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December 16, 2011 / Leslie

Book Review: Red Mist

Red Mist
by Patricia Cornwell
Narrated by: Kate Burton

Genre: Crime/Thriller
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Publish Date: December 6, 2011
Format: Audio CD | 12 hours and 30 minutes
Rating: 4 of 5

I’m an old fan of the Kay Scarpetta novels having read the earlier books and enjoyed them immensely. When I was offered the opportunity to review the audio version of the newest release I agreed and looked forward to getting reacquainted with an old friend.

The story opens with Kay Scarpetta traveling to the Georgia Prison for Women for an interview with an inmate who has information on the murder Jack Fielding, Scarpetta’s former deputy chief. But this is just a ruse; the prisoner slips her a note to meet with Jamie Berger, a NY District Attorney familiar to Kay. Scarpetta knows she is being manipulated but she doesn’t know why and agrees to meet with Jamie. And then people start to die.

What I realized as I got further into the story was that this book picked up where the previous book, Port Mortuary, left off and that I missed a lot of changes in Scarpetta’s character over the last half of the series. She now appears to be angry and even paranoid. In the previous book someone tried to kill her; I suppose that would make her paranoid.

The novel is written from the perspective of Scarpetta. It does get detailed and at times technical but not so much that the reader will get lost. She throws in interesting facts about forensic science which I find fascinating. Although I didn’t read the previous book it was not a problem in following the plot. Patricia Cornwell gives us the background information we need which is why I still find her to be one of the best crime fiction writers. It took me an hour or two of listening and then the story began to take off.

The story was satisfying and had a few unanticipated twists that made for a good conclusion and one I didn’t see coming. The ending did wrap up quickly but we got our answers; mystery solved. You could jump into the series at this point with book #19 and enjoy it. Of course you would be missing a lot of the background and character development but you can always go back and read the earlier novels for that, which is what I intend to do now because I realize how much I enjoyed this series.

The narrator was Kate Burton and this was my first time listening to her read. I found her believable, if a bit monotone, as Scarpetta. Her change in accent made it clear when she switched to a different character or even gender. I finished listening to this one in only 4 days. Recommended for Scarpetta fans and those who like forensic science mysteries.
Source: Audio copy provided by the publisher for review.


Leave a Comment
  1. sagustocox / Dec 16 2011 9:01 am

    This is a series my mom enjoys…thanks for the recommendation


  2. BermudaOnion / Dec 16 2011 9:12 am

    I love the old Scarpetta novels too. I’m a bit behind in the series though. It sounds like I need to catch up so I can read this one.


  3. Suko / Dec 16 2011 8:27 pm

    I really should listen to some audio books. This one sounds exciting!


  4. Anthony / Jan 23 2012 11:11 am

    I listened to an interview with Patricia Cornwell on The Book Report Rdio show ( It was great to hear the author speak. An interesting point was that she makes every novel a stand alone book by introducing the characters, so you do not have to have read the previous 18 before you can read the nineteenth



  1. Review – Audiobook: Bone Bed by Patricia Cornwell « Under My Apple Tree

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