This month's book review is my first time reading award-winning author, Patricia Cornwell. My wife is a big fan of the Scarpetta series and goes through these books like crazy. When Linda's mother gave us two large boxes full of books her family had already read, a few of them were from Patricia Cornwell. So I decided to see what this series was about.
Since I started reading on a regular basis again, my tastes in literature have expanded considerably. My interests no longer gravitate around sci-fi and fantasy, but have grown to include mystery, action, thrillers and comedy (I still have not warmed up to romance, though). I discovered just how engrossing a good mystery can be, so I try to read more of them in order to learn everything I can.
The book follows the investigation of Dr. Kay Scarpetta, head of the National Forensic Academy and her team, Pete Marino, Benton Wesley, and Lucy Farinelli. The case they work on in this story stretches from steamy Florida to snowbound Massachusetts. It begins with the disappearance of two sisters in Florida, with strange clues linking a cunning religious fanatic and the spreading of a plant infection. The story also focuses on the personal lives, relationships, and especially the dependence upon and affection the characters have for each other.
Back of the book:
Scarpetta, now freelancing with the National Forensic Academy in Florida, digs into a case more bizarre than any she has ever faced, one that has produced not only unusual physical evidence, but also tantalizing clues about the inner workings of an extremely cunning and criminal mind.
She and her team --- Pete Marino, Benton Wesley, and her niece, Lucy --- track the odd connections between several horrific crimes and the people who are the likely suspects. As one psychopath, safely behind bars and the subject of a classified scientific study at a Harvard-affiliated psychiatric hospital, teases Scarpetta with tips that could be fact --- or fantasy --- the number of killers on the loose seems to multiply. Are these events related or merely random? And what can the study of one man's brain tell them about the methods of a psychopath still lurking in the shadows?
Link to book: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6528.Predator
What I learned (warning, spoilers alert):
- Forensic Procedures: The author has shown such extensive knowledge in the field of forensics, that I could believe she actually worked in law enforcement. I have taken notes in the hopes use some of this information in my own stories. This information will be useful when having my main characters trying to decipher clues to a mystery.
- Master of disguise: The main antagonist manages to escape detection through the majority of the story by concealing their appearance. This fact by itself is good for storytelling purposes, but the author takes it a step further by always showing the antagonist through the eyes of other protagonists. The reader has no clue that the several characters being interrogated are in fact the same person until the big reveal towards the end of the story.
- Using multiple personality: One of the characters of the story suffers from schizophrenia. The fact this character has multiple personalities allows the author to tell the story from the point of view of the antagonist, without letting the audience know the antagonist is actually the one speaking. This is yet a different way of telling the story, without revealing key information to the reader.
For those interested in learning more about the author, Patricia Cornwell, please check out her websites (and others) here:
In closing, I would like to thank my wife Linda, my family and my friends for their tremendous amount of encouragement in this endeavor.
Until next time!