Friday, December 5, 2014
FLESH AND BLOOD by PATRICIA CORNWELL
I've been reading Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta series for many years. I feel like I know Scarpetta and the other regular characters personally so I always look forward to their next adventure. One of the characters though has always stretched my powers of belief too far. Scarpetta's niece Lucy is just too brilliant, too rich, too strong, too everything. Everyone else has faults that make them believable.
In Flesh and Blood Lucy is acting strangely and suspiciously, and it begins to look like someone is trying to frame her for a series of murders. Of course Lucy isn't talking to anyone about her obvious problem so no one can help but Scarpetta is about the only person really confident that Lucy isn't involved in something illegal.
Scarpetta and her husband, FBI profiler Benton Wesley, are scheduled to leave for a Miami vacation when a man is killed in his driveway by a sniper far away. Investigating this and other murders leads the team to a real estate company run by a politician. One of the company's employees keeps tailing Kay and Benton and seems to know too much about them, even the condo Benton has rented for their vacation. No clues are left with the victims except fragments of copper and in one body a complete bullet. Oddly, someone has placed seven shiny pennies on the wall around Scarpetta's back yard, each dated 1981, the year Lucy was born, and each facing the same way. Other items at murder scenes also show compulsive behavior.
In the end I was dissatisfied with this novel. I'm not saying it's a bad book. I don't think Cornwell could write a bad novel if she worked at it. What I am saying is that this one is a disappointment. Scarpetta and Marino are caught in an enormous traffic jam for too long (although since they're in Boston I understand) and are simply getting messages from others about ongoing investigations. Throughout the story Scarpetta seems not to be part of the action and Benton is obviously keeping secrets from her.
It's an intricate puzzle that took some work on my part to keep up with and in the end I didn't feel like it was all wrapped up. I didn't feel like Cornwell played fair with the identity of the killer either although I can't say why for fear of a spoiler. My advice? If you are a die-hard fan, you'll probably read this one to keep up with the characters but if you aren't, read any other book in the series rather than this one.
Recommended only for Scarpetta fans