It may be that the book is wonderful and, though a veteran Cornwell reader, just the wrong kind for this book. The plot is complicated and weak. The book is long on introspection by Benton, Marino, and Kay. Their autopsychological effort bears no fruit. They start out unhappy and continue to drag the reader down emotonally, to an abrupt ending, which resolves only the case. I switched off my Otis depressed and angry.
The Lazarus Vendetta is the best yet of the Covert One series. John Smith comes to life on paper, through author Patrick Larkin, at least as vividly as if Ludlum still wielded the pen. The technologic details are well researched and the bundle is snappily narrated by Scott Brick. This work is a thriller to it's core that captures the readers imagination to the point that it cannot be set aside in many parts. I made thre correct decision to read the unabridged version
The main storyline, Scarpetta's return as a consultant on a complicated case in the Virginia state medical examiner's office, is pure great Cornwell. The secondary story line, of political deterioration of that office, is left unresolved. Add the inclusion of Lucy (wonderwoman saves the day for auntie Kay, and is then crushed by a new homosexual partner) and Benton (reincarnated, a la Bobby Ewing, for a cameo role in Kay's emotions) and the result is a chowder with too much potato for this reader's taste... Yes, I will read her next book too.
Patricia Cornwell is a master at complex contemporary plot architecture. I have come to feel as if I know Kate, Moreno, and Benton personally. The interaction of these core characters is superbly portrayed. "Cause of Death" ranks right at the top beside Ms. Cornwell's other works. The character Lucy is an itch in my enjoyment. She does not ring true and seems to have a place awkwardly forced into the book as a matrix for an evangelic homophyllic undercurrent. I am a reader of mystery and suspense for entertainment, not whining about percieved social injustice. I look forward to Ms. Cornwell's next book none-the-less.
Michael M. Duffy MD
I was unable to enjoy this book as much as I have James Patterson's prior works. In Four Blind Mice the increased verbage spent on Alex Cross's and Sampson's personal relationships with, and feelings about, Nana, the kids, and the girlfriends dominated the story line. This is the first of Patterson's books in which I exercised the fast forward feature in several parts. The story was good but partially lost in the pursiflage.
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