Scarpetta, now freelancing with the National Forensic Academy in Florida, digs into a case more bizarre than any she has ever faced, one that has produced not only unusual physical evidence, but also tantalizing clues about the inner workings of an extremely cunning and criminal mind.

She and her team — Pete Marino, Benton Wesley, and her niece, Lucy — track the odd connections between several horrific crimes and the people who are the likely suspects.

As one psychopath, safely behind bars and the subject of a classified scientific study at a Harvard-affiliated psychiatric hospital, teases Scarpetta with tips that could be fact — or fantasy — the number of killers on the loose seems to multiply.

Are these events related or merely random? And what can the study of one man’s brain tell them about the methods of a psychopath still lurking in the shadows?

~ Synopsis from goodreads

Oh, how I mourn the old Patricia Cornwell. It seems that each book in her Kay Scarpetta series has gotten progressively worse. I really don’t know why I bother with her stories any more. The brilliance is gone and all is left is the bizarre.

While this book wasn’t as bad as the last book of hers I read, it definitely comes close.

The plot starts with a lot of promise. There are multiple murder cases that are being investigated. As the story proceeds, we come to know that these murders may be related.

However, nothing is really simple in Scarpetta’s convoluted world.

After reading this book, I have realized Scarpetta can never solve a case unless it is personally targeted at her. I swear, in every book, Scarpetta is targeted by someone who has some sort of grudge against her or her friends. However, I am not surprised. If I had to hang around Scarpetta and her dreary friends, I might want to commit murder/suicide too.

I read this book feeling utterly fed up of Scarpetta and her friends’ narcissism and their utter disregard of other people’s feelings. They are just unable to communicate within or outside their group without being condescending, dry, pedantic, rude, and boring.

In spite of these huge flaws in the characters, I continued reading on to find out the solution to the murders and I was disappointed here too.

Spoilery Stuff Ahead

I am not sure why I am warning about spoilers because surely you are not going to read this book after I have just ripped it apart here? Anyway, still adding the warning so I can avoid angry comments later 🙂 .

The ending was so abrupt and flimsy. Throughout the book from the killer’s POV, it seems like he/she has a personal grudge against one of his victims. However at the end, nothing is revealed about the reasoning for these murders. It ends abruptly without any explanation whatever.

All in all, an utter waste of reading time, and I highly recommend not reading this book. This is now the book to beat on my worst books of 2014 list that I will put out at the end of the year.

Have you read any duds lately?

  • I hate when a good author goes bad. My Patricia Cornwell intake has been limited to the Jack the Ripper book she wrote and the Talented Mr. Ripley. But I had feelings similar to this about the Sookie Stackhouse series. Sometimes enough is enough!

    I also see you’re reading ‘The Casual Vacancy’. I hope you like it, I really did.

    Thanks for linking up with Spread the Love!

    • Nishita

      @aprilthesteadfastreader:disqus Yeah. Her books suck now. I finished The Casual Vacancy and liked it, but it was so so sad. I am still getting over how sad the book was 🙁

  • Wanton Ruminating

    Why do you do this to yourself?? I swear I feel quite violent toward Scarpetta at times.
    She is the most annoying woman in literature, I swear. Haven’t we had this conversation before?? Or is it just dejavu?

    • Nishita

      @wantonruminating:disqus We have had this conversation before 🙁 , I have no excuse, I keep hoping that if I keep going back, somewhere the series will recover 🙁

  • Priya @ Tabula Rasa

    I read The Finkler Question recently; had high hopes, turned out to be, well, kind of a dud. So I know the feeling. Just a question: How many books are there in the series? Because if the earlier ones are better(?) I’d like to read them. Or something else by her. I seem to have heard a lot about Patricia Cornwell, but can’t think of anything specific!

    • Nishita

      @Priya The Finkler Question is a dud, so sad to hear that, I’ve been wanting to read it.

      The first few books of the series are very, very good. Start with Postmortem, All That Remains, Cruel and Unusual, The Body Farm, From Potter’s Field…those are the first few books and are very good. The series then slowly starts to deteriorate afterwards.

  • The Bride

    I’m a fan of the Scarpetta books too and the latter books in the series have turned me off for all the reasons you mentioned.

    • Nishita

      @The Bride These later books are so horrible, I don’t know why they are even continuing the series. It’s the same plot re-wrapped in different covers.

  • Denise Duvall

    I’m afraid, that I have to agree with you. The first Scarpetta books were a great read and each new book now seems worse than the last. Now, they are too far fetched. The early books seemed more realistic. The whole plots with her niece, Lucy, really turn me off. She is portrayed like a superhero, an out of this world spy/action figurine. I have most of the books, but now I don’t even bother to look out for them.

    • Nishita

      @denise_duvall:disqus Yeah, she’s the worst of the lot. And her lifestyle? It’s so weird that she owns a company, has a whole hangar of motorcycles and all sorts of equipment. And in this book, this brain extraordinaire makes most basic errors of judgement. In the early books, she seemed so nice, and now it’s all just superhero like the way you put it.

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