Book Review: Quantum by Patricia Cornwell

Book Review: Quantum by Patricia Cornwell (2019) 2 Stars  **

Patricia, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! You screwed up. No nice way to say this. Maybe you got tired of your hugely popular character, Dr. Kay Scarpetta? Did you think your readers had enough of her and didn’t want to read about her investigative crime solving role as a medical examiner? No, no, and no! Send this new character, Capt. Calli Chase, back to cardboard land—send all her associates with her—and forget about any sequels, prequels, or whatever. Get back to what you do best. Yes, I know Dr. Kay was surrounded by haters, liars, saboteurs, competitors, frustrations, and disappointments. It pained me that every person in her life—beloved husband and niece included—lied to her, kept important things from her, manipulated and used her. But, hey, Patricia, you created these relationships! Then you transferred the same horrendous personal relationships to Captain Calli Chase! Your mistrust of people, women in particular, is apparent.

Back to Quantum and Capt. Calli Chase. NASA pilot, quantum physicist, cyberscience investigator, potential astronaut candidate starts off investigating the possible security breach involving a rocketship soon headed to outerspace from Langley Mission Control, Virginia. Calli and her supervisor/good friend, Fran, go to  investigate the beeping alarm, but no evidence of the problem can be found by Calli. We have two miltary, gun-toting women, but Fran is afraid of dark tunnels where the alarm is beeping, has anxiety attacks, and refuses to enter the place of the possible breach, yada, yada, yada. Can you believe this? Calli is an even more superior woman because her boss is a total waste. PUHLEEZE! By the way, the reader never finds out the cause of the breach. Lots of internal musings, but no answer. It appears the author intends to answer this and other pertinent questions in her next novel. ( I won’t be reading it.)

Calli and her identical twin sister, Carme (pronunced Karma) are the only offspring of two genius career military types. ALL of them are secretive, noncommunicative, aloof, and often MIA without explanation. As children and teenagers, Calli and Carme would exchange identities for fun without being caught. Calli believes Carme may have breached the dark tunnel without leaving any trace. But, maybe not. Dick, the head honcho and Calli’s dear long-time friend, suspects Calli might really be Carme, so doesn’t trust her with any information. Since Carme is MIA and no one seems to know where she is or if she’s in danger, Calli is worried, but maybe not, since they are competitors for the one astronaut opening, and Carme has undermined and tricked Calli repeatedly in the past. Maybe Dick knows, but he’s not talking. Maybe Calli’s mom or dad know, but they’re not talking. Fran says she doesn’t know, but maybe she’s not being truthful.

In the end, the rocket is launched successfully with a glitch in the system which is corrected in the nick of time by an unseen, unknown person. Carme? Maybe, maybe not.

Instead of developing the main character, the author spent two years studying every technical piece of information about rocket launching and put everythig in the first one hundred pages of the book! An experienced author such as this should know better than to do this. Callie is not relatable or a sympathetic character. The book reads more like a text book than a novel. There is no conclusion other than the rocket launched. By the way, I was 75% through the book before I realized that the possible rocket launching sabotage was THE problem in the book. So many loose ends and so many extraneous, beside the point space fillers!

I found myself skipping paragraphs to move myself along. The book is written in the first person, so Calli’s musings made her appear neurotic—almost an incomprehensible stream of consciousness at times—back and forth between her thoughts and the almost non-existent action around her. The story takes place mostly inside Calli’s head—not a desirable place to be.

The author does not do well with laborious research resulting in a truckload of facts. She becomes bogged down by them and loses her creativity. She did the same thing with her book about Jack the Ripper. So much disturbing research, by the author’s admission, depressed her and was transferred to the tone and content of that book, as well as into her personal life. It would seem the weight of the facts overwhelmed Patricia Cornwell in this book also.

 

Please let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at author@elainedonadio.com.

I wish you all a life inspired by the wonder of the world around us. May you find and live your truth, in harmony with people, nature and the environment. May you be a force for good and a source of love and comfort. May the world be a better place for you having lived and loved here.

All rights reserved 2019

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Saturday, March 14, 2020- Barnes & Noble, Massapequa, NY 12:00-4:00pm

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