22 Ramadhan, 1438
Finished Patricia Cornwell's Chaos this morning. There was enough of a story to keep me going to the end, but not enough for me to feel the experience of reading the novel was worthwhile. Except, I suppose, there's some interest in seeing a writer getting it all wrong and somehow managing to get published. I suppose there are enough fans still around to make on-going publication of even the weakest Scarpetta novels financially worthwhile? I can't see how any reader new to Cornwell would even consider reading on. Everything in Chaos is predicated on familiarity and interest in the increasingly unlikely backstory of the forensic pathologist and the characters around her such that a good quarter of the text is spent clumsily rehashing that story.
One thing that jumped out on me in this reading is the weirdly obsessional sense of hysteria generated by the central character in almost every sequence of the novel. Ms Cornwell's various personal problems are not exactly well kept secrets, but it wouldn't be difficult to guess their nature from a reading of this novel. I suppose the corrosive paranoia inherent in the Scarpetta world view worked to the advantage of the stories built around her in the early novels as a nobody caught up in events beyond her control. But she arrived as a heavyweight player a long time ago. The depiction of her as a victim of pretty much everyone and everyone thing around her is just very, very strange.