Flesh and Blood-A Scarpetta Novel-By: Patricia Cornwell

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Book Reviews from an Authors Perspective.

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Everyone in our household reads, most of our books, we check out from the Inglewood branch of the Nashville Public Library System, Friday evening the night before our weekly trip I decided to see what they had new. I opened their app, click on the tab for recommended new releases, sitting at the top of the list,  Flesh and Blood. The demand was so high a waiting list had been generated. I didn’t want to miss out on something so grand and anticipated by a gaggle of  people that they were willing to wait in line to read a copy, I added my name. The Inglewood Branch informed me by email, the middle of the following week, that it was my turn to read the book. I had finished with the reference books that I checked out on Saturday, with them in tow, I rushed to get the book everyone was wanting to read, from the hold area. Returning back home, I dove into it, examining the cover first, noticing, in the middle of the dark cover, with strands of red matter streaming up from a black abyss, I took as blood in water, were the words, in red blending into the red streams:

A Scarpetta Novel.

After a quick internet search I knew I was about to read the twenty-second installment in the Scarpetta series, who knew. I was hoping that Flesh and Blood wasn’t the tail end of a story I knew nothing about, it wasn’t, I came into the middle of a series of books. Flesh and Blood, can be read by its self, the story starts fresh, at no time did I feel the need to check out the earlier books to find out what was going on. I do admit that the history between the main characters is a little sketchy, but what do you except, I’m assuming some of them have been together for several books if not the entire series. Once again it didn’t take away from this story, just makes you wonder, if maybe they saw this coming sometime ago.

The story line was solid, lots of suspense, unfolding throughout the plot, with interesting sub-plots. The players in Flesh and Blood all had a unique personality, some I liked, some I hated, while others I was hoping would get killed. That’s not a bad thing, if you want somebody dead in a book, the writer has done a heck of job with that character. The dialog between each another was spectacular, the back and forth banter gave you the feeling these were real people, with issues of their own. These troubles sometimes spewed over, causing conflict between friends, while trying to band together to solve a baffling series of killings. I also think Socks, a Greyhound, the family dog was a nice addition to the story, having a family pet makes the characters and story relatable. May favorite character besides Socks, would be Lucy, something about that girls attitude hits home with me.

From a writers stand point, new ones such as myself, we have a hard time understanding what should go into a prologue and epilogue. Patricia Cornwell’s epilogue, should be used in a writer’s class, it’s the best example I’ve ever seen, and closes the book out perfectly. This is why I read, to learn the craft from writers who are at the top of their game. Thank you Patricia Cornwell for an excellent lesson in the art of ending a book using this technique.

One of the issues I had with the book is a small one. In class we were taught how to choose names for your characters. The reason this stood out, my professor screamed it, my editor has preached it, till it soaked into my thick skull. Most readers don’t read whole words only bits, for this reason, you should stay away from giving characters names that start with the same letter, I understand now why. I had to adjust to the ‘M’ and slow down when I ran across it. Marino, who I take has been around a while, since at one time he was Kay’s Chief Forensic officer, and his friend Machado, who talked Marino into going back in to policing, I’m figuring in an earlier book. At times it was confusing who was who, I would have to re-track to get it straight. Thank God toward the end, one dropped out of the book. I guess if you have written twenty-two books with a central cast, names are hard to come by, or she has more led way with the editors than I do, as she should.

The other issue, not really that big either, after all this is fiction, but she is so detailed in her writing and the terminology she uses, is right on. I may also be wrong in what I think happened, didn’t happen that way at all. The first crime scene they visit, Kay and Marino, the body is face up, two entrance wounds, one to the eye, one to the base of the skull. I’m not going to say where they think the shooter was located, don’t want to give it away, but if it’s where they suspect the shot came from, the body wouldn’t be in the position she found it in, not in less it had been moved. One again I could be wrong.

I give Flesh and Blood 3.5 Stars out of 5. The book flowed well with a couple of lulls, one needs time to breath. The characters, Lucy in particular, I want to learn more about, I will be searching for book one, Postmortem, and get to know everyone better and caught up, hopefully before the next book is released. I’ve read some reviews that hated the way the book ended, I’m not one of those, as I thought it was perfect. Thank you once again Patricia Cornwell for a great story of suspense and mystery.

Joe Clay is a new author, his works can be found on Amazon-KindleSmashwords and Goodreads where he answers questions every Friday, and rates the books he reads.

Connect with him on Social Media, Facebook, Google +, and Twitter.

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