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3.2 out of 5 stars
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on May 29, 2017
I really enjoyed most of the book but the ending was drawn out. I look forward to reading the next in the series.
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on May 11, 2017
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on December 27, 2011
I gave up after the second try. Scarpetta is extremely morbid to the point of annoying. I find the last few Scarpetta novels similar. I use to love Cornwall books and is the reason I love foresic mysteries but the last few attempts are just torture to finish. I'm sorry, as much as I enjoyed reading the Scarpetta novels up to Scarpetta marrying Benton, I am no longer going to read her novels.
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on June 7, 2017
Recently Cornwell is taking the insane habit of killing a recurring character in each book, or at least this is what happened in the last two I read. I hope she will calm down, otherwise there won’t be many of them in the future!
But let’s talk about the book.
It starts with a very slow pace in the first part, so that the first corpse arrives very late. I still liked the way the author builds the whole story from Scarpetta’s point of view, exploiting the dialogues with other people, and wrap it out in just over a day.
In my opinion, however, the choice of this approach in this novel presents two problems. The first is that for much of the book, which is long enough, there are only her and a few other characters, making the development of the plot even more static. Fortunately there is Marino, but Lucy and Benton come late and seem almost insignificant in the story. The second is that Cornwell used a very similar structure in the previous book, so it feels that the latter lacks originality.
On the other hand, I do not mind at all that the case is closely related to the previous book, since it gives continuity to the sub-plots, which therefore become prevalent. This makes the book accessible only by those who have read at least the preceding one, but in this way the continuous explanations related to it become useless and contribute to the slowness of the book.
It is very difficult if not impossible to understand the identity of the culprit. In the aftermath, you realize some details that could be noticed by the reader, only that they are lost in a bunch of information Cornwell puts in her books, most of which does not have a real significance in the plot’s economy.
However, I found the scientific element used to explain the murders very interesting. A biologist like me could not help but appreciate it!
Even this time the final resolution fooled me. It comes in a single paragraph, indeed in a single period. In the hurry to know what would happen, I did not read the last clause and then in the next paragraph I found that the culprit had been hit, but I had not noticed that. For the umpteenth time I had to go back and re-read. There is nothing to do: it always happens like this.
The final chapter of the epilogue serves only to unite all the points and knocks back the rhythm that was created, leading to a conclusion without infamy and without praise.
You would ask why I gave 5 stars despite all these flaws. Well, because, taken individually, this is a well-constructed and well written book (though I don’t like some of Cornwell’s stylistic choices, but I appreciate her consistency in using them). Certainly it would have had a greater impact on me, if the former did not present a similar structure.
I know Cornwell prefers to write in first person from Scarpetta’s point of view. I admit, however, that I prefer her books written in third person, because the stories are more open and less static, and because this way she has the opportunity to explore views other than those of Kay Scarpetta, who - let’s say it - is not exactly the most pleasant person!

Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli, author of The Mentor
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on January 9, 2012
This, alas, will likely be the last Patricia Cornwell book I ever buy. I said that the last time, but after reading a few initial good reviews, hope conquered experience and I bought Red Mist. I shouldn't have. I've read all of the Scarpetta novels over the years and loved the earlier ones. The last few have been bad and getting worse. I couldn't help thinking as I plowed through Red Mist, that if this had been a first book submitted to publishers it would have received nothing but rejection slips. The plot was not believable, the characters have one emotional speed (angry/irritable) and there was little or no real tension. There's no mystery - the foreshadowing (if you can call it that) was more like being hit over the head with a mallet. And motive? Who needs a compelling motive? Add to that, just plain lousy writing, which seemed to indicate that Cornwell's editor(s) seem to give her carte blanche these days. Either that, or she's trying very hard to get out of a long contract with her publisher. Either way, don't waste your money. There are far, far more compelling mystery writers out there worth your time and attention. (Lisa Gardner, Greg Iles, Harlen Coben, Michael Connelly...)
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on January 1, 2012
I must repeat all that is written in the previous reviews ... such a loss of a once
magnificant author . There was a time I stayed up all night to finish her books.. now
I am saddened to lose that gift she bestowed upon us. And the booksigning post was very
disheartening indeed :(
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on January 4, 2012
I agree with the other comments - I was a diehard fan for years but not anymore. It's almost as if another author is writing these last books as they are not at all of the caliber we experienced in the earlier years. A complete disappointment on all accounts sadly.
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on January 7, 2012
I have to agree with a lot of the previous reviews. This book plodded along. It took 200 pages for the story to get going! Like many of the other reviewers, I used to read every PC novel but the stories have really dwindled and I think this may be the last one I buy. I wish she would go back to her old format of writing, this one was just terrible.
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This is the nineteenth Kay Scarpetta novel so far published. In this novel, Kay Scarpetta travels to a prison near Savannah, Georgia because of a letter from an inmate. The inmate is Kathleen Lawler, a convicted sex offender who some 30 years previously had been sent to prison for seducing a 12-year-old boy called Jack Fielding. Jack Fielding, as readers of this series will know, was once Scarpetta's deputy chief medical officer in Boston.

Jack Fielding was murdered, shot in the head by his and Kathleen Lawler's daughter, Dawn Kincaid, and Scarpetta hopes that by meeting with Lawler she can find some answers to his aberrant behaviour and try to assuage her own guilt over his death.

But nothing goes to plan, and nothing is as it seems. When Scarpetta meets with Lawler, she is passed a piece of paper with a mobile phone number. And when she calls, she's shocked to find herself talking to Ms Jaime Berger: high profile New York District Attorney, and her niece Lucy's estranged lover. Somehow, Pete Marino is also involved and then the death of Kathleen Lawler results in its own investigation, which involves both Kay Scarpetta's husband and niece. When will the killings stop, and who is behind them?

I enjoyed this series far better when Kay Scarpetta was helping solve the crimes, not caught up in the centre of them. It's all too convoluted, soap opera-ish and angsty for me, and I think I'll stop my Scarpetta journey here. So long, and thanks for the memories.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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on October 2, 2012
An arrogant book..could not get past 4 chapters. Written as if you needed to read all her previous books to follow the plot..who are these characters..she assumes we know & just carries on..Loved her early books but I m done with her.
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