Monday, December 19, 2005

Better Than I Expected

I wrapped up Patricia Cornwell's Predator over the weekend and have to say it was better than I expected. A lot of the novel has a been-there-done-that quality to it, but the author ends on a strong note, and this has got to be her tidiest ending in years.

Reviews over at Amazon are pretty much all in the "I hated it with a burning passion" camp, but I'd probably rate it around average. I really liked the ending, and the resolution to the mystery, but the rest of the story was a bit on a flaky side.

Many suspense authors deploy the formula of introducing two seemingly different stories in the opening of the novel, but by the end both trains converge. Plot threads the reader thought were unrelated are really tied together. Tess Gerritsen has employed this effect very well in novels like The Sinner and Body Double.

Cornwell though gets rather loosey-goosey with the method. There's lots of stuff going on in Predator, and as the reader I know they are likely all related, but very little attention is given to much of it. Benton is interviewing a serial killer in a pysch hospital, Scarpetta is working on the disappearance of a family, and Lucy is trying to figure out if a doctor killed himself or was murdered. Marino sort of floats between Lucy and Scarpetta - all the while there is office sabotage going on. Again

Honestly, I think Scarpetta has dealt with back-stabbing office sabotage in every book in this series. Frankly, I'm having a hard time believing that that many people are out to get her.

But the last 100 pages really work, and the resolution is very well done. All in all, an average read. I'm glad I didn't buy it in hard cover, but I'm not sorry I read a library copy.

On a final note, the Marino character needs help. The direction Cornwell gives him in the first half of the novel pretty much ticked me off - but he shapes up in the final chapters. Dare I hope he gets himself a girlfriend?

1 comment:

Robin said...

Hi Wendy! I just discovered your blog and I have to say I feel the same way about Cornwell's latest book. I too read the amazon reviews and I was a little surprised that most people hated the book. I actually thought it was better than some of her last installments. I am a little tired of Marino's infatuation with Scarpetta. I feel like the reader is being hit over the head with how good-looking she is and how big her boobs are. And Lucy is also irritating. How many lovers has Lucy had that are also psychopaths? At least three right off the top of my head. How can someone have such bad taste in partners! The office backstabbing/conspiracy is tired as well. It sounds like I did not like this book but I did! I just wish she did more of what put her on the map which is a mystery solved with forensic expertise that Cornwell can explain so well to the "average" Joe/Jane and less "character developement".