern statement since Cornwell has never managed dialogue, though if she enhances her incompetences to make them work for her, I guess one has to give her cudos, just don't think the target audience (see above) even recognises that.

Everyone is out to harrass and hurt dear Kay, as usual, until in the end she calls in a few favours of her thousands of powerful friends that come out of nowhere, just like the many luxury items she buys in some limbo time. I've tried hard to stop rereading paragraphs to make sense of mistakes, not just in missing sentences or information, but also in contradicting descriptions of place, all the more annoying because detailing every move always made up most of Cornwell's novels. She still phones up a French restaurant owner at home instead of googling a word, so it's no surprise she skips over to Europe for a bit again.

The weird erroneous lecturing this time was about tattoos, where she tries to make a respectable parlor sound like a depraved dark den of perversion, and even then the tattooist comes across as sensible. As with e-mail, remember that in 1999 tattoos were at their new mainstream height, with every little girl and every run of the mill secretary having one, yet here this renowned crime author says it's only for criminals and gangs.

The title is once again misleading and a wasted opportunity, the Black Notice that interpol uses for unknown victims seems as irrelevant as loup-garou. Instead Cornwell spends the whole first half of the book, at least 200 pages, to rehash how many envious bad people under Kay make her life difficult. In the first novel, the backstabbing and politics were just awfully realistic, later they became grating, the pervasive bitterness that is suffered for too long and then always finally handled with a friend in a high place, unsatisfactory in both respects. Now it's another set-piece she pointlessly repeats, and of Kay's employees bound to be traitors or victims or both.

There is more oh-godding and yay-death-penalty, but again, just an escalation of her norm. Added up, I think she must do some political free lancing since she doesn't do regular work otherwise yet harps on and on about success-less people undermining the great.

The funniest line of the book was when she shouts (again) that she just doesn't cry, what with crying all the time.

Cornwell had so obviously seen the French films about perverted mishapen murderers shielded by their rich families that I couldn't believe she added nothing at all of herself, just subtracted, less than nothing. Interpol and all Europeans are idiots, it needs her flown in via Concorde (with the usual useless and unexplained Marino) to stipulate what I thought had been obvious from chapter one, ie. that the straight human hair found on the scenes signed by "werewolf" were obviously body hair. Duh?

The second to last incredulous laugh escaped me when she fucks the stunningly beautiful rich young ATF guy with the sculpted body who finds her so beautiful, sucks on her big breasts and is helpless in the face of her sexual expertise. She just uses him, but after telling him to leave her alone she then pines for his sexual expertise (yeah, what?) and then he moves to the USA.

The last laugh was when she of course lets the killer into her house again. Sadly they never succeed. The end.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Sarah Kay has an annoying habit of shunning, then pining, then shunning, then pining. She's freaking psycho. Remember how often she'd run up to Quantico because Benton sounded "off" or because she just needed to see him? Lady, you have a desk piled in paperwork and an active investigation. Do your damn job and stop acting like a teenager.

Joana Correia Exactily my thoughts. Even as a Medical Examiner I don´t see how Kay is so amazing and smart. It doesn't take much to reach her conclusions and definitly she got to be that stupid to make the same mistake over and over again. I couldn't stop laughing (when I should be crying) while reading this book.

Gerard Your review is exactly what I was feeling about this book which a book of sadness and frustration.

message 4: by Christopher (new)

Christopher Jones I read this in high school. Even I thought the drama between the characters was a bit ridiculous.

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