"Port Mortuary" book review
My advice to Patricia Cornwell: Less is more.
I could not get past page 235 in this book. I skipped ahead and read the end, because I wanted to find out what happened to the dog. I figured it out, not because I’m brilliant or anything, far from it, but this book was too predictable and WAY too long.
Honestly, if I had to read another page of Kay Scarpetta droning on and and about how she was gone too long from her lab and now it’s all going to hell and she’s sorry as all get out that she’s let everybody down, where the hell is Fielding, why did I hire Fielding again…
I wanted to scream.
I read the first Scarpetta book, Postmortem, in the summer of 1996 during my summer vacation from grad school (I’m an exceptionally late bloomer). I finished the dang book and had to find a Barnes & Noble bookstore, right away, so I could buy the next book in the series, Body of Evidence. My drooling appreciation for The Kay Scarpetta novels continued until Point of Origin, when I started to wonder if maybe Cornwell was pumping out books too fast. I think Scarpetta’s personal life became too dominant in the books. It was more about her personal angst and less about who whacked the corpse.
Cornwell had a winning combination in the early days: A workaholic, crime-solving medical examiner with a raunchy cop sidekick named Marino, a niece whom she loved (and who drove her crazy), and a sexy married FBI profiler complicating her life.
Add a well plotted story and you’ve got bestseller city.
I’m getting off track.
Port Mortuary is 496 boring pages long.
Cornwell’s dialogue is long-winded and overly dramatic.
I’m not sure “who done it,” and I don’t care, because Cornwell lost me on page 235 as Scarpetta and her husband are having an argument:
“I’m sorry you’re angry. I’m sorry you’ve come home to a situation that is upsetting. Your homecoming should have been joyful.”
“Joyful. What the hell is joyful?”
“A word. A theoretical concept. Like full disclosure.”
Sorry, I feel asleep while typing.
I could throw more quotes at you, but I don’t want you to fall asleep reading this. There’s a lot of dialogue like this, in the first few hundred pages.
I wanted Port Mortuary to be another Cornwell stunner of a ripping good tale.
Alas, it is not.
I’m no book reviewing expert, but I know what I like.
And I don’t like Port Mortuary.
And now I’m going to go sit in a tubful of bubbles and meditate away my sense of loss.
And then I’m going to pray, hard, that Patricia Cornwell is home slaving away at a Scarpetta story that will knock my socks off again. I hope Cornwell cuts back on the personal drama and focuses more on whodunit.
Remember, less is more.