FBI

Book Review: Chaos by Patricia Cornwell

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Chaos (Kay Scarpetta, #24)Chaos by Patricia Cornwell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Chaos is the 24th book in the ‘Kay Scarpetta’ thriller and suspense series focusing on a medical examiner’s investigations. It is currently the last book Patricia Cornwell has written in this series as of 2016 as well as serves as the third issue in an arc about serial killer Carrie Grethen.

The novel is a slower read than usual. We spend a lot of time in Kay’s head worrying about things that we don’t know a lot about yet. For the most part, the book takes place in just a few days. Several odd deaths occur, and little by little, Kay, Marino, Benton, and Lucy connect them together with the help of various staff. It seems like Carrie Grethen has found another accomplice, and she’s sought revenge on Kay. Unfortunately, someone close to Kay pays the price in this installment. We also end the books with an incredibly concerning secret reveal about a new character who was introduced a couple of books ago. What drama!

As a three-book arc, it was definitely interesting to see the progression of the serial killer’s mind. I almost wish we had chapters from Carrie’s perspective, so that we fully appreciated her psychotic need to get revenge. That’s my biggest concern in this series right now… if an author wants to build up a huge nut as the crazy killer, we need to know why not just through other people’s views, but through the killer’s mind, too. We get that only if they provide messages in writing, make phone calls, or interact in scenes with dialog. That hasn’t much happened in this arc, so I struggled to really understand ‘why’ it was so important to hurt Kay.

As a standalone book, other than being a little too slow of a read, it was fascinating to learn all about the technology and weapons being used. It’s probably one or two levels above my knowledge base and capability of understanding the detail, but not so much I felt removed. It clicked, but I found myself skimming on occasion when we got into paragraphs about exactly how it came to be in the hands of the serial killer. The best aspects were seeing Kay’s connections with Marino and her staff. She shines with them. Not with Benton. He’s a bit too boring for her. And Lucy has been too far removed for a boatload of books, so I’ve kinda lost any interest in her. The new girlfriend and son angle is interesting, but I wish we’d met them sooner.

That said, it’s a fine ending for the arc. I’m left wondering where the books go next… she’s due for one this year, but I can’t find anything about it. I’ll get it when it comes out… this installment was a 3.5 for me.

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Book Review: Depraved Heart by Patricia Cornwell

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Depraved Heart (Scarpetta, #23)Depraved Heart by Patricia Cornwell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Depraved Heart is the 23rd novel in the Kay Scarpetta series by Patricia Cornwell. It is also the middle novel in a three-book arc focusing on a common villain who’s resurfaced from the past. To be honest, I don’t recall whether we read about Carrie Grethen in one of the very early novels, but I believe she was mentioned at some point given the books began in 1990 and the time period referenced was 1995 thru 1997 when the criminal interacted with the main characters. Sorry! After this many books read and this long of a period passing by, my mind isn’t 100% certain on everything I read (without a refresher); and I’m too lazy today to verify. Ha!

Depraved Heart was a strong book for me, although others didn’t love it as much. It’s hard to keep momentum in a series, especially when they are technical and detailed. Most of the plot of this book takes place over a 24-hour period when we focus on the legal aspects of what the FBI can and can’t do to Lucy based on a tip they’ve received and an inkling they have about what really happened in the last book in Florida. While we do have a body and an autopsy, Kay isn’t doing it herself, and she only comments on what she’s seen or heard from others. We’re not even certain who killed the woman as it could be a couple of people, but we’ll be sure in the next book when the arc concludes.

Overall, this was the kind of book where I couldn’t stop flipping pages to see what the key characters would learn about Carrie Grethen, the criminal FBI mastermind who’s been stalking them for years in the background. She’s a formidable villain and can hold Scarpetta AND Lucy at bay for their actions in the past and currently. We see very little of Benton in this book, and Lucy is only there for a few conversations. We’re almost entirely witnessing a few hours of time between Kay and Marino as they investigate a potential homicide, receive a video about Carrie and Lucy’s former friendship, and realize the crime is connected to the past.

For suspense and thrills, it’s top notch but not in terms of a chase. It’s a methodical look at how Carrie could pull off such actions from the dive ‘accident’ in Florida to the copper-mining to the murder of the starlet’s daughter in the initial crime that we think is unrelated. Watching the drama unfold was fantastic, but I like this sort of novel. If you’re looking for detailed medical procedures and analysis, this book strays from the norm. If you like connecting prior events we’ve seen bits and pieces of to something current and crazy, you should love it.

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Book Review: Flesh and Blood by Patricia Cornwell

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Flesh and Blood (Kay Scarpetta #22)Flesh and Blood by Patricia Cornwell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Kay Scarpetta series clearly shows the work of a brilliant imagination, clever plotter, intelligent and savvy mind who understands people, and intense soul. After 22 books, I’m unable to put them down… and knowing what it’s like to write a series, I’m in awe of Patricia Cornwell’s talent. With Flesh and Blood, the 22nd of ~25, she continues building and developing a set of characters I often feel are so real, they’re sitting in my living room or bedroom as I’m reading… being their usual sarcastic and bitchy selves… poking a stick in my direction to do more with my life… urging me to push the boundaries. That’s the kind of character I love to experience.

So… why just 3 stars? I think the question for this book and my opening paragraph really goes back to the definition of a book review. Is it an honest opinion of a standalone book? An opportunity to highlight what you liked about it so others might read it? A chance to just complain because you prefer to focus on the negatives? A comparison of it to other books in its genre? A focus on its place within the entire series? A commentary on how well the author conveys something (a) new, (b) different, (c) above standard, (d) comforting, (e) I could go on forever… I often see other people’s reviews and wonder… what were they thinking? do they just like to be mean? Are they so easily contented they give high ratings because they love the author? I’m not judging anyone at all, I’m merely highlighting different ways of writing a review.

That said, I ask again… why just 3 stars from me? To me, a 3 star book is one that is a good read, has interesting parts, has not so interesting parts, doesn’t stand out from the rest of its genre/series/author/type, has no egregious errors, and leaves me feeling okay but not thirsting to read a sequel or another book by the author. Given I love this series, I will read them all, but I might think twice about picking up a different series.

Flesh and Blood has all the gore, science, technology, and deep-rooted psychology I’ve come to adore in the author’s style and books. The writing is good, but not stellar. It didn’t force me to read more chapters, but I didn’t feel it was painful to read. I think it fell prey to average plot with no standout characters other than the main 4 (Benton, Lucy, Marino, and Kay). If we had a powerful viewpoint from the killer, or a strong secondary character who was loved or hated by one of the main ones, I might have latched on a bit more.

Overall, I enjoyed the book, but I wouldn’t rate is one of the higher ones in the series. I didn’t rush at night to get to bed to read. Thankfully, it was a buddy read with my friend Medhat which is always fun… so that helped since we could discuss it along the way. I’ll still be borrowing the next one from the library in March, so stay tuned for more on this series from me.

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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.

Book Review: Dust by Patricia Cornwell

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Dust (Kay Scarpetta, #21)Dust by Patricia Cornwell

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Dust by Patricia Cornwell is the twenty-first book in the Kay Scarpetta series consisting of about twenty-five (and still counting) novels in the medical and FBI thriller mystery sub-genre. I began reading the novels nearly two decades ago but stopped for a while when I ventured into other genres. I recently picked them up again and want to get current before the next one releases in late 2019 (from what I can tell thus far). They focus on a medical examiner who’s worked for the states of Virginia and Massachusetts but now runs an even larger firm where she employs security, investigative and technical staff. Her husband, Benton, is an FBI profiler. Her niece, Lucy, is a tech whiz. And her best friend, Marino, is now a cop again. All in all, I don’t particular like any of them as people; however, as characters they’re strong, complex, and challenging… hence why I keep reading these books.

In Dust, the body of a young tech whiz who was suing a company for losing some of her money, is found dead on campus. A weird dust covers parts of her body and she’s wearing underwear that don’t belong to her. Scarpetta realizes the girl has ties to a serial killer several states away, but she shouldn’t know this because Benton let a few things slip about his case. Unfortunately, his boss is out to get him, which makes the case and any next steps quite difficult. Benton comes home for a surprise weekend and helps Kay connect the dots on the cases, which leads to an all-out investigation. What is Benton’s boss hiding? How is a dead person’s DNA still showing up on new murder victims? What does this have to do with a case Kay oversaw years ago where she thought the victim was murdered but her deputy filed it as a suicide? And how connected is Lucy to this new victim since they were both working on the same tech inventions? Phone records show many people were connected in secret.

Overall, the plot is intense and complex. It’s the best part of the book. The story unfolds with a great deal of medical and technical details; some is over the top, but much of it is easy to follow. The conclusion has a nice surprise twist and made the book feel quite strong. That said, I had a few concerns which I can’t help but wonder how they slipped through in the final editing process. The reason the first victim was killed is still unclear. Unless that’s the plot of a future story, that’s a problem for me. The who/what/when/where/how of why the killer is connected to someone else in the story isn’t explored enough. It’s just dropped as a suspenseful cliffhanger mid-book, then shares a one-page explanation near the end where we’re supposed to connect the dots on our own of how it all began. It needed more development in those areas to tie things together more closely.

There were a few other incidents like this which prevent me from giving it a 5-star rating. I end up with 3.5 star rounded higher on the book sites, but I really hope the next one is cleaner. I’m ordering it this week and will buddy read with my friend, Medhat, in the near future.

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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.

Review: Predator

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Predator Book Review
3.499999 (rounded down to a 3) out of 5 stars to Predator, the 14th book in the thriller and suspense mystery “Kay Scarpetta” series, published in 2005 by Patricia Cornwell. With so many books in a series, all about crazed serial killers, each successive one needs to do a lot to step it up. I thought this one would do it, as the book focused on multiple killers and tries to understand patterns using brain research. And parts of it were great. But parts of it were too difficult to follow or understand, went off course, had character traits getting more and more annoying… so it fell in the middle of the series for me. I pushed it higher than a 3 only because of how much effort you can tell the author puts into the books, and she should be rewarded for it, as people don’t realize how everything does line up from a technical and scientific perspective — for the most part. It’s one of those series you need to take a break from for a few years, to try new stuff. Then go back. With this one, it’s very analytic from a psychology and thought-pattern perspective, less from a tracking movements of the killer’s actions. Good, but not fantastic.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can 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. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

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Review: Scarpetta

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Scarpetta Book Review
3 of 5 stars to Scarpetta, the 16th book in the “Kay Scarpetta” thriller series, written in 2008 by Patricia Cornwell. In this book, Kay takes an assignment in NYC, where she’s handling another crazy potential killer, but one who claims to have a connection to her — again. The past keeps creeping up in these novels… and sometimes it’s just too unbelievable. I enjoyed the book, and it’s better than the last few… but I’m being harder and harder on authors who write lengthy series. It has to be about more than putting out a book a year to make fans happy and to earn more money. I want depth. I need creativity. I want something new.

The good things about the book: lots of gore, detailed autopsy-type info, crazy loons for killers… it’s a good alternative to the norm of a cozy mystery or a historical fiction novel. I like how the books take me away from reality to a place I don’t believe exists, but I’m sure there are some people who deal with murderers like this every day. The other good aspect is the delving into cyber space. Given I work in technology, I love seeing all this stuff, assuming it’s well done. Sometimes it’s dummied down too much, sometimes it’s too detailed. Can’t make everyone happy all the time.

A decent book to read in the series, but still not back on track yet.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can 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. Vote in the poll and ratings. 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.

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Review: Port Mortuary

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Port MortuaryBook Review
3 of 5 stars to Port Mortuary, the 18th book in the Kay Scarpetta thriller series, written by Patricia Cornwell and published in 2010. This was the last Scarpetta book I read, as I then took a hiatus I’ve yet to come back from. I thought this was a decent book in the series, but it had some low points and it had some high points. The series seems to go thru a bit of an identity crisis when it tries to change a little direction, and this one, I am hopeful it is back on track. I’m not sure yet tho. We’re back to first person narration again, so we hear Scarpetta’s thoughts and voice, which is good. But it’s gone super-detail oriented on technology to the point where it’s less about the mystery and more about the information dump. We also have less of the supporting characters, and when we do have them, their idiosyncrasies are on full blast — too high tho. I think we need a reboot here, with some new characters and a change of atmosphere. I’m going to pick up the next book in the series soon to see if it changes or not, then I’ll decide if I’ve given up or am still in it for the long haul

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can 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. Vote in the poll and ratings. 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.

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