Friday, March 11, 2011
It's a city of ambition and pride, a city long ago dubbed "the hornet's nest of America." A swarming symbol dominates the badge of the police department that protects it--the image of a darting, restless fighter: the whirling dervish of a hornet. Like the violence that swirls around Charlotte during a long, hot summer, the hornet traces a dark, angry path, touching down unexpectedly, bringing stings of surprise wherever it lands.
Patricia Cornwell's brilliant new novel carries its own surprises. The creator of Kay Scarpetta, the most fascinating character in contemporary crime fiction, now cunningly reveals the heart and soul of a metropolitan police department. With Charlotte as her simmering background, she propels us into the core of the force through the lives of a dynamic trio of heroes: Andy Brazil, an ambitious young reporter for The Charlotte Observer and an eager--sometimes too eager--volunteer cop; Police Chief Judy Hammer, the professionally strong yet personally troubled guardian of Charlotte's law and order; and her deputy chief, Virginia West, a genuine head-turner who is married to her job. To walk the beat with Hammer, West, and Brazil is to learn the inner secrets of police work--the tensions and the tedium, the hilarity and the heartbreak, the unexpected pump of adrenaline and the rush of courage that can lead to heroics...or death.