Southern Cross -

Patricia Cornwell

Published by Blackstone Audio, 2015
ISBN 10: 1481534130 / ISBN 13: 9781481534130
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Synopsis:
[Read by Karen White]

Following in the path of her blockbuster Kay Scarpetta thrillers, Patricia Cornwell's novel is a testimony to the singular versatility and narrative power of one of the country's best-read storytellers. In Southern Cross, she casts her shrewd and knowing eye at the men and women in blue, in a story of corruption, scandal, and murder.

Richmond, Virginia, is a city rich in Southern history, yet overrun by such modern-day problems as drug trafficking and escalating juvenile crime. Former Charlotte police chief Judy Hammer is brought in to clean up the police force - the most difficult assignment of her career. Now, in the face of overwhelming public scrutiny, she must navigate through local politics and prejudices to solve a brutal murder that springs straight from the rotting core of Richmond's heart . . .

Review: In their first appearance (Hornet's Nest, 1997), Chief Judy Hammer, Deputy Virginia West, and reporter-turned-rookie-cop Andy Brazil battled a serial killer in Charlotte, North Carolina. Now, in Patricia Cornwell's Southern Cross, the trio are dispatched to Richmond, Virginia--via an NIJ (National Institute of Justice) grant--to quell the growing gang problem and modernize the beleaguered Richmond PD. They bring with them a sophisticated computer program for tracking criminal activity and a tried-and-true methodology for reforming Richmond's men and women in blue. Unfortunately, Hammer, Brazil, and West could not have been prepared for the resentment they would confront... or the bizarre cast of characters they would find upon their arrival: Lelia Ehrhart--wealthy (and nosey) chair of the Blue Ribbon Crime Commission--whose heavy European accent renders her English dangerously hilarious; Butner "Bubba" Flunk IV--tobacco industry worker, gun collector, and UFO aficionado; Smoke--the sociopathic leader of the Pikes gang; and Weed Gardener--14-year-old painter turned master graffiti artist.

Unlike Cornwell's usual fare, Southern Cross is driven almost exclusively by an interest in these strange personalities and their surreal hometown, rather than in fast-paced thrills. The novel becomes a satire on city politics, Southern culture, the ever-tense relationship between the police and the public, and the struggles of the average man and woman with computer technology. Cornwell does fall down in a few places. First, her description of the computer virus that somehow infects police department Web sites from Richmond to New York seems a bit far-fetched. Also, her narrative, divided among three major characters, loses its focus and sags at several points. In the end, though, Southern Cross is redeemed by Cornwell's inimitable renderings of police work and the quotidian life of Richmond's many odd denizens. --Patrick O'Kelley

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Southern Cross -
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Publication Date: 2015
Book Condition: BRAND NEW

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