18 January, 2012

Not so happy

Patricia Cornwell

I have to admit that i have been sorely disappointed by this book: Without having gone back to look at their reviews, i seem to remember having enjoyed the (i think) two of Cornwell’s previous works about Kay Scarpetta, a forensic pathologist (is that the term?) who is Cornwell’s primary detective. That ought to bode well for Predator, same author, same characters, same concept.

This time, though, it is completely different. I was at least a hundred pages in before it was even clear that i would continue reading, and more than a hundred and fifty before i began to understand enough to even begin to care about any of the characters (any! even the ones i’d encountered in the previous books) and whether they lived or died. That’s not a good result for an author! I think that a good portion of my disappointment is with the style or writing Cornwell uses here; she changes perspective, plot, and characters very frequently, and i found it difficult to understand what was happening where to whom, much of the time.

In addition, many of the characters, even the positive ones, are ~ or appear to be ~ unlikeable, and i didn’t like them. Furthermore, and this can be an issue with many authors who have written a number of series books, it may be that too much links to previous books, too much is assumed to be understood by the reader, when the first time (or close to it) reader even of a book well into a series still needs to be brought in and helped to understand. That did not happen here. All in all, unsatisfying and, i’m afraid, by my criterion, not a success: I won’t read another Cornwell based simply on her name and mine experience here; to be sure, i may well read another of her books, but such an action would be based on the success of others of her works i’ve read, not this one. Sad.

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