Thursday, October 22, 2015

Review: "Depraved Heart" by Patricia Cornwell

Disclosure: This ARC ebook was provided to me via HouseParty in return for an honest review.

Title: Depraved Heart
Author: Patricia Cornwell
Publisher: William Morrow
Pub. Date: October 27, 2015

I have read all of Patricia Cornwell's 22 previous Kay Scarpetta novels so I was excited about being chosen to be a Chatterbox for this book. I eagerly awaited my free advanced reader's copy, and when it arrived, I dove right in.

Depraved Heart opens with Kay and Marino investigating the death of a young woman named Chanel Gilbert. It looks accidental, but Kay soon realizes that the death is suspicious. But her attention is quickly turned elsewhere when she receives videos on her phone showing her niece Lucy and Scarpetta's arch-nemesis, Carrie Grethen. Scarpetta is convinced that Grethen is responsible for attacking her on a scuba dive (as told in Cornwell's last novel Flesh and Blood), and she believes that Grethen is continuing to taunt her using these old videos.

Leaving the Gilbert crime scene behind suddenly, Scarpetta rushes to Lucy's estate to find out what is happening. There she finds that the FBI has swarmed the estate with search warrants, looking for anything to put Lucy behind bars. Is this part of Grethen's evil plan? How are the videos coming from Lucy's phone? And what does this have to do with the Gilbert murder?

These questions are answered, but unfortunately not in a smooth, satisfying way. The novel seems to just try to establish Grethen's return without much real action or tension. There's no excitement or horror present, as in previous Scarpetta novels. There's just the vague shadow of Carrie Grethen in the background, echoing the shadow she is casting over Scarpetta and Lucy's lives. I kept waiting for a scary or shocking moment, but sadly it never came. The plot itself was fairly weak and didn't hold my interest which was disappointing.

I understand that some novels have to set the stage for future stories, but I still hoped for more action from Cornwell.