Monday, February 2, 2009

Improvement but undecided - Patricia Cornwell's Scarpetta

Ever since finishing Cornwell's Predator in disgust I vowed never to be sucked in and read another Cornwell Scapetta novel again. Ever.

Marc Ruby's review of Predator says it all. Plus the really short chapters annoyed me - I couldn't work out if whether Cornwell was trying something new for the hell of it or cos she thought it would help build any suspense or anything.

Well, never say never!

Just finished the latest Scarpetta. Good news is that it is an improvement, but bad news is that I'm not sure it matters anymore. The suspense and thrills just aren't there and the red herrings a little too obvious.

More problematic is that mid way through the book, and it takes her half the book to get the main characters together, you kind of lose track of why you care about the murder and who did it! Also the villian is just sooo obvious, oh from about page 3, it's hard not to think - c'mon that's it?? Oh yeah call me cynical but happy families ending struck such a false note to it all.

I just get the feeeling Cornwell doesn't know what to do with her characters anymore and so just keeps inventing these rather contrived stories. It seems every new book, Kay Scapetta has a new job or moved to new state. I think it is time to gracefully let them retire.

While I've got the claws out - the back cover of my version has a pretty scarry picture of Cornwell. Three words - "major plastic surgery". Actually let me add two more - "gone crazy".


tseen said...

No, no, no! You said NEVER again! (and I believed you...!)

I haven't touched one since _Black Notice_. They're so bad, not even in a 'so bad they're good' way. I think she needs to retire on the dosh she's got and get on with life without any more Scarpetta (or any other writing, really, as I think the talent in her first few books might've been a fluke, and she's a better author when no-one knows about her).

Cornwell aside, I have been reading just about every Kathy Reichs novel, even though they have often turned Scarpetta-ish. They're increasingly annoying me so I think I'll have to pull the plug on them, too.

Phew. I think I need to stop ranting now. You'll be pleased to hear I'm finally around to reading Forsyth (Jackal). Almost finished! Also have 4th Protocol waiting to be read.

Book Boy said...

yeah i know i just can't keep away from cornwell - even when i know the payoff is not there.

yeah i went thru a Reichs stage but stopped after Cross Bones which i thought was soooo bad.

Anway, check out her site

the intro gave me a head spin!!!! Someone went crazy on flash player!!!

what do u think of FF?

you must read FF's Icon - it's fantastic - now reading his book of short stories - The Veteran.

I can't believe i've become such a FF fanboy!!!

scp said...

I'm in the mood for more crime thrillers...I was going to try out Patricia Cornwell or Kathy Reichs. Oh no....or maybe I'll start reading Elizabeth George - got hooked onto the TV series because it stars the guy who used to look like Keanu Reeves who played Mr Rochester in Wild Sargasso Sea - and he played some guy whose mother was a Gorilla in a 90s BBC drama...if only I could remember the title.
Oh no is PC that bad? But if PC is that bad surely bookboy wouldn't keep going back to her ;)

Book Boy said...

Oh SCP do read the first few PC's books, especially Postmortem, Body of Evidence, All that Remains.

They are brillant. I remember discovering them in my second year of uni and staying up to 2-3am devouring them instead of studying for exams!

Just stop at all books published post 2000. Cos unfortunately that is where she loses the plot.