Chaos by Patricia Cornwell.

Review post by Robyne Patterson.

Chaos is the latest in the Kay Scarpetta series which started in 1990 with Postmortem . So if you want to start at the beginning, better get going! There are over twenty books to read – could be a project for the New Year?

Cornwell does not write comfortable crime; her hero Kay Scarpetta, a forensic pathologist, is a complicated character who seems to attract even more complex characters to surround her. So Chaos is a fitting title for her latest book.

It’s not really easy to review this novel – it all depends on how familiar the reader is with the previous Scarpetta books as there is loads of back-story.  Chaos is also a very slow moving and dark affair so in this case I would suggest readers new to Cornwell start with one of her earlier novels.

Chaos concentrates on Scarpetta, her thoughts, feelings and relationships, all linked by a fairly gruesome murder or two, of course. The pace is very slow and detail oriented –  perfect for me, but some reviewers felt this detracted from the story, and I can understand why.

It almost seems that the plot is just a vehicle for the characters and somewhat irrelevant, but what fabulous characters they are!! Readers of previous books will be familiar with the usual suspects, Benton Wesley, Pete Marino and and Scarpetta’s niece, the almost superhuman Lucy, who all have a role to play. As usual, the forensics are detailed and descriptive, exactly what I love with these books. The book however makes some of the earlier works seem almost lighthearted, and they are not at all!

Cornwell really delves into the darkness within us and has the knack of describing what she finds, and we are not always comfortable with that.

Therefore this is not a book for everyone, and really does need to be read by readers familiar with the series.

I loved this book and can’t wait for more.