Black Notice – Patricia Cornwell

It was a bit disorienting reading this novel starring chief medical examiner Kay Scarpetta, police captain Pete Marino and genius niece Lucy. All my own fault of course, given my random approach to reading Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta novels. In Unnatural Exposure which was the last one I read, Kay was still resisting Benton’s charms, and the one before that, The Last Precinct, is the one that immediately follows this!

That said, I rather enjoyed the fact that everything in this novel takes on a greater significance knowing what happens next, and it would be interesting to know how far in advance Patricia Cornwell plots her novels. It would also be of interest to know whether or not the critical reviewers read this novel in sequence, given that most of them slated it.

Set in the year following Benton’s death, Black Notice covers some of the key events and characters that feature in the overarching plotline developed during the course of later novels: rival alpha-female Diane Bray, love interest (that came as a surprise!) Jay Talley and Le Loup-Garou Jean-Baptiste Chandonne.

It also shows Dr Scarpetta at her most vulnerable, barely in control of her professional life and totally at a loss how to come to terms with the grief in her personal life, let alone in a position to deal with Lucy’s trigger-happy reaction to Benton’s murder. link: Black Notice – Patricia Cornwell list: Kay Scarpetta Collection (in order)