The Scarpetta Factor
by Patricia Cornwell
Read: Nov 18-29, 2013
Challenge: Off the Shelf 2013
Yearly count: 49
Source: Personal Copy
Blurb: It is the week before Christmas. A tanking economy has prompted Dr. Kay Scarpetta – despite her busy schedule and her continuing work as the senior forensic analyst for CNN – to offer her services pro bono to New York City’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. In no time at all, her increased visibility seems to precipitate a string of unexpected and unsettling events, culminating in an ominous package – possibly a bomb – showing up at the front desk of the apartment building where she and her husband, Benton, live. Soon the apparent threat on Scarpetta’s life finds her embroiled in a surreal plot that includes a famous actor accused of an unthinkable sex crime and the disappearance of a beautiful millionaire with whom her niece, Lucy, seems to have shared a secret past.
Scarpetta’s CNN producer wants her to launch a TV show called The Scarpetta Factor. Given the bizarre events already in play, she fears that her growing fame will generate the illusion that she has a “special factor,” a mythical ability to solve all her cases. She wonders if she will end up like other TV personalities: her own stereotype.
Review: Faithful readers will know that I gobbled up the first 15 books in this series rather quickly (nearly back-to-back, really) a few years back. Then I hit a wall (like a lot of Cornwell readers seem to experience) and took a big break in reading these books. I read Scarpetta, book 16, in July of 2012. And for whatever reason, I decided to pick this one up now. I will say that these books are not as good as her earlier books; they are not even close to her older stuff. But I guess for one a year it’s not too terrible.
I think my main issue with this book is how l-o-n-g it seemed. At times it felt like it would never end; other times the pages flew by. But overall it might have been a tad too long (or it might just have been the fact that I picked this 500+ page chunker of a book up immediately after reading a 500+ page chunker before it…)
Once again I felt as if the characters weren’t like they used to be. Lucy is just down right angry. Like all the time angry. Benton sometimes feels like he’s not even there emotionally. I still can’t forgive Marino for what he did. Kay is changing too it seems. Or maybe it’s just me wanting these books to be like the earlier installments were and they just aren’t anymore.
Either way, this series is not as good as it once was. But I will probably continue to read one a year. Why? Because I have a very hard time breaking up with authors….