Book of the Dead ~ Patricia Cornwell
I'm not sure I can make this review stretch out enough, because I hated this book. I've been a big fan of Patricia Cornwell's Scarpetta series, and even though the last few novels prior to this one have dropped the ball somewhat, I still enjoyed them enough to read them in one sitting. Not so with Book of the Dead. Oh how I hated this book. A few books back, Cornwell changed her writing style and although I didn't like it as much as her former style, the books still held my interest. Maybe it was because I was comfortable and familiar with Kay Scarpetta and her fellow characters, or because I'm a sucker for a book series. I'm not sure which it is, but I read Blowfly and Trace and liked them well enough. Not enough to read again, but not enough to hate passionately or really care either way.
I wanted to burn Book of the Dead. Light it on fire and dance around it celebrating its demise. It was choppy, the characters were horrible, even the old familiar characters, or at least the characters that should be old and familiar, were completely different. It was set in South Carolina and Lucy, Marino, Rose and Benton are back, but the characters are so one dimensional and flat that it's hard to believe they ever had depth. The story rambles and stutters and at times shoots off into side tangents that were completely pointless. I had no problem when Cornwell moved the characters from Virginia and changed to a third-person writing style, although I felt the books weren't as strong because of it, but something really went drastically wrong in this book.
I can usually breeze through a decent novel in an hour or so. It took DAYS to finish this one, because it was almost physically painful to try to read it. Every minute or so I kept having the urge to beat myself in the head with it because maybe a concussion would improve it. Then I started blanking out on full pages and found I had to go back several pages and re-read them which just added to the agony. I couldn't read more than a few pages at a time before I was pissed off. I kept muttering for days how much I hated this book. I almost got to a point where I was going to completely write off the book and not finish it and I never ever do that. I'm not sure if it speaks to my perseverance or insanity that I finished it. Probably both. What a waste of time I spent trying to get through it and to have it be so unsatisfactory at the end. I kept holding out hope that there'd be SOMETHING redeeming about it and there was nothing.
This stupid book made me doubt my feelings for her older novels so I've gone back to the start of the Scarpetta series and although the books are dated, I'm still enjoying them. I've also read the book she wrote since Book of the Dead. Scarpetta is a much better novel and closer in tone and character development to the older novels, but Book of the Dead is just plain horrible. I can't state just how much I hated this book.
Just don't read it. If you want a good firestarter or something with which to knock yourself into unconsciousness, it's perfect. Other than that, not good at all. So very, very not good.