I could be dramatic and say that the effort nearly took it all out of me. But perhaps I should dispense with the theatrics and talk about the book. I am linking to what I think is an objective and accurate book review here which also has an interesting discussion after it.
As you know, I've been going through a bit of a murder mystery obsession at the moment. One by one, I've rediscovered favourites from my teens - Ruth Rendell, Agatha Christie and now Patricia Cornwell.
Port Mortuary is the latest Kay Scarpetta novel in Cornwell's best selling series. It brings together Kay with her niece Lucy, old flames and workmates as well as Scarpetta's husband. It is set in the present time within the US Defence forces and the related aspects of pathology, psychiatry and military sciences. Scarpetta has been away on a secondment and returns to her old lab to find it neglected and in chaos. The chief pathologist whilst she was away has disappeared, leaving disorder and negligence in his wake. He was also an ex lover of Scarpetta's. A body is delivered to the morgue but it appears that perhaps the body was not dead at the time it was placed in the morgue refrigerator. In a nearby suburb, a young child is found dead in his family's front garden with nails in his head. There is a confession from a very troubled but intelligent young man.
How does this all fit together? If you get past the first two thirds of the novel, be prepared for a fast moving plot that helps it all make sense.
That was my biggest problem with Port Mortuary. It was so slow and hard to read at the beginning. Told from Scarpetta's point of view, the plot dragged with her internal dialogue and flashbacks to the past. As a literary device, this didn't really work for me. I couldn't empathize with the way Scarpetta's mind was working. Sometimes I like reading novels because of the journey the main character takes through the chapters as opposed to the plot twists. No joy here for me.
I found the background about robotics and the ethical issues surrounding the tragic loss of fit young men (from all sides) in the dubious wars that the US and other countries are engaged in informative. But. I just didn't feel the urge to turn the page (or press the forward arrow in the case of the Kindle) because there didn't seem to be anything else going on besides this presentation of contemporary American military life.
Having finished Port Mortuary, I am keen to go back to earlier Scarpetta novels. For old times sake. To see if I can rediscover that page turning fever Cornwell novels used to evoke in me. In the mean time, I've decided to delve into Royal biographies. Starting with chic but misunderstood Mrs Wallis Simpson and her Prince.