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Scarpetta Hardcover – December 2, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
At the start of bestseller Cornwell's plodding 16th thriller to feature Dr. Kay Scarpetta (after Book of the Dead), the forensic pathologist—who recently relocated to Belmont, Mass., with her forensic psychologist husband—is called to Manhattan's Bellevue Hospital for reasons that don't become clear until she gets there. Oscar Bane, who voluntarily committed himself to Bellevue while denying he brutally murdered his girlfriend, refuses to speak to anyone except the high-profile Scarpetta. Bane, Scarpetta discovers, is obsessed with her. Meanwhile, someone masquerading as Scarpetta is lurking in cyberspace and supplying an online gossip site with dirty secrets about the doctor. For help on the murder case, Scarpetta turns to her computer whiz niece and a macho former colleague whose shocking actions in Book of the Dead severely damaged his relationship with Scarpetta. With a plot full of holes and frustrating red herrings, this entry falls short of the high standard set by earlier volumes in this iconic series. (Dec.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From Bookmarks Magazine
Critics agreed that readers familiar with Cornwell's series will find Scarpetta a weak addition; novice audiences will certainly want to skip over this one and start with Postmortem (1990), Cornwell's award-winning debut. Although Scarpetta is not one of the better entries to date, the thriller contains Cornwell's meticulous attention to detail (from autopsies to investigations) and edge-of-your-seat plotting. However, reviewers cited too much backstory, overly complex twists, and only mediocre characterization. The Rocky Mountain Newseven accused Scarpetta of becoming "something of a cipher," while the Guardianfound nothing to like at all. The bright spot? A thrilling, unpredictable ending.
Copyright 2009 Bookmarks Publishing LLC
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Actually, I'm one of the few readers who didn't mind the way things were before, admiring Ms. Cornwell for writing the kinds of stories she wanted to write without regard for slick readability and other lowest common denominator elements. Still, it was nice to see an injection of actual cameraderie among the central cast of Kay, Benton, Marino, and Lucy, and well as some eventual individual happiness for each.
In addition to the decent central mystery (did troubled police suspect Oscar Bain brutally kill his girlfriend or did someone else do it?), there's a subplot involving an internet gossip site that adds a little fun to the mix. A well-staged final confrontation scene and a moody, effective epilogue (set in the famous New York eatery, "Elaine's"), brings it all to a satisfying close.
Another one or two like this and I might refuse to go back to the way things were before, as "Scarpetta" has shown that it's possible for this series to showcase tough, edgy stories without the central core characters hating themselves and each other.
I saw Ms. Cornwell in an interview where she stated that she changed her writing style, making chapters shorter, because readers have short attention spans. How can a person that will read several hundred pages of writing have a short attention span? If I could say anything to Ms. Cornwell it would be, "please go back to the beginning and write that way again."
I almost put it aside as I have one of her other novels, but the more I read it attracted my attention and I am now enjoying the novel. I have not
finished the book as yet but very soon.
At many places in The Factor I was ready to quit. Not one character "came alive". The technical terms dragged on and on (and I usually am interested in learning new terms and technicalities). Even the diaglogue between and among characters was often mundane and led nowhere. I kept waiting to see it would "matter" later on......
I pushed on. I finished reading the book....and I feel empty. Disappointed. Maybe I need to find another author's series to explore? And I certainly won't save another Cornwell story to reward myself for completing some difficult task.
I would recommend this book for adults as there is necheophilia involved though not a huge part of the story.