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Patricia Cornwell usually writes about four characters, Kay Scarpetta, a brilliant and virtuous former forensic pathologist for Richmond VA, her equally brilliant and virtuous boyfriend Benton Wesley, her niece Lucy Farinelli (who just happens to be a complete brainiac and a bit of a goody two shoes) and Pete Marino (who used to be the voice of the common man, but who is now portrayed as an ignorant redneck).

In this book, they're investigating the death (in Italy) of a child prodigy who won the US Open tennis tournament at the improbable age of 16, and a little boy found marshes in North Carolina. As happens in all of Cornwell's books, the two deaths turn out to be linked.

I don't know about you, but I like my detectives to have colour and nuance. Nothing in life is 100% black and white and I like my detectives to act accordingly in relation to that fact.

The problem with Scarpetta, Wesley and Farinelli (3 of Cornwell's characters) is that they're insufferably moral. You want to yell at them to get over themselves. They take life too seriously, and are too inflexible in their outlook to be likable any more. It's like watching three people you no longer like solve a crime. You spend the whole time wondering what you ever saw in these people.

In short, this is a bad book, and I will never, ever, ever buy, read, borrow, or loan any book that involves any one of them again. I want nothing to do with the whole damn series ever again, and I suggest that you do the same.

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