Thursday, November 13, 2008

Book of the Dead & A Venfeful Longing

Title: Book of the Dead
Author: Patrica Cornwell
Date Finished: November 5, 2008
Pages: 528

Kay Scarpetta is one of my favorite fictional characters, and she "won the 1999 Sherlock Award for the best detective created by an American author" (from the back flap). I have read several of Patricia Cornwell's books and have really enjoyed watching the characters in her Kay Scarpetta novels experience so much in the realm of emotions and experiences. All main characters will go through trials and tribulations, but this book really changes my perception of one of her main characters and I'm not sure I like that.

The book opens with a scene in Rome where a young girl is being tortured in a bathtub of cold water. Her captor is asking questions and having her drink from a tumbler filled with vodka. Once her body is discovered, Kay and Benton are called to Rome to help solve the case, since the victim is sixteen year old American tennis star, Drew Martin. Several questions come up at this point, such as, why was a sixteen year old in Rome unchaperoned, why did she leave the states when she should have been preparing for her next tennis match, and was she an intentional target or just an unfortunate soul?

As the story unfolds, there are several other deaths, and Kay beings to wonder if they are all connected. Granted they do not all happen in Rome, but the circumstances behind them cause them to intertwine. This is the first book of hers that seemed to really jump all over the place. She has three locations where deaths happen and at times, it was hard to keep the different inspectors from those locations correct. Cornwell still provides a very entertaining murder mystery to solve, but something was missing.

The ending was left as a cliff-hanger, which does make me want to read the next one, just to figure out the unanswered questions.

Title: A Vengeful Longing
Author: R.N. Morris
Date Finished: November 12, 2008
Pages: 316

I found this new author in my typical way of roaming through the library and seeing what titles caught my attention. I had big expectations of this book after reading the short synopsis on the front flap.

"In the middle of a hot, dusty St. Petersburg summer in the late 1860s. A doctor brings home a fancy box of chocolates for his wife and son - a strange gift on a scorching Saturday afternoon. Within an hour, both mother and child die an excruciating death, and the doctor is immediately arrested, suspected of poisoning. As investigator Profiry Petrovich concedes, in such cases the obvious solution often turns out to be the correct solution. And in the city's sweltering, oppressive atmosphere, even he lacks the energy to delve any deeper.

But when further, apparently unconnected, murders occur on the other side of town, a subtle and surprising pattern starts to emerge. Porfiry is forced to reassess his assumptions and follow a tenuous, uncertain trail that takes him into the hidden, squalid heart of the city and brings him face-to-face with incomprehensible horror and cruelty." (front flap)

After reading that, I was hooked. However, I was kind of disappointed in the actual unfolding of the story line. As always, I enjoyed trying to figure out the answer before it was actually presented, but it was not a book I loved. There were parts of it that were very capturing and others where I just wanted to skip ahead. I don't know if it's a combination of being busy at work and trying to prepare for the upcoming holidays or if this really is an author I will not enjoy. I may try to read something else by him, but it will probably be quite a while.


Trish said...

I've never reading anything by Cornwell, but I have All that Remains on my shelf--have you read that one? Truthfully I really enjoy TV shows like this (love SVU when I catch it), but I have a hard time reading about it. Does sound really engaging, though!

Kari said...

Trish- I did read All that Remains and really enjoyed it. I really enjoy tv shows like SVU and even CSI as well, which is why I think I enjoy her books as much as I do. I would recommend giving one of her books a shot! I was really sad that this one wasn't as good as the others, but it was still a decent book. If you do read All that Remains, you'll have to let me know what you think.

Trish said...

I can't even remember now why I have the book--maybe picked it up in the airport several years ago? Anyway, I'll have to give it a shot!