Predator by Patricia Cornwall is a Little Too Much

Predator by Patricia Cornwall

Paperback: 464 pages

Publisher: Berkley (September 26, 2006) 

ISBN-10: 0425210278

This crime novel is from a series that features Kay Scarpetta, and it is filled with oddball characters who are macabre, at best, and I am not even talking about the bad guys.  The story is focussed on a Harvard program that is studying the mind of serial killers, and as the reader we soon find ourselves inside the mind of at least two villains. Throw in a radio shrink,  tree blight,  spiders, Christmas in July, and sadomasochist torture and you have covered maybe 10% of the book. 

This book was written before CSI and such shows dominated the airwaves so a look inside crime scene investigations, autopsies and forensic labs is not a cliche here, and Cornwell is good at delivering details for the crime buff who might be interested. But the sexual and psychological warfare among the characters is as jumbled for the good guys as it is twisted fro the bad ones, and nobody tells the truth much, or trusts anyone.  The plot switches faster than the speed of light and the excesses of the plot detract from the book.

While Cornwall’s characters as always are interesting they are mostly hard to like, and you can feel certain they would never like or trust you if you had a chance to meet them.  Dr. Kay Scarpetta is reserved,  insecure, and suspicious of everyone she has ever known. Troubled lesbian niece Lucy has a secret in this book.  Pete Marino, the macho biker  security chief of the National Forensic Academy, has become a charicature of masogyny and narcissism, and the radio shrink is so shallow no one would ever call her for advice. As a psychologist reading this book I found the psychologists described unartfully. While I cannot give away the ending of the book, it involves a psychological twist that is almost believable, but could have been boltered with some consultation from a psychologist.

The book gets 3 stars, mostly for the forensic details and the villains. The earlier books in the series are better, but this is still a good read and worth your time. Give yourself a glimse inside the mind of the twisted.

Published in: on April 30, 2009 at 4:02 pm  Comments (2)  

Memories of Casino in Nice

With all the poker pros jetting into Nice, France to travel to the Monte Carlo tournament, I am reminded of my most recent trip there, playing at the Petite Casino in Nice.

I am not accustomed to wearing a dark suit to a casino, but that was just about the easiest part. I was playing blackjack and the fun part was, since I was winning and the casino was small, all the wealthy arabs began to bet with me against the house.  I had never been in a casino where strangers can do that, but I tried to keep my focus. Fortunately good play is independent of such matters.

But what really floored me was I had inverted the exchange rate and when I cashed out, instead of winnings in the hundreds it was in the thousands. But I had not  even come close to realizing that all those humoungous bets  the onlookers were making on me brought them winnings closer to 6 figures….

I guess this was a seminal experience on the path to an eventual moneymaking career in cards. But I better learn to keep my exchange rate calculator on hand.

Published in: on April 28, 2009 at 8:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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Maryland/DC Book Store Vertigo Closes

Another bookstore is closing. Putting it succintly, they did not sell enoughbooks. The following blogpost looks at the economics of shopping local:

Published in: on April 15, 2009 at 11:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

General Thoughts About Books and Book Promotion

Rumor has it that Barnes and Noble is in talks to try to get their own ereader to compete with Kindle. Different companies are mentioned and nobody is confirming anything so it may all be hype.

NPR is doing a segment with Sarah and Candy from SmartBitchesTrashyBooks. They are one of the more popular sites and gained some fame when they caght a well known author in plagiarism. The NPR interview will air on Saturday April 11th,  They are promoting thier new book, Beyond Heaving Bosoms.

Anyone who is using Twitter, may have noticed its catching fire. All the mentions in the main stream media are fueling a growth that is taxing the servers. This week most of the avatars briefly disappeared and in the afternoons the wait for tweets can be several minutes longer than instantaneous. One of the fun things about twitter is that a haiku like brevity can put a premium on good writing.  Let’s hope that it can survive the success and doesnt fall down like Digg and other sites, who couldn’t handle success well. Stumble Upon seems to be improving though, and many authors have found that writing for hubpages  regularly can be a good way to get something akin to a small writer’s pension in place, as it gives you passive income from any articles you write.

Lee Goldberg reports that Fox is yanking Dollhouse after episode 12, and will not be airing the 13th episode. Sounds like a gimmick to get interest, at least in that last episiode if not in renewing.



Published in: on April 9, 2009 at 7:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Borders Struggling

 There are quite a few less Waldenbooks bookstores, as Borders (who owns Waldenbooks) continues to struggle. Borders announced that they have closed more than 15% of their Waldenbooks stores and 4 of the Borders Superstores. The Borders stores revenue was down about 15% and Waldenbooks lost about 1/3 of that figure. Book comps were down as well reflecting the cutbacks at the publishers.

Published in: on April 1, 2009 at 3:20 pm  Leave a Comment  
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