Determined to find out what happened to her former deputy chief, Jack Fielding, murdered six months earlier, Kay Scarpetta travels to the Georgia Prison for Women, where an inmate has information not only on Fielding, but also on a string of grisly killings. The murder of Atlanta family years ago, a young woman on death row, and the inexplicable deaths of homeless people as far away as California seem unrelated.
But Scarpetta discovers connections that compel her to conclude that what she thought ended with Fielding’s death and an attempt on her own life is only the beginning of something far more destructive: a terrifying terrain of conspiracy and potential terrorism on an international scale. And she is the only one who can stop it.
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Cornwell in good form
Yes, in my opinion this is one of the better recent Scarpetta novels. It's got a good range of interesting characters and explores subject matter that's not too similar to the previous novels. At times I thought this one is less pessimistic than some of the earlier novels, though it's hard to put my finger on how.
Interesting plot twists, including one dramatic demise (there's always got to be one). Although I foresaw one of the other plot developments - and I don't think I'm particularly good at doing this - I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Like the other Scarpetta novels, it has numerous plot strands and is not spoilt if you can predict part of what's coming.
Lorelei King is a great reader of Cornwell's Scarpetta novels. She does a good job with all of the characters. With this novel she even does an Australian accent - not the easiest for a non-Australian to do and it comes out sounding a bit like a parody, but perhaps this fits the situation.
No longer at the same standard
I would definitely listen to Lorelei king (though this is probably the weakest reading of hers that I have heard), and will probably try Patricia Cornwell again - though this title puts me off a little.
I would not really recommend Red Mist. It has interesting ideas within, but I found it a little plodding in pace. This may be in part about the nature of the story. The conflict is a little emphemeral and the climactic scene seemed to me to come from nowhere and be resolved by the time you realised it was happening.
I also found Kay Scarpetta as the narrating character a little annoying in a way that has been occasionally present in other books, but not to the extent I found here. A lot of passages waxing about why what she is choosing to do is right and good. Some of what she does in this story is simply not the right, reasonable or helpful thing to do, because even if your only experience of law or forensics was Cornwell's books, it would be clear that Scarpetta was compromising the case and herself. This would be okay if someone in the story at least mentioned it and some kind of convenient reason was invented (I found myself thinking of several convenient excuses), but instead we have legions of people acting like the sort of behaviours that Scarpetta herself has criticised in past books are not ridiculous, but to be encouraged. And as it goes on, she continues to take a moralising tone to what she sees.
I'll separate this into two parts. Early on, I found myself thinking that King's performance felt a little less interesting and perhaps a little less polished (slight accent slips) than previously. A few pronunciations seemed odd, but this doesn't bother me too much as I find that pronunications of scientific procedures and terminology often vary from country to country (and sometimes even from discipline to discipline within a country) - though late in the last half hour, the word "Collegey" (rather than college) seemed to be a genuine slip.
My second thing to comment on in the Australian accent late in piece. Okay, I'm Australian so I may be hard to please on this, but it really felt like a copy of other people's faux Australian accents rather than a real attempt at the accent.
For all that I've said, it was *okay*. Just lacklustre.