I always eagerly await the release of a new Kay Scarpetta book, Along with the ‘Bones’ books they were my favorite reads when I first made the switch into more adult books from the more juvenile Sweet valley University style books. . Not only do I feel like I learn and discover new things but often I feel like I’m reading more fact than fiction.
This latest installment, Chaos, is number 24 in the Scarpetta series. We’re back with the usual suspects, Kay, Marino, Benton and Lucy – along with the regular support crew at the CFC and Lucy’s partner Janet.
I know that we have to be reminded of the past story and background, But I do find it tiresome, I ve said it before – I really wish there was a ‘recap’ chapter that you can choose to read and just a skim update in the main story. ( I find this worse when you are binge reading a series).
Despite being released in 2016 I only picked up the book this week. I don’t know why, Its been sitting on the shelf for so long I was starting to think the next instalment would be out before I read it. I think because the base storyline is so similar I find it hard to be excited about the new books, please don’t misunderstand – I enjoy the stories, they’re always different and current ( no pun intended for any of you that have already read this book!), it’s just they’re also a little bit the same when you look with the wide angle lens!
This instalment whilst aimed at one mysterious death in the park, in the middle of a heatwave, is really about multiple deaths – cause of death known, but the method a little more confusing. In the background there is a threat from an unknown source, called tail-end Charlie. Someone who is sending theats in Italian – with references to Kays childhood that people shouldn’t know and managing to evade Lucy – The Super Niece. She can’t locate where the messages are coming from or the original voice behind the synthesis. Is it the work of the infamous Carrie Grethen that has plagued more books than I care to remember? From skimming my past notes I think we first saw here in book six; From Potters Field, She was linked to Temple Gault. (who was in book #4). This for me spoils what could be a good crime story.
The Carrie story is done for me. She was good, she was bad, she was dead, she was committed, she escaped. Really? Someone just shoot her and get on with the story. The Forensic Expert we all knew has become a paranoid shell for too many books and is no longer a role model to her niece or likeable enough to be a lead character.
Back to Chaos, I enjoyed the story but I didn’t find it the usual engrossing page turner that I ve come to expected from Cornwell. It was easy to get distracted and for a 400ish page book it took me way too long to read, and I was somewhere in the 200s before anything actually happened.
A volte la vendetta e meglio mangiata fredda.
Sometimes revenge really is better served cold.
If you’re a Cornwell and Scarpetta fan its probably worth picking up to keep up with the story in the hope the next book is better, but as a new reader to Cornwell I’d suggest heading for her earlier work – the techniques may sound a little old school and I suppose redundant as available technology has changed so much but I think they’re better reads.
For anyone that’s interested here’s a list of the previous books:
- Body of Evidence(1991)
- All That Remains(1992)
- Cruel and Unusual(1993)
- The Body Farm(1994)
- From Potter’s Field(1995)
- Cause of Death(1996)
- Unnatural Exposure(1997)
- Point of Origin(1998)
- Black Notice(1999)
- The Last Precinct(2000)
- Blow Fly(2003)
- Book of the Dead(2007)
- The Scarpetta Factor(2009)
- Port Mortuary(2010)
- Red Mist(2011)
- The Bone Bed(2012)
- Flesh and Blood(2014)
- Depraved Heart(2015)