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Patricia Cornwell must be a bit tired. That’s the only reason I can imagine why her penultimate effort (or her next-to-penultimate if you count Book of the Dead due out at month’s end.),  Predator, is such a mess.  She transplants the whole Scarpetta team to Florida, and turns Pete Marino from an emotionally challenged teddy bear into a cretinous brute. This might have all happened in one of the many books I missed. I haven’t picked up a Cornwell in some time. If so, more’s the pity that she didn’t figure a way to trot the whole team back to Virginia. Maybe she did in 2006 with At Risk.  I missed that one also.

In addition to those disappointments, she does something she never does–sets  up a couple of plot turns that don’t stand up to the most cursory scrutiny.  Plus, her problematic love affair with Benton and tenuous relationship with her niece, Lucy, both become dysfunctional beyond credibility. Speculations about all the source of all this Cornwell-inferior behavior are fruitless. She’s given me many entertaining hours of crime novels, but this one is well below her par, and I wish her my best in getting her swing back soon. Maybe she already did when I wasn’t looking. I hope so.


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