Depraved Heart, by Patricia Cornwell

Depraved Heart

I really wanted to like this latest Kay Scarpetta novel, and for the first little while, I thought maybe we really were back to the focus of the earlier Scarpetta novels, with their forensics-driven crime plots.

But, rather unfortunately, this wasn’t the case with Depraved Heart. While the crime Kay is investigating at the start of the book sounds pretty interesting to me, it’s not particularly riveting for Kay. And sooner rather than later we’re back to the threat of harm to Kay and to those that Kay loves (ie Lucy).

When I’m watching a TV crime series, I’ve never been particularly fond of those season-long story arcs, the ones that are supposed to build suspense in between the monster-of-the-week themes and keep the viewer coming back for more. Truth be told, it’s each week’s mystery as well as the development of the relationships among the main characters that keeps me coming back. I’ve just never been all that interested in those big, conspiracy-laden, main-character-as-the-target story arcs. When I’m doing catch-up by binge watching a crime show on Netflix, I will sometimes actually skip those episodes that focus on those big story arcs.

So it’s not any surprise that I’m not fond of them in the pages of a series I like, either. In this case, the bulk of the novel focuses on the same kind of bigger-than-life plot, and when you combine it with all of the Kay’s introspection (and there’s a ton of that), it’s just not the right read for me.

True, this series has been travelling down this particular road for the past few books, but I do keep hoping.

And if Kay Scarpetta finally does get back to those forensic mysteries that originally launched the Scarpetta series, though? Count me in!

And thank you to TLC Book Tours  for providing me with a review copy of this book.

Purchase Links: HarperCollins | Amazon Barnes & Noble
Author Links: Website, TwitterFacebook, and Instagram

6 thoughts on “Depraved Heart, by Patricia Cornwell

  1. Bernadette

    “I’ve just never been all that interested in those big, conspiracy-laden, main-character-as-the-target story arcs”

    ME TOO. I thought I was the only one. It seems that’s all there are these days. My most recent disappointment was season 3 of Shetland. The first two were great…based on an Ann Cleeves character, long episodes but each one basically self-contained. Season 3 is all about one case of … I don’t really know as I gave up part way through episode 3 without really having much idea what had been going on prior to that.

    I also gave up on the Cornwell books some time ago…good to know I’m not missing anything :)

    1. Belle Wong

      Honestly, I tend to think when a TV series stoops to those kinds of story arcs, it’s because the writers are tired and have run out of inventiveness. I mean, I get the need to have an overall story line that will keep the viewers coming back, but they can be done well without relying on something so old. The moment it becomes villain-targets-main-character, it starts feeling old. Which is really too bad. It’s just been done so many times, and it’s difficult, too, to have the main character always be in jeopardy like that, without tiring out the viewer (or in a book, the reader — and now I’m thinking Kathy Reich’s Brennan. It’s like female MEs can never do their jobs without always becoming the target of the killer.)

      I will have to watch Shetland (the first two seasons, anyway!).

    1. Belle Wong

      I was thinking back to when I got off track in terms of keeping up with the books, Kathy, and I realized it actually wasn’t this type of recurring story line. The books had gotten too violent for me, I remember now. The violence has been toned down, but now this type of story line is being used to increase the intensity. Neither really works for me.

  2. Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library

    I’m the same way on the season long story arcs especially when it’s a super villain. I hate a super villain because it just gets so unbelievable. I LOVED the Kay Scarpetta books when they first came out. The focus on the forensics and the grittiness of the crime itself kept me up way to late reading. It sounds like the series still hasn’t found it’s way back to what was so great about it originally.


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