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Monday, January 11, 2010

Scarpetta Factor (on my new Kindle) - Patricia Cornwell

This book was my first Kindle purchase - VERY exciting. A Kindle is an electronic reader, if you haven't heard of one before. You can see all about them here. I am loving my Kindle. I can fit 1500 books on this thing!! And I can get bunches of books for free. I will still use the library for most of my at-home reading, when I travel, which is a lot, this will be the first thing I pack. I got a killer red cover, and a new purse it will fit in, and I am good to go. The only problem I've found so far is how to spend those first ten minutes in the air when they wont' let you use any electronic devices. That puts a bit of a cramp in my style, but if that's my biggest problem, I think I'm doing ok. My sister got this gift for me, and she basically rules.

Now on to the book. The Scarpetta Factor is a novel by Patricia Cornwell who's written a long series of murder mysteries featuring an awesome female coroner named Kay Scarpetta. She's also written some other murder mysteries, but I like the Scarpetta's the best. However, I haven't read her last few novels because for a while there they just weren't very good. She was in a bit of a writing slump, it seemed, although she was still getting published. but I heard this one was better again, so I got it. I enjoyed it, but it's not nearly as good as her earlier books, and that's always kind of disappointing.

There are a few points where the writing seems really dumbed down, and I did not like those parts. This story is also full of flashbacks, which are necessary in a novel that's a ways into a series because a reader may have missed some of the first books. However, there are too many of them, often repeated ones, and they're not very well done, so that was a negative, too.

One of the reasons I have really liked Scarpetta is because she's a smart, no-nonsense, powerful woman. She's a scientist, so she's logical and rational, but she's also thoughtful and has strong relationships, most notedly with her niece Lucy and with a detective friend she's worked with forever. however, some of these things seem to have broken down in this novel. The super smart Kay Scarpetta is making stupid mistakes - doing things even I know better than to do, and it's an inconsistency in her character that does not help the novel. Well, I guess it does help the plot along in this case, but it makes it less believable because really, Scarpetta would NOT have done some of these things. It's a little annoying.

The way mystery novelists weave a bunch of characters together is always amazing to me, and Cornwell really does this in this novel. All these people who seem to be unrelated are, in fact, highly interconnected. If you think about it too long they're actually TOO interconnected, but it's a story, right? You've got to let some things go.

Overall, this was not a classic crime novel, but it was good and it was a fun first purchase for my new Kindle.

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