Book Review: Dust

dustIt is no secret that I love a good book series (a friend of mine pointed this out while we were lounging in Tampa a few weeks ago visiting another friend). One of my all-time favorites is Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta series. The characters are so well written; I love how they have evolved over the years, along with the story lines. We’ve seen one character, Lucy, Kay’s niece, literally grow up throughout the books–it’s been awesome. Actually, Lucy is pretty awesome, but that’s another story entirely. Back to the topic at hand…

Dust, is the 21st book in the Kay Scarpetta series. One of the kudos I have to give Cornwell with this book was how she eased up on the ‘technical speak’ throughout. It was as if she heard my plea for this very thing! In the past, some of the books in the series have been so rife with acronyms and descriptions of spectrometers and various other instruments that I have either zoned out or skipped over parts all together–there I said it. And while I’m confessing, I’m going to put it out there that I have been in love with Benton Wesley, Kay’s husband, (and yes, a fictional character), forever now. As usual, I digress…

True to form, there is a murder–several actually–and a colorful and intriguing dust is left on the bodies. There’s corruption at the FBI, cue lots of Benton!  A job change for Marino. And somewhat new to the fray, there was sarcastic humor, which made the interaction between characters that much more fun.

One drawback, and this has become the case in the last few books, Kay has come across as somewhat whiny and self-absorbed. For the most part, it was confined to the early part of the book and was tempered by the fact that it did help us glean further insight into her relationship with Marino via a never-before-scene from their Virginia days. Additionally, she spent a great deal of time explaining Benton’s actions, thought process, and feelings to us–which at times was interesting, but also somewhat took away from his mystique. (But don’t get me wrong–I’m still in love with him.)

All in all, I liked the book. It seemed short and the reveal of the killer, while intricate, was a bit of an after-thought. There was so much detail to follow on the FBI cover-up that you felt detached from the actual killings that were taking place–and hence, the premise of the book. Personally, I’d like to see the next book be a bit longer with more of the personal character interactions, continued humor, and a primary story arc. Then again, Dust has me thinking that Cornwell is setting the stage for more mysteries in the Scarpetta series–and I can’t wait!

Blog Note: As is the case with all things, they evolve–and my blog is no different. Stay tuned for expanded reviews, a rating system, a new look in 2014, and more! 

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