Popsugar’s 2019 Reading Challenge prompt #14, a book you see someone reading on TV or in a movie, proved challenging for me. Most of the time if I’m watching TV, it will be something I’m binge watching on Netflix. When I did see someone reading, either I could not determine the title of the book, or it held no interest for me. I finally found a couple of possibilities on the show Criminal Minds. Ultimately, I decided to read Red Mist, by Patricia Cornwell. This book is featured on Season 7, Episode 11 titles “True Genius.” Cornwell herself appears on the show at a book signing where members of the BAU are presenting.
I felt pretty sure before I picked up this book, that I’ve read at least one other of Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta novels, and I hoped it wouldn’t matter too much that I haven’t read all of them. As it turned out, there’s a good chance I would have enjoyed this book more if I hadn’t skipped most of the series that came before this one.
For those who may be unfamiliar with the series, Cornwell writes gritty murder mysteries featuring Dr. Kay Scarpetta, Chief Medical Examiner in Virginia (at the beginning of the series). Red Mist is the nineteenth book in this series, and Dr. Scarpetta and all the characters surrounding her have gone through many experiences and life changes. In fact, the plot of Red Mist relies heavily on Scarpetta’s past experiences.
Red Mist opens with Dr. Scarpetta on her way to visit an inmate at the Georgia Prison for Women. She was invited there by the inmate in question, and as the narrative unfolds, you get the distinct feeling that this is a very strange thing for Scarpetta to do. It is clear as well, that she is going against the advice of her husband and all those who care about her. Dr. Scarpetta is quickly drawn into a convoluted plot that is far more than it appears on the surface.
Written in the first person perspective of Dr. Scarpetta, we see the novel’s events through her eyes. We are privy to her thoughts, emotions and memories. And it is her memories that she frequently devolves into that drive the plot forward. This book has a very personal feel to it. Events from Scarpetta’s past have come back to threaten her again.
I would like to say I enjoyed this book, but I didn’t. I haven’t read all the Kay Scarpetta novels, so I didn’t have the background necessary to really appreciate what was happening in this one. Scarpetta fans will no doubt enjoy this book. If you enjoy hard-hitting thrillers, you’ll probably like this one as well. But I definitely recommend reading them in order.