Anne's Reviews > Scarpetta

Scarpetta by Patricia Cornwell
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Dec 10, 08

I'm not sure what motivates me to read the Scarpetta books. I know that I always want to like them much more than I actually do. I think I find the author an interesting character and her recent coming out has added to that. But I honestly have to say that her books will never rank among my favorite mysteries. It's not the writing, for there were many lovely sentences in Scarpetta. In fact, I noticed more than in previous books that she writes really well in places. It's the plotting I believe she falls down on.

This latest in the Scarpetta series is better than the last several have been - easier to follow, keeping the characters, plotlines and locations more in sync with each other. However, I'd still found it hard to stay with and ended up skimming the last 50 pages. The crime that is the center of this novel seems somehow "unworthy" of gathering all these players together to throw every resource available at solving it. The resolutions of some dangling plot lines from earlier books are unsatisfying. I wish her characters would have a direct conversation that lasted more than a line or two and could actually get somewhere. We're always told how blunt Scarpetta can be, but I don't often see it, myself.

And there's the equally frustrating introduction of some seemingly inconsistent character behaviors - an example would be Benton suddenly having a wandering eye - and then no more about it. The author alludes to Benton and Scarpetta not having sex. Good lord, tell me more about that. Does Kay object? Not say anything at all? Have they talked about her near-rape experience? Aargh. I know it's a mystery, but I've heard Cornwell say she wanted to concentrate more on the characters in this book. I think she just dipped her toe in the water.

At least Lucy gets some action with the beautiful Jamie Berger, but there wasn't enough clarity there either. I don't know how these people get along with each other when they expect everyone to be a mindreader - including the reader. I'm not asking to be told what the characters are up to, but I do want to be shown.

Having said all of that, I still find Kay Scarpetta strangely compelling, as is Patricia Cornwell, and so I'll continue with the series if she will.

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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Bett (last edited Dec 12, 2008 05:14AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bett I know what you mean about Cornwell, and about the Scarpetta series. When I first started reading them in the early nineties, they were great. I thought the cast of characters were well developed and interesting, especially the tightly wound Dr. Scarpetta herself. I couldn't bring myself to even read the last two, but I just recently bought both The Book of the Dead and Scarpetta and plan to read them both this weekend.

My interest hasn't anything to do with Cornwell herself; I find the tidbits and updates about her private life more irritating than anything else. I was in love with Scarpetta, and I was disappointed when the last few books in the series didn't do her justice. Based on the reviews the latest one is getting, I decided to catch up. I'll let you know what I think.

message 2: by Alm (new) - rated it 3 stars

Alm Melson Cornwell came out? And I missed it? When did that happen?? :o)

Bett Bett wrote: "I know what you mean about Cornwell, and about the Scarpetta series. When I first started reading them in the early nineties, they were great. I thought the cast of characters were well developed a..."
I did read Scarpetta, and I enjoyed far more than the last few in the series. I liked the resolutions she gave to Kay and Benton and Lucy.

Katherine I agree with Anne. The years have not treated the series well although I usually hold out hope and read the newer books in the series. I have this idea that the author thinks she is Scarpetta and that she is the most fascinating and sexually alluring woman in the world. Even though this is just my own feeling, I still find it amusing and/or irritating.

Stephanie I completely agree with what you mean about expecting us to be mind readers. The conversations never seem to get to the actual problem of whatever the characters are facing, and it's not interesting! It just skims over the top of these characters lives. Like we should be content with teaser trailers...but unfortunately, there's no actual substance beneath it.

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