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on December 19, 2011
I've read all of the Scarpetta novels and after the last 2, vowed never to read another one as I've watched Kay et al slide inexorably down the slippery slope into tedium, repetition, predictability and implausibility. However, last week Cornwell came to our local bookstore and so off I went in the vain hope that if she was actually putting in an appearance in our humble neck of the woods then she MUST have something worth offering. The event was extremely well attended with much overflow milling about in the aisles and generally raising the blood pressure of her "security" (a young man with a Secret Service-looking curly wire hanging out of his ear) and the event organizer who would have been right at home in the Catholic school of which I have shuddering memories. Suitably chastised into order, the tension mounted as we were promised the imminent arrival of Cornwell ("how excited are you??") for 20 minutes. Which is exactly how long we were given. No reading from Red Mist, 20 minutes of questions and answers, and on to the book signing. No dedications please, no conversation or questions (probably just as well as I don't think that my comment of "I hope this is better than the last one" would have gone down very well) - just an illegible scrawled signature and on to the next in line. Move `em along and rack up the dollars. I spent longer trying to find a parking space than I did in the esteemed author's presence. I left clutching my hardback copy for which I paid $$$ and wondering vaguely what had just happened.

Feeling somewhat disgruntled I settled in at home with a pot of tea and The Book. 120 pages later I felt the panic starting to creep in. 50 pages further on I was tempted to fling myself on the floor kicking and screaming. A couple of days later when I had finished it (not all in one sitting - I can only take so much at once) I was leaning towards returning the book and demanding my money back. I mean, it's not as if you can even read the signature! As many other reviewers have stated, Red Mist is an incredibly disappointing novel. Cornwell seems to have reached the sad but often inevitable place that many authors with an initially much loved character reach - she's quite simply run out of steam. It pains me to admit that I no longer like any of her characters; although I must admit to never having liked Lucy. She becomes ever more sociopathic (a word that Cornwell herself used to describe her at the signing) but not in a Dexter-ish way. Benton quite simply should have remained dead. Marino continues to barge about in his boorish/boring manner. Scarpetta has lost the clever edginess for which she was first famous and has simply become an angry, paranoid shrew. Dialogue is weak, plot lines are unlikely, unnecessary repetition is rampant.

Watching Cornwell at the book signing was actually like watching the demise of the Scarpetta novel. One got flashes of humor, breif connection with her audience and semi-interesting tidbits. Then reality hit and you realize that this is about the business of selling novels and content does not really seem to matter anymore. However for me, the proof of the pudding IS in the reading and this is a particular flavor that I wont be indulging in any more. RIP Kay.
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on December 6, 2011
This is the most excruciatingly dull novel I have read in many years, and I read a lot.

I actually am a long time fan of Cornwell and Scarpetta and have read all her books in this series but I could not even finish this one. My rule of thumb is to read at least 100 pages of any book once I start reading it but this was one of a handful of times when I simply could not see wasting any more time after that on a story with such achingly dull characters and a nearly unfathomable plot line when there are plenty of other good books out there waiting to be read. As much as I hate to say it, in my opinion this book is not worth your money or your time. Case closed.
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on December 25, 2011
Unlike other readers, I did not find the book boring at all. I guess TV programs like CSI here, there, & everywhere have made this type of mystery too slow for some folks. What I did like about the book is a return to somewhat normal relationships & personalities for the regular cast. Kay's insecurities & the food are back, but Kay is not overly neurotic as in the last several books. Benton is a little flat, but is coming back as husband/FBI profiler. Marino is back to being a friend, rough & grouchy, but protective & part of the family. Lucy is way less psycho & seems to have regressed to the little girl computer whiz of the earlier books (which is actually refreshing considering what a far out nut she had become). OK, not the best book but it gives me hope that Cornwell is moving in the right direction & future books will be more like the earlier ones where the plots were believable, the main characters were sympathetic, & there were no soap opera antics like Benton's return from the dead to slay a vampire-like character a few books ago. This book gives me hope that Cornwell will do better & keep us supplied with some more good Scarpetta novels in the future.
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on December 7, 2011
I always try the new Scarpetta books because I so loved Patricia Cornwell's earlier writings. But, it is torture to finish them and half the time I cannot finish them. They make ME angry and hostile! With each new book, I hope she has taken her negative reviews to heart about all the negativity, anger and hostility her books are fraught with. However, for so many of her last several books, I just hate the tone of her characters....Scarpetta's always so self-righteous and angry, analytical, ad nauseum, about everybody's ulterior motives, personal failings, personal afronts; Morino's pig-like behavior; Benton's distance, coldness and her relationship with him that is so conflicting that I'm not sure what Cornwell wants the relationship to be; etc., etc., etc., same old boring stuff; I could almost lip sync it. Patricia Cornwell needs to seek some serious psychiatric care. Sigh..... What a waste of what used to be such a fabulously interesting writer.
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on December 14, 2011
I am a fan of Cornwell but this book was a disappoinment. Way too much rambling and not enough action. The plot was interesting but I found my self skipping over the story just get to the end. This is not a page turner by any stretch. The way her husband and neice are treated - like strangers that were in the way - did not sit well. Something was missing in this book.
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on December 17, 2011
Patricia Cornwell novels have become a joke. As a fan who loved her first several books, it is difficult to comprehend what happened. The novels are boring, self-indulgent, with unbelievable conspiracy plots at every turn, and no matter how hard the author attempts to shock, I barely care about what happens to any of the characters anymore. Any interesting original plot lines are long gone, and the books could be reduced to quarter of their size and you would not miss a thing. Same old, same old. Not even sure why I continue to slog through these, but I suppose hope dies hard. Sad and definitely not worthy a space on my bookshelf.
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on December 31, 2011
I want to add my voice to those of all the others here who lament the decline of the Scarpetta series. Like many of the reviewers here, I have been a Cornwell fan for many years and loved her earlier novels. Some, like The Body Farm, are masterpieces. But the detailed descriptions of innovative forensic techniques that made earlier works so fascinating have been lacking in the last few Scarpetta novels. Also gone are the details about Kay's day-to-day life that made the earlier books so engaging, for example, when Bev at the seafood store tells Kay to use a Vidalia onion in the crabcakes that she makes in Unnatural Exposure or when Kay designs a gold Whirly-Girls necklace as a Christmas gift for Lucy in The Last Precinct. Finally, the sense of suspense that made the earlier novels so exciting is not found in the last few, for example, wondering what left the sparkles on the bodies of the victims in Postmortem or what made the circular impression on Emily's body in The Body Farm.

The last few novels have been ponderous, redundant, and poorly paced. The characters - including Kay - have become caricatures, so we no longer care about them. The hardcover edition of The Body Farm is 320 pages long; the last few Scarpetta novels have been approximately 500 pages long. Length in and of itself is not a bad thing, but plot and character development need to be sustained for the duration of a work. Cornwell should return to the spare elegance of the earlier Scarpetta works.
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on December 7, 2011
Please save me from these depressing characters! I think I am pretty much done with Scarpetta unless Ms. Cornwell can spice up the next one. I could not even finish this one. Like a previous reviewer said, there are too many good books out there to waste my time being bored!
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on December 14, 2011
This book was so boring! There wasn't any suspense at all. Benton, Lucy and Marino were just after thoughts. I finished the book but it was a struggle. This is a truely dispointing book from Patricai Cornwell. Hope her next book will get back to the basics of solving diffcult murders with all kinds of twist and turns. If you are a die hard fan you will probably read this just because but don't expect much intrigue.
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on December 19, 2011
I have to agree with many of the reviews I've read; I just wish I'd read them before I purchased this book on my Kindle. Each book in the series has become more and more tedious. The characters are depressing, and Scarpetta's poor pitiful me act has grown old. I struggled to the end of this book, but it's the last one I'll read.
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