Top critical review
12 people found this helpful
Still love Cornwell, just a sophomore bump in the road here
on May 15, 2005
This is not Patricia Cornwell's best book. I have read two others by her, a little out of order, `Body Farm,' which is a magnificent mystery/thriller achievement and `Postmortem' was a grand opening to what is turning out to be a wholly engrossing series I hope. But `Body of Evidence' felt like an unsure sophomore effort on the part of Cornwell. Not that it was bad, I have no real glaring complaints about this book, but on the other hand the plot was a bit clunky. I think that if you do read the entire series, which is my plan, this is an adequate book that won't leave you terribly disappointed. It just felt a little unnecessary, as if you were renting the 14th James Bond flick. The book was fun, but predictable and pretty much the same as its predecessor. All of that aside, having started in the middle of the series with `Body Farm', I know in advance that Scarpetta will undergo a series of personal upheavals that I will enjoy encountering I am sure as the novels progress.
My main complaint here (and this could be a spoiler) is that the ending is almost identical to `Postmortem'. Not only that, but it was a fair stretch to pull Scarpetta in as the victim here. I just did not buy it. Also, as she travels around, the descriptions of place were a little underwhelming as others have pointed out. I felt like the first half of the book; Cornwell was attempting to imitate some of Agatha Christie's work here. The second half of the book became a mish mash of styles that set up a wholly new genre; only it was done here unclearly and ultimately unsatisfactorily.
If you like Cornwells books, I would recommend two other authors that don't go way over the top. Denis Lehane, who wrote `Mystic River,' (perhaps the best thriller I have ever come across) also wrote a series of five books that were fun to read about a pair of detectives in Boston. Harlan Coben wrote a series of books that he is well known for (Myron Bolitar) but they are just ok. If you check out Coben's stand alone, more recent novels you will be in for a treat.