Every time I start the next Patricia Cornwell novel, I think: I wonder if this is the one where characters won’t randomly be spouting off homophobia. Last time was close, but this time, well it’s a whole sub-plot again. She (or rather Kay) is clearly working through her feelings on the 1990s’ back and forth tension about sexuality and still not 100% how she feels about it. It’s respectable to a certain degree to have a character struggle with how she feels about it and writing a book in which one of the more sympathetic characters is queer certainly is a risk for a writer. But it’s also a pretty stark reminder of what the 1990s felt like.
In murder news, Kay Scarpetta is investigating the violent, but quizzical murder of a young girl in North Carolina. Having moved from on from only doing state crimes, and now working with the FBI, she finds herself attending this case. She finds a strange, but under-investigated clue in photos of the deceased which causes her to want to exhume the body. Small towns being small and all, this dredges up numerous ghosts of small town past, which, as happens in serial thrillers, bleeds over into Kay’s personal life. On the personal side of things, Kay’s niece is a senior in college and an intern at Quantico, who finds herself in a kind of trouble.
Not enough Body Farm in this book to justify the use of the now famous University of Tennessee forensic science program, but alas.