Book Review: Red Mist by Patricia Cornwell

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Red Mist (Kay Scarpetta, #19)Red Mist by Patricia Cornwell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After reading dozens of cozy mysteries, I had a craving to get back to the hardcore suspense thrillers I used to enjoy. I flipped through my To Be Read (TBR) pile and was reminded of the fantastic ‘Kay Scarpetta’ series by Patricia Cornwell. I read 18 of the books in the earlier part of this decade but stopped when they were getting a bit repetitious. Nearly 5 years later, I ordered the next in the series, Red Mist, and eagerly dove into it. I’m so glad I picked now to start up the series again as it was a fantastic book and supercharged my desire to read the last 5 so I’m fully caught up in the series.

Dr. Kay Scarpetta is a renowned medical examiner, doctor, professor, special investigator, government contractor, et al. The list could go on forever. Everyone wants her to be on their unique and puzzling cases, but there are also many who want to see her ridden from the world. She’s tough. She’s stubborn. She’s been nearly killed a few times. And she loves tracking down serial killers. In this latest edition, Kay is determined to find out what happened to her former right-hand man in the ME’s office. Fielding worked for her, disappeared, worked for her again, disappeared, then was killed in a previous book. The killer came after Kay, too, but failed. We know it was Fielding’s secret daughter (begotten while he was sexually abused by a psychologist when he was 12 years old). What we don’t know is all the things that happened since that point. Kay visits the psychologist in a Georgia prison. She’s been jailed for other crimes in recent years but has hopes for early release. Kay chats with her, learns some secrets, and is then shocked to discover connections with other national cases where people have been murdered in the last few years. How does it all connect?

Ten pages into this book, I knew I’d waited too long to pick up the series again. I missed Kay despite how ornery she can be. It’s almost the reason I love her so much. Cornwell is a great writer. Strip away the medical jargon, frequent technology drops to seem current, or the science terminology, and you’re left with brilliant writing. She strings along phrases and images that pop and draw you in tightly. That said, sometimes the other parts are so over the top, I find myself skimming some paragraphs if it’s a topic I’m not interested in. For example, when there are a few pages about how all the security cameras work, I’m like… ‘hmmm… three sentences, yeah, cool… three hundred, no, I’ll push forward a few pages.’ But then she’ll go into details about DNA and I’m all aboard for the minutia. It’s a matter of taste. I’m willing to ignore some of the jargon because no author can appeal 100% with this stuff to 100% of their audience. It doesn’t affect my rating either, as it’s surface stuff.

I’ve given this one a 4 for a few reasons. Apart from the stellar story and gifted writing, there are a few niggles (to borrow a friend, Shalini’s favorite word). I feel like the plot twist / culprit connection has been partially done before, possibly by Cornwell in previous books. It’s a good one, but it could have used a slightly different arc to make it even more vivid. I also thought the book didn’t explore her relationships with the supporting characters as much as it should have. She connected with Lucy in a big way, which was fantastic. Yet her time with Benton and Marino was lackluster compared to previous installments. On the flip side, Cornwell’s choice to kill off a semi-major character was shocking and saddening for me. All in all, I’m glad she did it, as I think it moves the story forward.

Based on this one, I’m psyched to push thru the rest of the series and am ordering the next one tonight so that I can read it right after the new year. Anyone else a fan?

View all my reviews
About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. There are two books: Academic Curveball and Broken Heart Attack. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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32 thoughts on “Book Review: Red Mist by Patricia Cornwell

    Lisa@LismorePaper said:
    December 21, 2018 at 6:52 AM

    I love this series! Kay is one of my favorite characters of all time. I eagerly await the release of the next book. I think with so many books, I find some mimic past books. Overall, I enjoy and devour them within a day.

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      December 21, 2018 at 8:15 AM

      I know what you mean I’m glad to be back. I hope to catch up by April to read the next. Not sure when it will be released yet.

      Liked by 2 people

    The Cozy Pages said:
    December 21, 2018 at 7:17 AM

    Cozy break. Lol. But this does sound good. I have to admit that I often find myself either using or wanting to use ‘niggles’ too 😄

    Liked by 2 people

    thebookwormdrinketh said:
    December 21, 2018 at 12:04 PM

    I love Patricia Cornwell! I did the same thing, though. I started out strong and got a little bored… It didn’t help that I was alternating between her and Kathy Reiches at the time… They’re a little too similar. Strong female lead, put in peril, lots of medical jargon, etc. I should probably try to jump back in!

    Liked by 2 people

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      December 21, 2018 at 12:42 PM

      It was a lot better having waited… might be good to try again. Where did you leave off? We could buddyread one!

      Liked by 1 person

        thebookwormdrinketh said:
        December 21, 2018 at 12:46 PM

        Actually, I feel like I’m only a little elbehind you. I’ll have to double check, but I think the last one I read was the scarpetta factor…

        Liked by 2 people

        James J. Cudney IV responded:
        December 21, 2018 at 12:47 PM

        yep, there’s 2 others i think. ooh,i think you need to catch up soon so we can!

        Liked by 2 people

        thebookwormdrinketh said:
        December 21, 2018 at 12:57 PM

        Sounds like a plan!! 💖💖

        Liked by 1 person

        James J. Cudney IV responded:
        December 21, 2018 at 12:47 PM

        i just unfollowed you, then refollowed. still not getting your posts in reader, so I changed it to email me. Then I know when you’ve posted!

        Liked by 1 person

        thebookwormdrinketh said:
        December 21, 2018 at 12:57 PM

        That’s so weird! I’ve even been double checking that I’m on the reader now. I’ve actually had to take my posts down a couple of times and re-post them so it shows up.
        But, I’ve been having that issue with people as well… I just started going through email, as well.

        Liked by 1 person

    Shalini said:
    December 21, 2018 at 12:35 PM

    My niggles are world famous… Hehehe… When I don’t use them, I am asked about it… 😂 😂 😂
    Thank you for the shout out my darling friend…
    And I love Kay Scarpetta, I used to devour her earlier books… Till it got a wee bit repetitive. But I loved her description of gore and gruesome… 😂 😂

    Liked by 2 people

    foodinbooks said:
    December 21, 2018 at 4:09 PM

    I can definitely relate to having stopped reading her books a while back, for the same reason that you list, as being repetitive. That said, this book sounds fascinating, although the story line involving Fielding’s daughter made me gag. I don’t suppose I could persuade you to privately message me and tell me which semi major character gets killed off?😉

    Liked by 2 people

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      December 21, 2018 at 4:10 PM

      Of course! I’d be happy to if you really want. 🙂 it was such a crazy story

      Liked by 1 person

        foodinbooks said:
        December 21, 2018 at 4:12 PM

        Yes please. I don’t have time to actually read it right now because I’m so busy so I’d love to know who kicks the bucket. One of the things I always liked about the Scarpetta books is that they’re similar to the Game of Thrones series in that the creator has no problem and killing off just about anybody. Yes please private email me and tell me who bit it!😁

        Liked by 2 people

        James J. Cudney IV responded:
        December 21, 2018 at 4:21 PM

        Absolutely. As soon as I get home later I will email you. I totally understand the busy schedule.

        Liked by 1 person

    tylerus said:
    December 22, 2018 at 12:12 PM

    I used to love the KayS character / series . . . but found the character started to annoy me and stopped following/reading. Maybe it’s time to give it another go. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      December 22, 2018 at 4:33 PM

      It might be. I’m reading another one this coming week… if I can handle 2 in a row, then I might be able to finish up the series next year!

      Like

    Karina Pinella said:
    December 29, 2018 at 3:14 PM

    I’ve read all her fiction books. I wish she would continue with the Andy Brazil series though.

    Liked by 1 person

    carhicks said:
    December 29, 2018 at 7:40 PM

    Yes, I do love this series. I got a bit upset a few books before this one as I felt it went a bit off track, but it got back on. I have this one (physical book) on my shelf at home as this is where i left off as well. I should take a look at it when I get back home. Nice review Jay, you have rekindled my interest in a series that I really enjoyed in the past.

    Liked by 1 person

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