Thursday, October 25, 2018

Point of Origin by Patricia Cornwell (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Dr Kay Scarpetta, Chief Medical Examiner and consulting pathologist for the federal law enforcement agency ATF, is called out to a farmhouse in Virginia which has been destroyed by fire. In the ruins of the house she finds a body which tells a story of a violent and grisly murder.

The fire has come at the same time as another even more incendiary horror: Carrie Grethen, a killer who nearly destroyed the lives of Scarpetta and those closest to her, has escaped from a forensic psychiatric hospital. Her whereabouts is unknown, but her ultimate destination is not, for Carrie has begun to communicate with Scarpetta, conveying her deadly - if cryptic - plans for revenge."

My Thoughts:

I don't usually review books that are part of long standing series for various reasons but the main one being that it is so hard!  It's so hard to not share spoilers both intentionally and unintentionally.  If you haven't read this book or the earlier/later books in this series and intend to (which you should as I'm a huge fan of this series overall), go ahead and move right along and skip reading this post.  I'm giving you the FULL warning here that I intend to spoil the heck out of this book because I have so many feelings and need to get them all out.  Okay, I've given the spoiler warning so let's move on to my thoughts on this book!

As I've been reading the earlier books in this series, I've gotten many comments on how this series kind of gets off track at some point causing many readers to stop reading.  I WOULD NOT be surprised if it was because or starting with this book.  Although I didn't love the first book, Postmortem,  I did enjoy it enough to continue and have really loved many of the first eight books in this series.  Looking back at Goodreads shows that I rated at least two of them five star reads (and honestly I don't even think I rated or reviewed the others due to not always sharing my thoughts about books that are part of a series).  I started off really loving this book!  It was just as compelling, suspenseful, and eerie as many of those other books were which is why I have loved them so much.  Cornwell is amazing in my opinion at leaving the reader guessing throughout most of the book which makes it hard to stop reading.  I was trucking along with this book when the author completely pulled the rug out on me.  Benton dies in this book?!?!  What in the world?  What made it even more confusing for me as the reader is that I've read two later books in this series - it's what got me started on reading this series from the beginning in the first place.  And Kay is married to him in those books so he is very much alive.  Knowing that made reading the last half of this book so confusing.  I kept waiting for Kay to find him - to realize that he was alive - thinking that this was all Carrie's doing - only to find that was not the case at all.  This book even ends with the scattering of Benton's ashes.  By the time I finished this book I was annoyed.  Annoyed because not only does this book end with Benton apparently dead but also Carrie Grethen is too - and she is ALSO alive in later books.  Seriously?!?  I'm trying to understand why the author would even make this decision with Benton's character but then also to do it with another major character?  I'm at a loss here folks.  So what do you think I did?  I went and read the summaries for the next books in this series to figure out when Benton comes back because he obviously does. And then I read reviews of this book to see if others would spoil what happens/how in the heck Cornwell believably or unbelievably brings Benton back to life.  Color me severely annoyed to find that not only does she bring him back but that both Marino and Lucy were in on it the entire time.  You've got to fucking be kidding me here (pardon the language but c'mon).  I just don't get it, I really don't.  If she wanted to kill Benton's character off for whatever reasons, she should have stuck with that decision.  Not go back and change your mind which is REALLY how this feels to me/comes across and then write him back in what sounds like a laughable manner.  I literally do not know how I'm going to read the next couple of books.  Part of this is my fault - I read those later books first so when reading this one I knew that it couldn't possibly be the truth when it all went down.  But really, even if I hadn't read the books in the order I did I can almost guarantee how cheated I would have felt when I got to whatever book that he returns in.  The ending of this book was so emotional and heartbreaking that I just cannot begin to understand her decisions afterwards with those next books.  Bleh.  This book would have been a 4 1/2 star read for me but I don't even know how to rate it now.  

The question remains - will I continue on with this series?  The answer at this point is yes but not any time soon.  I read this one a couple of weeks ago and I still get heated when I think about it.  I'm going to give myself a bit of a break and work on other books from my never-ending TBR list.  I'll go back and we will see how it all plays out.  The positive side of all of this is that I know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and the books get better (or more like what I enjoyed in these earlier reads).  So I have that to look forward to which helps make me want to keep reading.  And I must admit to still being very curious.  Where does she go from here?  Is this what actually turned off other readers from this series or is there something else?  I don't know at this point because I definitely didn't see this coming so who knows what else I can expect.  So there's my convoluted thoughts on this book.  I really liked it until I didn't.  For the series as a whole I can definitely recommend books one through eight.  It's super important to read them in order as events that happen in one become important in others - that kind of thing.  But they really are so good and that's why this book was so hard for me to stomach by the end.  If you've read this series and this book - what were your thoughts?  I would love to discuss this one with other readers!!

Bottom Line:  I don't even know what to say here - I'm a bit bitter overall with this one is the best way to put it.

Disclosure:  I checked this one out from my local library.  Thoughts are my own.


  1. OK, yes, this is the issue that made me quit the series and it was a long time ago. I didn't remember which book was the one where he died or where he came back - but...when he came back, I said 'nope, I have too many other series to read' - and I do. My thoughts were not so much that she killed off a major character - it happens. Dana Stabenow did it (SPOILER). However, she didn't bring the character back to life. I agree that the first books are excellent and they were fresh and interesting because Cornwell was at the forefront of writing about forensics. However, I've never gone back. Although, never say never. I wonder if I would react differently these days - I've read an awful lot more crime novels since that time.

    Take a break and then see what you think. :-)

  2. Sam, thank you for your thoughtful and honest review of this thriller. I have a different book by Patricia Cornwell in my towering TBR stacks that I'd like to read, at some point.


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