Red Mist by Patricia Cornwell

Red Mist Reviewed by Allen Hott

Red Mist is another Kay Scarpetta story and deeply into forensics as per usual. Scarpetta is head of the Cambridge Forensic Center and is actually a physician specializing in pathology and forensic pathology along with much experience in 3-Dimaging radiology. As is to be expected much of her work brings her in touch with criminals and law enforcement. Her husband is a FBI agent to even further her law enforcement connections.

Scarpetta is called to Georgia from her Massachusetts home to talk with Kathleen Lawler who many years ago had an incestuous relationship with a young boy. The young boy in later years worked as an assistant or associate with Scarpetta.

Oddly enough a daughter born to Lawler and the young boy grew up and moved to Massachusetts. Sometime after she found out who her father was and after her father had died, the girl, Dawn Kincaid is suspected of killing a family. And she also physically attacked Scarpetta attempting to kill her.

It seems that a former prosecutor had arranged for Scarpetta to meet and talk with Lawler as this prosecutor is trying to prevent an innocent girl from going to jail for the murder that Kincaid supposedly was involved with also. Scarpetta has to go to the Georgia Prison For Women to meet with Lawler who is again confined for another crime.

Scarpetta meets first with Tara Grimm, the female warden of the prison who has very strong feelings on dealing with the criminal sector of society. When she believes someone is guilty of a horrendous crime she favors immediate retribution. She and Scarpetta do not get along very well at all.

Scarpetta and the former prosecutor meet up and it seems that everything kind of snowballs from that point. It begins with what appears to be poisonings of several of the key characters in the story. And since Scarpetta’s husband is very involved in national security with the FBI one of his first thoughts is that these are not just murders but terrorism. The FBI sends in agents to begin looking into the case.

Toward the end of the story there are so many things happening that the reader has to really be on their toes to keep up. Cornwell analyses many different potentials and uses Scarpetta as her analyzing figure. In places forensic items blend with Scarpetta’s own suppositions and clarity seems to be somewhat lost.

Overall the book is a good read and delves into law enforcement and forensics if that is appealing to the reader. The story line is well conceived and makes the reader want to keep going forward to find out who, what, when, where, and why.

There are many and varied references to red mist as it seems to mean different things to Cornwell at different times in her story Red Mist.

Disclosure in Accordance with FTC Guidelines 16 CFR Part 255

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