My last session with Patricia Cornwell was disappointing. (See Is Patricia Slipping? 9/13/07 if you’re interested.) I wondered if she’d lost her zeal or something. Nevertheless, when I saw The Front discounted at Costco, I snatched it up. This time I wasn’t sorry.
We see here no Scarpetta, no dissections, no drunks posing as cops. It’s a whole new cast for her, at least as far as I know. There are a few references to the main character’s past that suggest she might have appeared in a previous Cornwell incarnation, but I’m ignorant of it and don’t much care at the moment.
This is a short book, perhaps a bit too spare. However, the concept of a once-compassionate DA turned ruthless after being raped is compelling, and the cop assigned involuntarily to her pet project is an interesting character. Perhaps the most interesting character of all is the said cop’s grandmother, who dabbles in the occult and unwittingly does a great deal to guide the investigation. There’s some whimsy here I haven’t seen in early Cornwells, and I welcome it.