Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Front- Patricia Cornwell

Well - where to start....

The Front is the second in Cornwell's 'At Risk' series featuring Massachusetts investigator Win Garano, District Attorney Monique Lamont and Win's grandmother 'Nana". I did read the first one but thought it was confusing and overly complicated. I thought I would try The Front and give this series a second chance.

Lamont sends Garano to Watertown to investigate a very cold case that she thinks may be linked to the Boston Strangler case. Watertown investigators are part of the Front - an organization of law enforcement agencies who do not want to be dependent on the State. Lamont wants Garano to work with 'Stump' a Watertown cop. Lamont has her own agenda but leaves Garano out of the loop. So that's the basic plot - and it sounds reasonable. But then Cornwell throws in Scotland Yard investigating the Watertown case as well. Absurd? Yes.

The plot is far fetched and unconvincing. Cornwell tries too hard with too many surprise connections and convenient, confusing conclusions. It just doesn't wash.

The characters never become real to me. Their characteristics are there but never leap off the page. They are one dimensional. The dialogue tries too hard, but just never becomes believable.
Nana seems to make a gratuitous appearance only as an interesting aside. Lamont is so far fetched it's unbelievable. Garano is the only one who comes close.

Just a big disappointment. The publication of The Front was delayed by over six months from it's original date. It's a smaller hardcover and only 180 pages. Certainly not worth $25.00 Can.

Cornwell's last three novels have been a letdown. Even her Scarpetta novels are suffering. Looking for something similar ( but better?) Try Kathy Reichs.

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