Leslie's Reviews > Red Mist: Scarpetta

Red Mist by Patricia Cornwell
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Dec 04, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: thriller, crime, audiobook

I'm an old fan of the Kay Scarpetta novels having read the earlier books and enjoyed them immensely. When I was offered the opportunity to review the audio version of the newest release I agreed and looked forward to getting reacquainted with an old friend, so to speak.

The story opens with Kay Scarpetta traveling to the Georgia Prison for Women for an interview with an inmate who has information on the murder Jack Fielding, Scarpetta's former deputy chief. But this is just a ruse; the prisoner slips her a note to meet with Jamie Berger, a NY District Attorney familiar to Kay. Scarpetta knows she is being manipulated but she doesn't know why and agrees to meet with Jamie. And then people start to die.

What I realized as I got further into the story was that this book picked up where the previous book, Port Mortuary, left off and that I missed a lot of changes in Scarpetta's character over the last half of the series. She now appears to be angry and even paranoid. In the previous book someone tried to kill her; I suppose that would make her paranoid.

The novel is written from the perspective of Scarpetta. It does get detailed and at times technical but not so much that the reader will get lost. She throws in interesting facts about forensic science which I find fascinating. Although I didn't read the previous book it was not a problem in following the plot. Patricia Cornwell gives us the background information we need which is why I still find her to be one of the best crime fiction writers. It took me an hour or two of listening and then the story began to take off.

The story was satisfying and had a few unanticipated twists that made for a good conclusion and one I didn't see coming. The ending did wrap up quickly but we got our answers; mystery solved. You could jump into the series at this point with book #19 and enjoy it. Of course you would be missing a lot of the background and character development but you can always go back and read the earlier novels for that, which is what I intend to do now because I realize how much I enjoyed this series.

The narrator was Kate Burton and this was my first time listening to her read. I found her believable, if a bit monotone, as Scarpetta. Her change in accent made it clear when she switched to a different character or even gender. One of the ways I judge how good the audio is is by how many days it takes me to listen. I finished this one in 4 days, which is fast. Recommended for Scarpetta fans and those who like forensic science mysteries.
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