Today’s book: “Red Mist” by Patricia Cornwell.
I’ve been reading Patricia Cornwell’s books since I was little. I have many fond memories of my aunt passing along her Kay Scarpetta paperbacks when I went to visit her in Atlanta. Those books reside on my shelf to this day. On occasion, I still go back and reread them. Since I grew from a little kid nerd into a huge adult nerd, the mix of mystery, action, and science in the forensic thrillers is still addictive. Unfortunately, Cornwall’s writing is not.
Generally, the Kay Scarpetta series allows new readers to follow along regardless of their familiarity with the previous books. Although there is certainly a continuity to the series, Cornwell gives background to the characters and storyline so that anyone can follow and enjoy. This book? Not so much. It opens with dense, clunky dialogue that fails to explain anything that’s going on. Even being familiar with the series was no help. I was basically grasping at straws in an attempt to understand the plot. “Okay, so the narrator is in a prison… she’s talking to an inmate… wow, they’re still talking. They hate each other. I don’t know why it matters. Hmm, now she’s off to an apartment with some familiar characters. Why is this a big deal?” and so on. About halfway through the book, I couldn’t make it any further. The characters were still talking, but I no longer cared what they had to say.
Here’s a list of things that are better than “Red Mist” by Patricia Cornwell:
– accidentally pouring spoiled milk in your coffee, then taking a sip
– your cell phone dropping the most important call you’ve ever received
– getting dumped
– STDs (with the exception of HIV)
Bottom line: Pass. There is nothing redeeming about this book. I’d recommend that you start with Cornwall’s old books and make up your own ending for the series.