One day. 500 pages and it all happens in one long day. There are two short chapters covering the final weeks at the very end of Patricia Cornwell’s Dust, but almost the entire book is one day.
Kay Scarpetta wakes early one morning shortly before Christmas to her pager calling her to a murder scene. The picture of the victim is oddly reminiscent of three murders her husband is currently out of town investigating. They work for different organizations though and can’t really share info (nevermind that she knows enough to recognize the pattern with this local murder). Dust follows Dr. Scarpetta and her former chief investigator (he left her professionally recently to this story and it still stings…which you are NEVER allowed to forget): Marino, her FBI profiler husband: Benton and her niece who works for her (sounds like a conflict of interest): Lucy, the whole day while this crack team of professionals solve the case…in one day…breaking rules left and right…but being sanctimonious about certain FBI individuals who seem to have broken rules.
I’ve never read a Kay Scarpetta novel before, so maybe I’m missing the overarching appeal, but there were like a million logic leaps in the story made by Dr. Scarpetta, her FBI profiler husband and her ingenious (but no legal boundaries niece). They just seem to know what the killer is thinking at all times. It’s weird and frustrating that no one calls anyone out on making assumptions. Everyone just runs with them.
The black and white nature of the relationships is pretty frustrating as well. Scarpetta is in love with her husband, so he is always described in a positive light: intelligent, good looking, cool headed, sure footed, etc. Even when she describes his ability to get “inside a killer’s head” and how he becomes distant and frankly scary towards her, often on the edge of violence, it’s forgivable. Scarpetta is hurt and betrayed by Marino and so the man can do no right: can’t train his dog, plays political games, insensitive, short tempered. It’s maddening. Then there’s her niece. This is a woman who openly is involved with the murder victim at hand and is still a part of the investigation AND is known to essentially tamper with evidence when it benefits her. This is all overlooked by her aunt who is also her boss.
This wasn’t a bad book. It wasn’t a good book. It would probably be better for someone who already knew the characters and the world they operate in, so maybe this was just a bad book in a series to start with. My grandpa was reading this the last time I saw him and he said it was ok, and I’d agree with that. It was available from the library so I didn’t really lose anything but some time. No biggie.