She picked her way through the bones. Stagnant puddles of decay with their heavy sweet smell. The landscape was familiar to her from a decade’s worth of travelling. Faces were the same. Names hadn’t changed. But everything was different a bit. As though everyone had overnight purchased a new wardrobe. And taken Ritalin. They are the same, but maybe not quite.
I’m 222 pages in and the biggest mystery so far is who is ghost-writing this book? Not that I mind, because after the whole FBI Lesbian Agent Church Shootout incident, her writing got more unhinged. The books went from cool crime yarns to the literary equivalent of therapeutic finger painting on a locked mental ward. But good or bad you knew, with each loving description of Lucy’s can-do sexy genius, each elaborate Italian recipe and every cursing screed of Marino’s that this was Patsy’s world and you’re just reading about it.
I maintain that Blow Fly was the last book that Cornball wrote herself. It was horrible. Just sick and slimy with awfulness. Neither Predator nor Trace has that painful “pass the Lithium” vibe. Neither, however, do they give you the sense that the person writing the books knows the characters with the same familial sense as their creator. It’s okay for the most part, because the new books are passably entertaining mysteries that don’t leave the reader feeling both nauseous and $25.00 poorer. But I do confess that I really miss the real Scarpetta, the real Marino, the real Lucy. And Bennett could have stayed dead.
The story I hope to read someday is the story behind Patricia Cornwell Enterprises–the entity who has been copywriting the Scarpetta books since Trace. I’m sure there’s a drama involving a publisher who needs to keep the franchise going, a writer who has gone twice round the bend, and some poor Virginia grad student who needs the money. That’s the story I want to read. Maybe I shoud write it myself. Or find a poor grad student in Virginia.
WHAT!?!? You have got to be kidding me. I thought we had too many disjointed characters floating around the cesspool of this story but
No. Seriously. You Did Not Just Do That, Ghost Writer Person!
Fully one-third of the characters introduced in this book turn out to be…wait for it… it’s novel…never been done before…
They are the multiple personalities of one character. What worked so beautifully TEN YEARS AGO for Margaret Atwood in Alias Grace is ridiculous and facile here. My head hurts. This is so very wrong. I now can’t decide if Putnam actually sanctioned a ghost-writer or if Patricia Cornwell+Psychotropic Medication yields the dross I’ve just read.
On the bright side, if you’re on the hold list at the library for this one, it’ll be on its way to you shortly.