Monday, March 20, 2023

By Gini Rainey

“Chaos: A Scarpetta Novel” by Patricia Cornwell

Well, as much as I hate to say this and after waiting a year for her newest release, Patricia Cornwell may have lost her touch as a forensic mystery writer, at least, as far as I’m concerned.  She found a formula that worked exceedingly well for her through book after book that follow Dr. Kay Scarpetta and her cast of cronies, but the edge is gone.  In “Chaos,” she never even makes it into the lab

It seems to me that, while there needs to be a bit of character development re-hash in each new book in the series for the benefit of anyone new to Scarpetta and her friends, she be-labors it more than necessary these days.  That being said, at the 25% point (obviously, I’m reading this on my Kindle) in “Chaos,” we still haven’t gotten to the scene of the crime.

This book mostly takes place in one day and goes into a lot of detail of the setting up tents to house the crime scene that began the book. Once you wade through that you find you have read 70% of the book and it feels like it is still just starting. The last bit of the book is about Carrie Greiten and what she is currently doing to threaten the lives of Kay Scarpetta and those near and dear to her.

The one good section in the book is deals with Scarpetta disabling Carrie’s latest weapon with a fishing pole and monofilament line. Unfortunately, because these books are told from Scarpetta’s point of view, we don’t get to read about the capture of Carrie because she is knocked unconscious. We only hear about bits and pieces of it from Kay’s reflections on what she was told. Carrie is not killed so I suppose we will hear about more of her insane machinations in future books, although it is long past time for Carrie to make a permanent departure from the story.

In my humble opinion, Cornwell would do well to return to some of her earlier books and try to write another one with the same vim and vigor those contained. Those were enjoyable and riveting. I’m afraid her formula for success has become flawed.

Rating: 3 of 5, Copyright 2016, William Morrow


“When I Married My Mother” by Jo Maeder

“This book is important to every mother and daughter, and to every woman who wants to be one.” – Maya Angelou

As usual, some of the best things come from some of the most unexpected places.  I don’t exactly remember why I downloaded this book a few months ago, and I kept by-passing it when I started to read a new one.  Why? I don’t know.  However, when I finally did open it and started reading it, I had a difficult time putting it down.  I wasn’t sure what type of Image result for when I married my motherstory I was going to be experiencing in this read.  What I found was a poignant, touching, heart-warming story of a daughter’s determination and courage to turn her life upside down to care for her aging mother.

Unfortunately, I was unable to identify with Maeder’s position with her aging mother who was suffering from Alzheimer Disease, as both of my parents died relatively young.  However, I think everyone who has a “mommy” issue could grow from the wisdom shared in this book.  She says “If you’re not right with your mama, you probably won’t be right with anyone.” It reminded me of one of the last times I visited my mother at her home.  She and I had gone through a bit of a rocky place that followed her re-marriage and still had not gotten back to a “good” place with each other.  As I was leaving, she was standing in her front door with a very sad look on her face.  I asked her what was wrong – did she need something?  She sadly said “I just want you to love me.”  I had never stopped loving her, but I’m pretty sure I had failed to show or tell her.  What a wake-up call.

Maeder describes the purpose of her book a lot more eloquently than I ever could:  “My intention in writing this book was to address what helpful Alzheimer’s care books like THE 36-HOUR DAY cover but told in narrative style. However, you don’t have to have a loved one with this disease or in decline to enjoy it. It’s really about making peace with our parents (or children) and our past before it’s too late. My editor called it ‘a misfit memoir and a great family saga.’ I heartily agree.”

Jo’s story is such a huge lesson – that some of life’s most difficult, sobering aspects, when approached with love, gratitude and humor, can be some of its richest blessings.  This is truly a most personal and inspirational story and is definitely a “must-read” for anyone who is faced with caring for an aging parent.

Rating: 5 of 5, Copyright 2013, Vivant Press

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