Friday, January 07, 2011

Review: Hornet's Nest by Patricia Cornwell

Hornet's Nest by Patricia CornwellHornet's Nest by Patricia Cornwell
Andy Brazil Series #1

Pages: 438
Started: 1 Jan 2011
Finished: 4 Jan 2011
First Published: 1996
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Mystery, police procedural
My Rating: 3/5

Acquired: Received from Lori at BookCrossing.

Disposition: Will be sent to Ramson who selected from a Virtual Book Box at

First paragraph:

That morning, summer sulked and gathered darkly over Charlotte, and heat shimmered on pavement. Traffic teemed, people pushing forward to promise as they drove through new construction, and the past was bulldozed away. The USBank Corporate Center soared sixty stories above downtown, topped by a crown that looked like organ pipes playing a hymn to the god of money. This was a city of ambition and change. It had grown so fast, it could not always find its own streets. Like a boy in puberty, it was rapidly unfolding and clumsy at times, and a little too full of what its original settlers had called pride.

In a drastic departure from her acclaimed Kay Scarpetta series, Cornwell introduces a new cast of characters. This time, the setting is Charlotte, North Carolina.

A serial murderer is preying on out-of-town businessmen, and the pressure is on Police Chief Judy Hammer and her deputy chief, Virginia West, to solve the crimes and put an end to the killings before adverse publicity begins to affect the economy of the area. Andy Brazil, son of a murdered policeman, aspires to write award-winning news stories and has trained as a police volunteer in order to get assigned to the crime beat. Hammer and West are not happy when the editor of The Charlotte Observer newspaper requests that Brazil be allowed to ride along with the police on their regular patrols.

My thoughts:
This was an entertaining, but awkwardly written, story. The lead characters were all flawed and while this could have made them more realistic, too much time is spent inside each character's head as they examine their own motives throughout the book. Brazil suffers from a serious inferiority complex and seems particularly vulnerable and childish; Hammer is a high achiever, but distressed by the state of her marriage as her obese husband spirals ever deeper into depression; and West is simply tempermental and annoying. As if this weren't enough, Cornwell tells part of the story from the point of view of West's cat! The characters had lots of promise, the plot was decent, but the execution was just not well done at all.

I read to the end, and I'm willing to read the next book in the series, so I'm giving this a 3 out of 5 rating. I've read worse.

This book is counting toward the Book Bucket and Mystery/Suspense challenges.

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