Red Mist - Patricia Cornwell

***** Great crime thriller despite some lack in originality compared to the previous ones in the series

Recently Cornwell is taking the insane habit of killing a recurring character in each book, or at least this is what happened in the last two I read. I hope she will calm down, otherwise there won’t be many of them in the future!
But let’s talk about the book.
It starts with a very slow pace in the first part, so that the first corpse arrives very late. I still liked the way the author builds the whole story from Scarpetta’s point of view, exploiting the dialogues with other people, and wrap it out in just over a day.
In my opinion, however, the choice of this approach in this novel presents two problems. The first is that for much of the book, which is long enough, there are only her and a few other characters, making the development of the plot even more static. Fortunately there is Marino, but Lucy and Benton come late and seem almost insignificant in the story. The second is that Cornwell used a very similar structure in the previous book, so it feels that the latter lacks originality.
On the other hand, I do not mind at all that the case is closely related to the previous book, since it gives continuity to the sub-plots, which therefore become prevalent. This makes the book accessible only by those who have read at least the preceding one, but in this way the continuous explanations related to it become useless and contribute to the slowness of the book.
It is very difficult if not impossible to understand the identity of the culprit. In the aftermath, you realize some details that could be noticed by the reader, only that they are lost in a bunch of information Cornwell puts in her books, most of which does not have a real significance in the plot’s economy.
However, I found the scientific element used to explain the murders very interesting. A biologist like me could not help but appreciate it!
Even this time the final resolution fooled me. It comes in a single paragraph, indeed in a single period. In the hurry to know what would happen, I did not read the last clause and then in the next paragraph I found that the culprit had been hit, but I had not noticed that. For the umpteenth time I had to go back and re-read. There is nothing to do: it always happens like this.
The final chapter of the epilogue serves only to unite all the points and knocks back the rhythm that was created, leading to a conclusion without infamy and without praise.
You would ask why I gave 5 stars despite all these flaws. Well, because, taken individually, this is a well-constructed and well written book (though I don’t like some of Cornwell’s stylistic choices, but I appreciate her consistency in using them). Certainly it would have had a greater impact on me, if the former did not present a similar structure.
I know Cornwell prefers to write in first person from Scarpetta’s point of view. I admit, however, that I prefer her books written in third person, because the stories are more open and less static, and because this way she has the opportunity to explore views other than those of Kay Scarpetta, who - let’s say it - is not exactly the most pleasant person!

Red Mist on Amazon.