Point of Origin

Point of Origin - Patricia Cornwell By sheer happenstance, I read this right after Unnatural Exposure, which is its immediate predecessor in the series. I was therefore taken aback to have a fairly major character, Benton Wesley, confirmed as Scarpetta's love interest in one novel, and then ruthlessly knocked off in the next. Or at least so it seemed; I was so confused by the sequence of events, since both novels seemed to refer back to the same previous cases, that at first I thought Benton was going to be remarkably saved, or that his death would prove to be a hoax. The possibility certainly seemed to be left open. And based on other people's remarks about the last decade's volumes in the series, perhaps that is right, but I'm deliberately leaving myself in the dark.

Anyway - lots of information about fire and forensic detection thereof, as well as information about electron microscopes. I know some people dislike this aspect of Cornwell's novels, but I actually appreciate their educational aspect, even though I suspect some of it goes pretty quickly out of date (especially the computer stuff). The climax was a helicopter gun battle, which while fun, seemed just a little bit overblown, and I liked having some 'documentary' stuff from the arch-villainess, Carrie, but I never did feel I got to know her or her almost silent conspirator, a psychopath serial killer who stole people's identities by removing their faces. Not much of an explanation there, either, although Criminal Minds has inured me to the notion that you can't look for reason, only patterns, in these severely damaged behaviours.

Once in a while, Cornwell betrays her right-wing politics, and it bothers me slightly, but since it doesn't appear to affect either the feminism inherent in having two strong female leads, or the anti-homophobia evident in her depiction of Lucy, I let it pass.