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Southern Cross (Andy Brazil) Mass Market Paperback – December 1, 1999


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Product Details

  • Series: Andy Brazil (Book 2)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (December 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425172546
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425172544
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 1 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 1.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (553 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #898,885 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In their first appearance (Hornet's Nest, 1997), Chief Judy Hammer, Deputy Virginia West, and reporter-turned-rookie-cop Andy Brazil battled a serial killer in Charlotte, North Carolina. Now, in Patricia Cornwell's Southern Cross, the trio are dispatched to Richmond, Virginia--via an NIJ (National Institute of Justice) grant--to quell the growing gang problem and modernize the beleaguered Richmond PD. They bring with them a sophisticated computer program for tracking criminal activity and a tried-and-true methodology for reforming Richmond's men and women in blue. Unfortunately, Hammer, Brazil, and West could not have been prepared for the resentment they would confront... or the bizarre cast of characters they would find upon their arrival: Lelia Ehrhart--wealthy (and nosey) chair of the Blue Ribbon Crime Commission--whose heavy European accent renders her English dangerously hilarious; Butner "Bubba" Flunk IV--tobacco industry worker, gun collector, and UFO aficionado; Smoke--the sociopathic leader of the Pikes gang; and Weed Gardener--14-year-old painter turned master graffiti artist.

Unlike Cornwell's usual fare, Southern Cross is driven almost exclusively by an interest in these strange personalities and their surreal hometown, rather than in fast-paced thrills. The novel becomes a satire on city politics, Southern culture, the ever-tense relationship between the police and the public, and the struggles of the average man and woman with computer technology. Cornwell does fall down in a few places. First, her description of the computer virus that somehow infects police department Web sites from Richmond to New York seems a bit far-fetched. Also, her narrative, divided among three major characters, loses its focus and sags at several points. In the end, though, Southern Cross is redeemed by Cornwell's inimitable renderings of police work and the quotidian life of Richmond's many odd denizens. --Patrick O'Kelley --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

It's fortunate that Cornwell has a new Kay Scarpetta thriller (Black Notice) coming out in July, because this second novel featuring southern police chief Judy Hammer is as disappointing as last year's Hornet's Nest. The problem is elementary. Cornwell, who writes the Scarpetta novels in a first-person voice that blazes with passion and authenticity, lacks control over the third-person narration here. The tone is all over the place, veering from faux-Wambaugh low-jinks to hard-edged suspense, and the plotting is, too. Hammer and her team of deputy chief Virginia West and greenhorn cop Andy Brazil have moved via a federal grant to Richmond, Va., in order to set straight that city's policing. If only they could bring order to the narrative, which twists into an unwieldy welter of subplots. Early on, for instance, Hammer and West misconstrue as malevolent an overheard phone conversation between a local redneck, Butner (Bubba) Fluck IV, and a coon-hunting pal. From there Cornwell spins seriocomic descriptions of Bubba at work, Bubba on a hunting trip, Bubba arguing with a black cop. Among these events and those of other subplots (stymied love between West and Brazil; sabotage of the cops' Web site; the jailing of a police dispatcher; etc.) runs a more dominant plotline?the only one in the novel that exerts dramatic force?about a talented boy artist strong-armed into a gang by a sociopathic teen. There's a lot of broad, often slapstick, social commentary (mostly about class warfare) larded into all the goings-on. If Cornwell's intention is to reproduce with a snicker the chaos of a big southern city, she has succeeded all too well. 1 million first printing; Literary Guild, Mystery Guild and Doubleday Book Club main selections; foreign rights sold in France, Germany, the U.K., Italy and Norway. (Jan. 11). FYI: In May, Putnam will publish Cornwell's first children's book, Life's Little Fable.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

In 1990, Patricia Cornwell sold her first novel, Postmortem, while working at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond, Virginia. An auspicious debut, it went on to win the Edgar, Creasey, Anthony, and Macavity awards as well as the French Prix du Roman d'Aventure prize - the first book ever to claim all these distinctions in a single year.

Today, Cornwell's novels and now iconic characters, medical examiner Kay Scarpetta, her niece Lucy and fellow investigator Pete Marino, are known all over the world. Fox 2000 is actively developing a feature film about Kay Scarpetta. Beyond the Scarpetta series, Patricia has written a definitive account of Jack the Ripper's identity, cookbooks, a children's book, a biography of Ruth Graham, and two other fiction series based on the characters Win Garano and Andy Brazil.

Cornwell was born in Miami, grew up in Montreat, North Carolina, and now lives and works in Boston.

Visit the author's website at: www.patriciacornwell.com

Customer Reviews

The plot and story line are too contrived and don't pull you in.
"joyy@altavista.com"
I don't like wasting money and will waste not another cent OR library time reading any more of Patricia Cornwell's books.
Ross G. Homer
I have read all of Patricia Cornwell's books which I thoroughly enjoyed. but Southern Cross was a huge disappointment.
Denise Kofkoff

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Avid reader on November 2, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I can't understand all the horrible reviews this book got. I almost didn't read it because of them, but I loved Hornets Nest so figured I'd give it a shot and I'm really glad I did. I went into this book not expecting a whole lot due to the negative reviews, and I was pleasently surprised. I really enjoyed this book and the characters, I found it a very funny, entertaining and light story. I'm glad I didn't listen to the majority of bad reviews and hope that Ms. Cornwell will continue the series with another story involving Hammer, West and Brazil (as well as many more Scarpetta novels!).
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Betti Trapp on June 7, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I could not believe this was the same author who wrote all those wonderful Kay Scarpetta books. This book is terrible. Let me backtrack: In the very beginning, we are introduced to several characters such as Popeye, our main character's dog, who is presented as though she can think like a human. Some of the story lines come from the dog's mouth; " Popeye licked her owner's face and felt pity. Popeye knew her owner was denying the grief and the guilt she felt about her late husband's death." (How in the world could a dog, even stretching your imagination, know THAT?) Later, we meet Niles the cat, who has the same uncanny ability as Popeye the dog. There are other characters: Bubba (real name: But Fluck, wife's name is Honey), Smudge, Gig Dan, Smoke, Weed Gardener, Divinity, Wally Fling, Captain Cloud, Mr. Curry, Mr. Pretty, Mrs. Fan, ad nauseum. We are expected to accept these characters as real people. Each time I came across a new name, I took the book less and less seriously. We then meet the chairman of the Governor's Blue Ribbon Crime Commission (whose name is okay but suspiciously similar to Amelia Earhart), Lelia Ehrhart, who talks like this: " You're hanging out by a thread on a limb all alone on this one!". The only explanation we get is that Ms. Ehrhart was raised in Vienna and Yugoslavia and does not speak English well. I re-read several paragraphs, thinking my eyes had finally bought the farm, when I realized this was intentional. The plot? You won't be sure what it is until well past half of the book, but it goes something like this: Police chief Judy Hammer (groan) is tasked to clean up the city of Richmond, Virginia in the span of a one year term. She is assisted by Officer Andy Brazil and Deputy Chief Virginia West.Read more ›
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 30, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I couldn't put this book down. I wanted to see just how BAD it would get. And I was not disappointed. The book didn't make sense. The conversations were stupid (all those "ten" codes) the plot ridiculous, and characters just kept popping up out of nowhere. I'm glad I bought the paperback. If I had bought the hard cover (like I usually do) I would have had to return it. IT WAS THAT BAD !
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21 of 27 people found the following review helpful By R. L. MILLER on December 14, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
...not by a long shot. When Joe Wambaugh started playing it for laughs, he lost me as a reader. There's a section where our hero is on her cell phone and a garbled crossover from someone else's call makes her think a hate crime is being planned, when actually it's just a couple of hunters making plans. Not only that, one of these guys has an embarrassing name that's been passed down through several generations (you'd think one of his ancestors would have gotten the point a long time ago). All the bad jokes make the story line disjointed and muddled. The only redeeming factor here is that the main character is pure Cornwell--a strong female character who concentrates on her profession rather than gender politics. Chief Judy Hammer is a brass level cop who's so competent that she was brought in from the outside to straighten out a dysfunctional police force. Kind of like Cornwell's main hero Kay Scarpetta from most of her other books, an M.E. who's good enough to run a whole state's forensic pathology unit. I only hope this book isn't "The New Cornwell", where she ends up casting Scarpetta in stories that are a mix of "Diagnosis: Murder" and "Police Academy". I enjoy non sequitur humor as much as anyone else, but I began reading Cornwell's stuff for the same reason I read Wambaugh a generation ago--to get good crime stories.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 25, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The author should have bought Web-sites for Dummies as most of the computer stuff is completely wrong. Also there are many mistakes that the proof-reader should have corrected. Very little of the story ties together, as another reviewer mentions the attempts at humor just don't work. The complete bungling done by these supposed professional police earned them the resentment. I finished plowing through it as I was on an airplane and had run out of other things to read. Reading mindless trash on an airplane is OK, but this doesn't even make that grade.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 17, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I wonder where in the world an editor was. I often find that well-known authors suffer from an apparent lack of strong editing. They need someone to knock them across the head and tell them just because they sell lots of books doesn't mean they don't need to rewrite and revise! There was only one character in this book that I felt had any depth at all and he was pretty one-dimensional. I really have enjoyed the Scarpetta series, so I was looking forward to an enjoyable read. But the thinking animals,whiny characters, and horrible language in this book were too much to handle. I didn't even finish it because I didn't care about the characters or the plot. This book isn't even worth checking out from the library.
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