Showing posts with label Patricia Cornwell. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Patricia Cornwell. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Got the NEW Patricia Cornwell Kay Scarpetta Book...

Unnatural Death
, BABY! Happy Release Day! Can't believe I've been reading Kay Scarpetta's crime-filled adventures for fourteen years now. Never missed a book since 2009! And why should I when Kay Scarpetta is my literary aunt in my head. 

Anyway, I'll never forget that night in July 2009 where--after having bought the book the year previous--I laid across my bed and read The Body Farm in its entirety during one long night. I've been hooked on the series since! 

I've held out throughout the not-so-great "hard" books. Loved time spent during Kay's revival era ten years ago. And love Kay in her newfound era where more of the peculiar is fused into her medical examiner cases. Such as the illusion of Bigfoot trampling over two rogue government officials taking refuge in the Virginia woodlands.

Or... so it all seems...

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

November 2023 TBR Menu

Naturally, as all readers understand, this is fairly tentative. The idea is to read all the new releases I'm looking forward to, catch up on a series I gorged on back in July, and support an independent author. With that said, I just thought the whole dang thing was cute. You know, putting said TBR (tentatively) onto a makeshift wedding menu. How classy we've gotten lately.

FYI. The ultra-popular Rebecca Yarros book is on there because I kept hearing good things about it. While I'm not into dragons, I kind of decided I'd give it a try. See what all the fuss is about. Which is SO not like me. Anyway, bon appetit!

Thursday, October 6, 2022

LIVID for Patricia Cornwell's 26th Kay Scarpetta Book

"Chief medical examiner Kay Scarpetta is the reluctant star witness in a sensational murder trial when she receives shocking news. The judge’s sister has been found dead. At first glance, it appears to be a home invasion, but then why was nothing stolen, and why is the garden strewn with dead plants and insects?

Although there is no apparent cause of death, Scarpetta recognizes telltale signs of the unthinkable, and she knows the worst is yet to come. The forensic pathologist finds herself pitted against a powerful force that returns her to the past, and her time to catch the killer is running out . . ."

Y’all. I am so glad Patricia Cornwell is back with Kay Scarpetta. To think how 2016’s Chaos was potentially the last book in the series. Until we got Autopsy last Fall as a series revive. NOW we immediately get ANOTHER new one in Livid. Which is due later this month. I don’t want to wait until the freakin’ 25th!

Monday, May 20, 2019

Not One but TWO Patricia Cornwell Books This YEAR...

Finally–after a good year or two or three since its announcement–Patricia Cornwell’s new series’ debut has a release date.  Amazon Publishing is taking the reigns on this book.  I suppose somewhere in all that (along with contracts) was the reason they used to hold the exact release date around so long.  Shoot, for a minute I believed the whole thing was scrapped.  

Nevertheless, October 1st of this year is the DAY!  Hee-YAH!  We are finally getting our hands on Cornwell's Quantum, first in her Captain Calli Chase series.  And I'm writing this because they FINALLY released the cover as well!  BHA!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

#MarchMysteryMadness | My 6 Eye-Burner Mystery Reads

Hi, guys.  Here are 6 mystery books within any given series that has caused my eyes to burn (more so than glisten) with tears.

All links are Amazon affiliate (the books' descriptions are from Amazon as well)...

1.  Body of Evidence by Patricia Cornwell:

A reclusive author, Beryl Madison finds no safe haven from months of menacing phone calls—or the tormented feeling that her every move is being watched. When the writer is found slain in her own home, Kay Scarpetta pieces together the intricate forensic evidence—while unwittingly edging closer to a killer waiting in the shadows.

2.  Promises in Death by J. D. Robb:

Amaryllis Coltraine may have recently transferred to the New York City police force from Atlanta, but she’s been a cop long enough to know how to defend herself against an assailant. When she’s taken down just steps away from her apartment, killed with her own weapon, for Eve the victim isn’t just “one of us.” 

Eve starts questioning everyone while her husband, Roarke, digs into computer data on the dead woman’s life back in Atlanta. To their shock, they discover a connection between this case and their own painful, shadowy pasts. The truth will need to be uncovered one layer at a time, starting with the box that arrives at Cop Central addressed to Eve, containing Coltraine’s guns, badge, and a note from her killer: “You can have them back. Maybe someday soon, I’ll be sending yours to somebody else.” 

But Eve Dallas doesn’t take too kindly to personal threats, and she is going to break this case, whatever it takes. And that’s a promise.  

3. O is for Outlaw by Sue Grafton:

O is for once upon a time. . .
Let’s talk about Kinsey’s past. We know of the aunt who raised her, the second husband who left her, and her long-lost family up the California coast. But what about Kinsey’s husband number one? He was always a blip on the radar―until now.

4.  The Lily Bard Series by Charlaine Harris:

While trying to prove her innocence in the murder of her landlord, Lily Bard, karate student and cleaning service proprietor, finds plenty of skeletons in the closets of Shakespeare, Arkansas.

5.  When Death Comes Stealing by Valerie Wilson Wesley:

Struggling as a single mother to make ends meet on the mean streets of Newark, New Jersey, ex-cop-turned-PI Tamara Hayle races against time to find a murderer when someone begins killing her ex-husband's sons--and her own son might be next.

6.  Blind Descent (Anna Pigeon#6) by Nevada Barr:

When a fellow ranger is injured in a caving accident, Anna swallows her paralyzing fear of small spaces and descends into Lechuguilla to help a friend in need. Worse than the claustrophobia that haunts her are the signs-some natural, and some, more ominously, man-made-that not everyone is destined to emerge from this wondrous living tomb. All the skills Anna has honed in the terrestrial world are called into play on precipitous climbs, exhausting treks, and descents into canyons that have never seen the sun. The terrain is alien and hostile, the greed and destructive powers of mankind all too familiar. In this place of internal terrors, Anna must learn whom she can trust, and, in the end, decide who is to live and who is to die.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Random Thought: Why Murder Mysteries Never Talk About This...?

So listen (err, read). I finished reading Chaos by Patricia Cornwell a couple of weeks ago. Now, for those familiar with the series, it follows the narrative of a medical examiner using her profession of forensics and pathology to out-craft a crafty criminal or two. Good deal, right? Sure. But here’s what bits of illumination crawled across my mind during my reading of the book. Given that the series follows the theme of death and autopsies, why do authors skip details related to one particular ickier part of death? What's that I have in mind? Well...shit...
Sure many of us don’t need that piece of detail, but let’s talk about it all the same.
Writers setting up a crime or autopsy scene are quick to dish details such as the body’s temperature (algor mortis). Then there’s the examination of the body’s state/condition–as an observation of this can help relay the time of death.
Authors will relay to the reader if the victim is in a state of rigor mortis (where the body's muscles stiffen shortly after death). Rigor mortis can last for about a day or two–give or take. Which, once observed, helps the reader and protagonist unfold the crime with an invaluable clue. But what if the body is found after its been through rigor? The author will, of course, then relay how the body is in a relaxed state of livor mortis (where gravity pools blood in the body).
So with those many relaxed muscles–including the body’s sphincter–why do authors never describe a pile of shit stuck underneath the victim? Okay, okay. Sure this doesn’t always happen–given all your muscles are too relaxed to push anything from your gut. But because it does happen, why have I yet to read a fictional crime scene where the author describes a corpse’s having released his or her bowels or bladder? Though a murder victim can hardly be described with pleasantries, I would like to read an author just once take it a step grosser. That’s right. Gross me all the way out!
Just a thought.
Next I’ll talk about SEX in romance…

Monday, November 21, 2016

Completed Patricia Cornwell's Chaos! Last Interview EVENT!

Well, folks.  I completed the 24th Kay Scarpetta book, Chaos, over the weekend.  Saturday I crunched through the last 187 pages between eating apples and Oreos.  And it was worth all the time.  I'll get back to you all on that, though.  Anyway, with a whole year before the 25th book comes around (with lots of surprises given what took place in the 24th), I'll be quiet about this series from here on out.  At least I think so. 

But in closing the countdown I set up weekly this month for Chaos's release, I now share the last interview event with the author....

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Patricia Cornwell's 24th Kay Scarpetta Book is Here! CHAOS!

Sooooo in keeping with my Chaos COUNTDOWN; here I am true to my word!  I have my copy of the latest forensics/medical examiner crime thriller, Chaos.  Featuring our favorite pathologist, Kay Scarpetta!


Thursday, November 10, 2016

Book Openers Revisited ~ PART ONE...

The first paragraph in a book doesn’t always “contractualize” you into the author’s work, but it starts as potential.  I mean just step back for a moment and think about the power the first paragraph in your favorite book had.  How did it deliver enough to keep you reading and re-reading the book over the years?  What was it about that opening that enticed you upon your initial exposure?  Did the author break you with a vivid setting?  Or maybe it was a character’s voice that captivated you?  Did the author deliver a joke that threw you into laughter, in a moment when you needed it?  Was it a matter of tone or emotion?  Or were you just excited when an author flung you right in the middle of a scene?
Whatever the case, we can’t deny the power of the opening paragraph.
So I decided to pull a few books off one of my bookshelves and share with you a couple of interesting ones I've loved.  Some are from books I found myself compelled to read by the author's style alone.  While some are from books I never read beyond just yet.  And some are from favorite reads of mine that has kept me coming back for more.

Loved the indefinable usage of the phrase “that place.” 
As the paragraph later concedes, "that place" turns out to be a black neighborhood.  Yet, somewhat usual, it's a neighborhood long gone as it fell victim to capitalism (to keep it light).  It fell at the hands of businessmen who uprooted the land and cut down trees to build a golf course and suburban neighborhood.  Hosting and furnishing whites only?  You bet.  Nevertheless, the catch is “that place” may be gone, but its spirit isn't.  There’s a haunting story stilled buried in the land‘s past.  And, of course, Morrison invites us into that haunting history with this opener.
Dare you step back into the 1920s and find out...

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

COUNTDOWN: Patricia Cornwell's 24th Kay Scarpetta Book, Chaos

There's been a few new Patricia Cornwell interviews popping up as we get closer and closer to the release of Kay Scarpetta #25, Chaos.  This particular interview really caused me to pause.  I've never seen Cornwell on the brink of becoming emotion.  She chokes up a little in this BBC News HARDtalk interview.  Enjoy!

Are you looking forward to Chaos?  Or have you given up on this series?  Share your comments below!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Depraved Scarpetta

I almost giggle while writing this.  But I must stress again (and again and again): chances of your liking this book is low if you aren’t faithful to the series.  Or, to be a little clearer, a dedicated fan to its leading character, Kay Scarpetta.  In all her re-found first-person glory, she controls every piece of her latest adventure in Depraved Heart.  And personally, given how much of a dedicated fan I am after surviving Cornwell’s third-person slumps (along with the hot mess of last year’s Flesh and Blood), I love Kay in control.  So despite another elusive and “cut-rate” ending, I was here for Depraved Heart.  In my equally troubled mindset (referring to Cornwell’s character), I found myself surrendering to Scarpetta's narrative once more.
Yet, as stated, this will most certainly not be everyone’s resounding experience with Depraved Heart.  In a matter-of-fact, I would bet money only 20% of those who’ve read the book are feeling the way I feel.  Perplexed.  Distraught.  But... pleasantly... content.  

Waiting on the next release?  You damn well BETCHA!
Now that I got all gush ‘n’ hush mess out of the way, let me tell you what the book is about.  After that I want to just bullet point a few of the crazies involved in Depraved Heart.  The good crazies (from a personal standpoint) and the bad crazies (from a technique/stylish standpoint).  Boy, oh boy.  This one may take all night.
So here’s the set up of book 23 in Patricia Cornwell’s popular (though debatable these days) Kay Scarpetta series…
But first!  Those who keep up with Scarpetta won’t look surprised to find her and her niece, Lucy, in trouble.  Again!  And it’s the same old drama.  Same old recipe.  Some damn-near omnipotent political or criminal force lurking in the shadows.  Calculating.  Studying.  Developing methods to psychologically torture and wreck our protagonist and her team.  At least until he or she can finally tap them with murder.  Generally, said foe is almost always singularly after Scarpetta’s wonder kid niece.  This, naturally but not-so, involves Scarpetta.  So that should tell you everything you may need to know.  But we’ll get into the smaller details anyway.

Friday, October 30, 2015

FRIDAY READS: Depraved Heart by Patricia Cornwell (READING UPDATE)

Let's pray this year's Scarpetta novel makes a lot more structural sense than last year's...

According to Amazon:
Dr. Kay Scarpetta is working a suspicious death scene in Cambridge, Massachusetts when an emergency alert sounds on her phone. A video link lands in her text messages and seems to be from her computer genius niece Lucy. But how can it be? It’s clearly a surveillance film of Lucy taken almost twenty years ago.
As Scarpetta watches she begins to learn frightening secrets about her niece, whom she has loved and raised like a daughter. That film clip and then others sent soon after raise dangerous legal implications that increasingly isolate Scarpetta and leave her confused, worried, and not knowing where to turn. She doesn’t know whom she can tell—not her FBI husband Benton Wesley or her investigative partner Pete Marino. Not even Lucy.
In this new novel, Cornwell launches these unforgettable characters on an intensely psychological odyssey that includes the mysterious death of a Hollywood mogul’s daughter, aircraft wreckage on the bottom of the sea in the Bermuda Triangle, a grisly gift left in the back of a crime scene truck, and videos from the past that threaten to destroy Scarpetta’s entire world and everyone she loves. The diabolical presence behind what unfolds seems obvious—but strangely, not to the FBI. Certainly that’s the message they send when they raid Lucy’s estate and begin building a case that could send her to prison for the rest of her life.
In the latest novel in her bestselling series featuring chief medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta, Cornwell will captivate readers with the shocking twists, high-wire tension, and cutting-edge forensic detail that she is famous for, proving yet again why she’s the world’s #1 bestselling crime writer.

~Backup~  But is it really necessary?
Tonight I'm going in on Patricia Cornwell's latest Scarpetta release, Depraved Heart.  I'm praying on everything it's better than last year's Flesh and Blood.  I won't even plot my expectations in this post.  At the end of the day, I love Kay Scarpetta.  I just don't have any reservations for taking digs at Cornwell's story should it fall short.  So it's time to light the candles, turn on the heater, and slip under the covers for another crime-riddled adventure.  That hopefully makes some damn sense!  No seriously, last year's Flesh and Blood was so bad I DNF'ed it and skipped to the last pages.
So stay tuned for the results...
IN OTHER NEWS.  If Cornwell's latest fails, I have this interesting book to fall back on.  For some reason I went to two different stores in search of Tess Gerritsen's latest, Playing with Fire.  It was my intent to have it handy as a weekend reading back up to Cornwell.  However, I just couldn't find it.  Not even Barnes and Nobles had the book out!  Regardless, I finally got the balls to take on William C. Dietz's urban fantasy novel, Deadeye.

{Saturday - 10/31 Reading Update - 10:39pm}

Depraved Heart has been in my lap all morning.  I woke at about 8am and didn't get out of bed (officially) until 1pm.  I'm 262 pages in and I have to say I'm really, really enjoying it.  It has absolutely zero motion.  No motion or traction at all.  Characters sit around from scene to scene deducting, contemplating, and rehashing a collection of concerns and story matter.  Zero moment.  Yet!  I absolutely am hooked as to what's going on, and where the story will go.  I may be bias because I genuinely like Scarpetta's first person POV, as well as the other characters.  So I don't feel too slighted by the lack of movement in the story.  It's like sitting down with old friends and....  I'll leave that for later.  No, really.  I'm actually enjoying the book.  Besides, the weather–which is wet and chilly–helps the experience.  I'm hoping to have the book complete tomorrow.  Much, much better than last year's disaster, Flesh and Blood.  While Depraved Heart reads like a stalled jalopy, it's a lot more reader-friendly and comprehensible than the spaghetti-splaying Flesh and Blood.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Cornwell's Totem Pole | Win Lamont Sykes

So moved by my Pickles & Scarpetta post, I had to find a means to get this pressuring need for a Cornwell read out of my system. I didn't necessarily want to re-read a Kay Scarpetta book, though. Nor did I want to continue and complete Cornwell's Andy Brazil series; I started it in the summer of 2011 and only managed to finish the first book before I put the series on hold. However, there was one more alternative available–which was to catch Cornwell's two-book series featuring her Massachusetts state investigator character, Winston Garano ("Win" or "Geronimo"). Told in the presence-tense–which is probably better suited where the series serialized as a 15-part series in The New York Times magazine–I have to say that I felt the series started kind of strong. Now before I get into how "strong" it started, let me preface that with "rocky as hell" "weird" and "exaggeratedly present." Not one of those phrases are unoriginal when it comes to Cornwell, or unfamiliar to me when it concerns her writing (trying reading the first book in her Andy Brazil series). Nonetheless, let's get into book one, At Risk, and book two The Front.

At Risk

"A Massachusetts state investigator is called home from Knoxville, Tennessee, where he is completing a course at the National Forensic Academy. His boss, the district attorney, attractive but hard-charging, is planning to run for governor, and as a showcase she's planning to use a new crime initiative called At Risk; its motto: "Any crime, any time." In particular, she's been looking for a way to employ cutting-edge DNA technology, and she thinks she's found the perfect subject in an unsolved twenty-year-old murder—in Tennessee. If her office solves the case, it ought to make them all look pretty good, right? 

Her investigator is not so sure—not sure about anything to do with this woman, really—but before he can open his mouth, a shocking piece of violence intervenes, an act that shakes up not only both their lives but also the lives of everyone around them. It's not a random event. Is it personal? Is it professional? Whatever it is, the implications are very, very bad indeed ... and they're about to get much worse."

Brevity.  It's the number one–and I mean number one–reason why I thought At Risk was an okay read.  Ballpark?  Never.  Engaging just enough?  Certainly. So yes, the brevity in all surrounding areas gave At Risk motion. Whether it's character, setting, theme (I'm not conscious whether there was one); brevity was the book's saving grace. Granted, as I stated before, the series originally operated in The New York Times magazine, through a stream of weekly story articles

Nonetheless, in contrast to some page-filler feats featured in Cornwell's Scarpetta and Brazil series, At Risk did a lot less of characters standing around over-analyzing crime scenes/circumstances throughout a number of pages. At Risk was, in fact, fast-paced. A thrilling fast pace, though? Not so much. Did Cornwell weave a number of character threads and plot points, coinciding with her usual overdrawn and poorly-plotted standards? Yes. However, the muddled trap of page-filler-material didn't tangle up the narrative and motion–which I thought made the book easy to traverse. So you're not stuck in scenes where narrative/information is messy and unloaded like a commercial truck tipped on the freeway (because of ambitiously swerving directions) and characters aren't overstaying his or her welcome inside of a scene.  

But what I really, really want to write about is the way the main characters took the stage.  Why?  Because despite everything else semi-sorta worth talking about, this is what stuck me; spilling into my displeasure of the second book, The Front.

The characters.  I found most of them either on the brink of caricature-esque, dull, or cryptically unusual with the seldom practical individual mixed in. But let's talk about the main character first, Winston Granano. Actually, let me be quite frank in stating how boring he came across. And to be extremely clear, I would freely say that his investigator partner/comrade/colleague assisting him with his investigation was far more engaging and productive.  Now I won't give all honors to said assistant, but dammit did she bring what I came to At Risk for. 

Even so, Winston is bi-racial. He's of Italian and African ancestry, and an unrestrained expression of a sex magnet. That's a winning ticket right there, as outside characters can't seem to help but prattle about his good looks.  And I could agree, I suppose.  Only it got obnoxious after the tenth time, which didn't seem to help the credibility of his character or direction.  Seriously, for a minute I questioned whether he was a efficient investigator, or an efficient investigator after his undeniable sex appeal?  Luckily, he had a grandmother strung on the idea of psychics and hoodoo to keep his character grounded.  Visits with her and her prophecies over his choices were always welcoming. 

Outside of Winston's sex appeal ticket, Cornwell gave him an interesting past to go along with his heritage.  So as the story progressed, I decided that she did a decent job of shaping him out to be a heroically diplomatic justice seeker.  However, I felt his dealings were mostly overshadowed by Cornwell's foxy ambitious district attorney character, Monique Lamont.

Think of Lamont in red Jimmy Choo with matching $16 M.A.C. lipstick. An Armani ensemble of a pencil skirt and loosely buttoned blouse and blazer. An attitude in hand, and ruthlessly crafty when it concerns gathering her goals. She, in all of her limelight-stealing glory, damn near over-road Winston's character. And considering she's his boss, she had him under her thumb from a number of angles. One of those angles were the progression of his career/studies back in Knoxville, where she sent him to the National Forensics Academy pre-At Risk.  She is, quite plainly, a desperately enterprising hot mess. And with all that overdrawn characterization and subtle glamour, Cornwell did Lamont a favor by knocking her down a host of egocentric pegs.  Naturally, Winston came to pick up the pieces. When Lamont uses her tragedy as a chess piece toward her governor-focused goals, you can do little more than notice how Winston becomes her lapdog and struggling voice of reason in the process.  But you never quite get the truth of their relationship.  Is it based on simply respect?  Attraction?  What?

Well, who needs them in the end?

In my eyes, the true hero/star of At Risk was Winston's partner back in Knoxville, Delma Sykes. A little older than Winston, and somewhat driven by her attraction toward him, she's the character who (as far as I'm concerned) did the real legwork.  See, Winston and Lamont were busy trapped in verbal scrimmages about politics and shady political moves. Meanwhile, Delma was the character Winston sought out to gather information on the cold case handed to him by Lamont. That meant Sykes was visiting and speaking with law enforcement members behind the investigation. She was shuffling through their record boxes, tracking down receipts, knocking on doors, beating bushes, and confronting liars.  She, essentially, put Winston's case together for him and Lamont. All the while, Sykes risked her career with time spent uncovering the cold case instead of meeting the demands of the National Forensics Academy.  

Sykes may seem foolish, giving up her time to assist Winston who sat on the edge of Lamont's desk the whole while.  However, I personally found myself piqued as her drive and determination displayed the engine to the book's mystery.  She was the sleuth.  The gem.  The character whom toyed with relatable stakes–even as far as confronting the killer.

So on everything I love, At Risk was her book!  And she was the reason why I even liked it.

Such an odd thing, though. And one that I found severely disappointing when I went into the second book, The Front, and found her character nowhere to be found. Which, quite frankly, is the reason why I don't care to write about The Front. That should tell you everything you need to know about this series.  And how shady Cornwell can be toward her characters.  (Yes, yes.  I say that as a joke.)

The Front

Slick move on me? I know.  However, the book is hardly memorable without Delma Sykes, or a character focused on the project (no matter how mundane and disinterest-breeding) at hand. I mean, we are talking about a crime fiction drama. Nevertheless, there were a few kooky classic Cornwell characters present (one being a woman with a prosthetic leg).  Still, outside of the return of Monique Lamont and Winston's grandmother's brighter role, nothing else really... well... changed from the first book. But seriously, The Front was probably on par with someone's outline. I honestly can't recall anything about this book that I can find worth talking about. Nevertheless, I'll give you a piece of Goodreads' synopsis just in case you can think of something:

"And in The Front, peril is what comes to them all. D.A. Lamont has a special job for Garano. As part of a new public relations campaign about the dangers of declining neighborhoods, she's sending him to Watertown to "come up with a drama," and she thinks she knows just the case that will serve. Garano is very skeptical, because he knows that Watertown is also the home base for a loose association of municipal police departments called the FRONT, set up in order that they don't have to be so dependent on the state--much to Lamont's anger. He senses a much deeper agenda here--but he has no idea just how deep it goes. In the days that follow, he'll find that Lamont's task, and the places it leads him, will resemble a house of mirrors--everywhere he turns, he's not quite sure if what he's seeing is true."

In keeping with all I've just stated, it would be interesting to watch the Lifetime movie adaptation of both books.  Other than that, I'll just let this disappointing series be.

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