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! 

Book Review: The Bone Bed

I have read every single book in Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta series. The Bone Bed is book #20, yes #20. Other than James Patterson’s Alex Cross series and of course, The Black Dagger Brotherhood (which is only up to book 12), I’ve never been so devoted. Although, to be fair–I tried very hard to stay engaged with the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich, but at book 17–which I couldn’t finish–I gave up. The characters in her books never evolve; the story lines are identical, sadly–they just stopped being fun. But, I digress…

The Kay Scarpetta series is, without a doubt, my favorite series of all time. I’ve been in love with the fictional Benton Wesley since ummm…forever, and Lucy is just cool. So, I’m giddy with anticipation with each new release. (And I’d like to point out that I was a total geek and very excited when my favorite tv show–Criminal Minds (and it’s not my favorite just because of Shemar Moore, though seriously, if that were the only reason, who would blame me???)–had Patricia Cornwell in an episode last season promoting her latest Scarpetta book, Red Mist.) Which brings me to now…

The Bone Bed. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it. I didn’t hate it. I didn’t love it. The first thing that comes to mind is the level of detail regarding the technicalities of forensic pathology she went into. Yes, Scarpetta is a forensic pathologist (among other speciliaties…lawyer…) but the acronyms, chemicals, devices…I don’t know what they are, and quite frankly, I don’t care. I get that the character is really smart and we need to have a thorough understanding of what’s being done to understand the killer, but…enough is enough. (And mind you, I’m also a fan of the Rizzoli and Isles series–NOT the tv show, the actual books.)

As usual, I loved Benton in this book. Marino was essentially absent and Lucy was sort of around. The ending was somewhat abrupt, but I have to say Cornwell was clever in how she tied everything together and I never once suspected who the killer was. My personal opinion: spend more time with the characters we’ve grown to love, having them interact and fleshing out where they are in their lives, and less time on describing the latest and greatest in forensic gadgets and government acronyms.

If you’re a fan of this series, definitely read the book. It’s not disappointing–but you probably won’t love it. If you’ve never read the Scarpetta series, this should not be the first one you read–start at the beginning; definitely worth it.