Despite profoundly hating Cornwell’s previous book, bought the newest Scarpetta-tale from an early summer sale.
While not exactly good on any criteria, it’s not as total disaster as Blowfly.
Still uses the very confusing and stilted impersonal third person viewpoint in passive present tense. Still introduces a large number of characters into the story, and fails to do much with most. Still leaves a lot of plot strands completely unresolved (the plights of Fielding and Marcus are not followed up at all), but fortunately Trace is a single-volume book and thus the main storyline is tied up though its motive nor actual execution are not explained at all. And the ending is very anticlimactic, as the 460+ pages of the novel are wrapped up on a single page, and the eponymous Trace (evidence) is not expanded upon at all. Very disappointing plot-wise.
Yes, it’s readable, but not even close to a compulsive page-turner as the first six or so of her novels were. The main characters – working on two separate plots remain distant as ever, and the supporting cast fails to convince (mainly due to their susceptible stupidity). The CSI-bits are pretty much the only decent part of the story, and they are spread out way too thin.
It’s far too thick a book, and most of the add-on pages feel like such. Needless exposition that does not add details to the storylines, meandering about the validity of frontier justice, a plot that does not really move, angst piled on almost every character, and indeed, characters that fail to convince and engage. A small plus sign for Cornwell for not continuing the Blowfly-saga at all, or even referring to the still at large antagonist at all.
In a word: avoid.