Flesh and Blood

June 5, 2016 – Flesh and Blood (Patricia Cornwell). Poor Kay Scarpetta. In the last book, a serial killer almost ruins Christmas for the Chief Medical Examiner of Massachusetts. Now, we skip ahead about six months, and Kay's husband is set to whisk her away to Florida for a romantic birthday celebration. But, just as they're about to leave, mysterious pennies turn up on a brick wall outside their house.

The pennies set in motion a plot that really seems more convoluted than necessary. It involves a murder in Boston, a similar murder in New Jersey, the maybe-not-a-drowning death of a teenager, and highly suspicious behavior on the part of Scarpetta's niece, Lucy. All of which gives Cornwell plenty of leeway to explore Scarpetta's inner worrying and to educate the reader on the finer points of being a sniper.

After some 480 pages of all that, it's really unfortunate that the book did not actually come to a definitive conclusion. The action actually does pick up in the final 50 pages or so, but there's no real payoff. Sure, we find out "who did it," but justice is not administered. Catching this particular killer is going to take at least one more book. And, the way Cornwell ends this book makes we wonder if all the principal characters are going to be around for that adventure. I guess I will be – can't quit now – but, given the past several Scarpetta books, I can't exactly say I'm looking forward to it.