Book of the Dead
by Patricia Cornwell
Read: Dec. 24-27, 2010
Challenge: 2010 100+ Reading Challenge; RYOB 2010
Yearly Count: 67
First Line: Water splashing. A gray mosaic tile tub sunk deep into a terra-cotta floor.
Blurb: Starting over with a unique private forensic pathology practice in the historic city of Charleston, South Carolina, seems like the ideal situation for Scarpetta and her colleagues, Pete Marino and her niece, Lucy. But then come the deaths… A sixteen-year-old tennis star, fresh from a tournament win in Charleston, is found nude and mutilated near Piazza Navona in Rome. The body of an abused young boy is dumped in a desolate marsh. A woman is ritualistically murdered in her multimillion-dollar beach home. Meanwhile, in New England, problems with a prominent patient at a Harvard-affiliated psychiatric hospital begin to hint at interconnections among the deaths that are as hard to imagine as they are horrible. Scarpetta has dealt with many brutal and unusual crimes before, but never a string of them as baffling, or as terrifying, as the ones facing her now. Before she is through, that book of the dead will contain many names – and the pen may be poised to write her own.
Review: (There will be SPOILERS in this review). This is the 15th book in the Kay Scarpetta series. Overall, I felt as if the plot line was much better than the last few in this series have been. But, I do have a few issues with this book (and the series, really). First, let me just state: Pete Marino is a jerk with a capital J. Ms. Cornwell has managed to take a rough, yet likable, character and just totally ruin him and turn him into a disgusting excuse for a man. And Kay, well, if she forgives Marino one more time for a unexcusable offense, I think I will throw up. In general, the characters have really gone downhill as far as their characteristics go. Lucy hasn’t been in a good mood ever since the tumor was found. Benton, well besides the fact that you “kill” him off to bring him back 2 books later, has some serious communication problems when it comes to his feelings and Kay – and he’s a psychiatrist of all things, he should know better! But what really gets me is the fact that Dr. Scarpetta can’t stay in one place! In the last two books, she has moved to 2 different places (Florida, then South Carolina). And, having picked up Scarpetta, the 16th book of this series off my shelf to read next, I know that Kay has once again moved (Boston/NYC). I don’t know why Ms. Cornwell can’t just let her be in one place, all this moving is confusing. You meet new supporting characters, and then never hear from them again because she has once again picked up and moved. Anyways, I guess if you take away all my gripes and get down to the storyline, it’s slightly disappointing as well. There’s all this lead up to the who-dun-it part of the book, and then the killer is revealed (no big shocker, but somewhat of one) and then he’s effectively caught and imprisoned with only a slight mention in two sentences. Really? That’s how you’re going to end this book? Not sure I really care for this series anymore. I know of quite a few people who have given up on this series simply because the writing is not up to par with her early books and the characters are no longer enjoyable. It may be time for me to hang up Dr. Scarpetta as well. I suppose I will give it two more chances (since I have two more books on my shelves), after that I’m not sure I will pick up the latest installment (Port Mortuary) anytime soon.