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Isle of Dogs (Andy Brazil Series #3)

Isle of Dogs (Andy Brazil Series #3)

1.5 195
by Patricia Cornwell

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Patricia Cornwell’s novels of big-city police have taken this classic genre to a new level. Now, with this #1 New York Times bestselling novel, she outdoes herself, with a wry tale of life and turmoil behind the blue wall.

Chaos breaks loose when the governor of Virginia orders that speed traps be painted on all streets and highways, and warns that


Patricia Cornwell’s novels of big-city police have taken this classic genre to a new level. Now, with this #1 New York Times bestselling novel, she outdoes herself, with a wry tale of life and turmoil behind the blue wall.

Chaos breaks loose when the governor of Virginia orders that speed traps be painted on all streets and highways, and warns that speeders will be caught by monitoring aircraft flying overhead. But the eccentric island of Tangier, fourteen miles off the coast of Virginia in Chesapeake Bay, responds by declaring war on its own state. Judy Hammer, newly installed as the superintendent of the Virginia State Police, and Andy Brazil, a state trooper and Hammer’s right hand and confidant, find themselves at their wits’ end as they try to protect the public from the politicians—and vice versa—in this pitch-perfect, darkly comic romp.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Move over Carl Hiaasen, you’ve got company. Patricia Cornwell has switched to Hiaasen’s world of black humor and nearly conquers it.”—San Francisco Examiner

“Cornwell has coined a new penny.”—USA Today

Internationally acclaimed as America’s preeminent crime writer for her peerless Kay Scarpetta series, Patricia Cornwell has also established herself as a wry and witty observer of the grueling nature of police work, the mind-set of investigators, and the incredible obstacles faced by police officers and administrators trying to solve a case.

Following up on her sly crime satires Hornet’s Nest and Southern Cross -- both of which were No. 1 New York Times bestsellers -- Cornwell again takes us behind the Blue Wall with the latest Andy Brazil and Judy Hammer novel, Isle of Dogs. This time Brazil and Hammer are off to Richmond, Virginia, to clean up yet another police precinct troubled by all manner of corruption, bureaucracy, and “helpful” politicians and public officials. There they find a dim-witted governor with a deranged plan to distract his constituents from real problems by setting up bogus speed traps throughout the state. When the first trap is planted on Tangier Island -- even though there are virtually no cars on the small, isolated, isle -- the outraged locals take their dentist hostage, secede from the Commonwealth, and declare civil war. And that’s just the start of the crazed, crime-ridden days ahead, as Brazil and Hammer struggle to maintain order while contending with nasty local politicking, a fickle and panicked public, and a government gone deliriously haywire.

This wry, witty, and knowing look at the behind-the-scenes turmoil of police departments -- and the lives of men and women in blue -- once again showcases Cornwell's darkly comic talents. Those talents may be less familiar to the legions of Kay Scarpetta fans out there, but they are no less powerful.

While Cornwell's latest audiobook, Isle of Dogs, is entertainingly narrated, it will probably appeal only to fans of lightweight mysteries. The broad plot involves a psychotic serial killer and a band of modern-day pirates, as well as police chief Judy Hammer and journalist-turned-cop Andy Brazil, both of whom appeared in Southern Cross and Hornet's Nest. Cornwell relies heavily on a whimsical but annoying story line featuring animals endowed with human intelligence. Michele Hall infuses the book with energy and brings much-needed humor to the material.
—Rochelle O'Gorman
Library Journal
Having created a welcome departure from the Kay Scarpetta series with Hornet's Nest and Southern Cross, Cornwell seeks another venue in Isle of Dogs (with unabridged narration by Michelle Hall), though the change is a stylistic failure. Attempting a satiric, tongue-in-cheek approach to crime and mystery, the novel falls flat. The characters tend toward broad, poorly conceived stereotypes, and Judy Hammer, once a promising and strong female role model in law enforcement, is reduced to anxious pacing while Andy Brazil hides behind a series of internet articles by "Trooper Truth" that explore the history of Virginia and pirates. Brazil's alterego is so poorly disguised that the pure stupidity of the characters in the book keep them clueless to his real identity. The strengths of Cornwell's books have been the crises and conflicts raised in tense chess play between good and evil. In this one, wordplay buries the plot, and the result is often silly and painful. The major benefit to the abridged edition, read by Becky Baker, is the excision of some of the endless prattle in the overlapping subplots. Very disappointing; not recommended. Joyce Kessel, Villa Maria Coll., Buffalo, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Andy Brazil Series , #3
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.56(w) x 11.06(h) x 1.15(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

Unique First fit her name like a glove, or at least this

was how her mother always put it. Unique came first

and was one of a kind. There was no one else like

her—and this was a damn good thing, to quote her

father, Dr. Ulysses First, who had never understood what genetic

malignancy blighted his only child.

Unique was a petite eighteen-year-old with long, shimmering

hair that was as black as ebony, and her skin was translucent

like milk glass, her lips full and pink. She believed that

her pale blue eyes could mesmerize whoever looked into them

and that by casting as little as a glance at someone she could

bend that person’s mind to fit her Purpose. Unique could

haunt someone for weeks, building up unbearable anticipation

until the final act, which was a necessary and frenzied release,

usually followed by a blackout.

“Hey, wake up, my car’s broke down.” She knocked on the

window of the Peterbilt eighteen-wheeler that was parked all

by itself at the Farmers’ Market on the fringes of downtown

Richmond. “I’m wondering if you got a phone?”

It was 4:00 A.M., pitch dark, and the parking lot was poorly

lit. Although Moses Custer knew very well that it wasn’t safe

to be out here alone at this hour, he had ignored his usual good

judgment after fighting with his wife and storming off in his

truck, where he intended to spend the night, alone and missing

in action, out by the vegetable stands. That would sure show

her, he always thought when their marital routine turned ugly.

He opened the door of his cab as the knocking on the glass


“Lordy, what’s a sweet little thing like you doing out here at

this hour?” Moses asked, confused and drunk, as he stared at

the creamy, delicate face smiling at him like an angel.

“You’re about to have a unique experience.” Unique said

the same thing she always did right before she moved in for

her Purpose.

“What’chu mean?” Moses puzzled. “What unique ’sperience?”

The answer came in a legion of demons that kicked and

pounded Moses and ripped at his hair and clothes. Explosions

and obscenities erupted from hell, and fire seared his muscles

and bones as savage forces beat and tore him to shreds and left

him dead and drove off in his truck. Moses hovered above his

dead self for a while, watching his mauled, lifeless body on

the tarmac. Blood streamed out from under his head as rain

smacked down, and one of his boots was off and his left arm

was at an angle that wasn’t natural. As Moses gazed down on

himself, a part of him was worn out and ready for Eternity

while another part of him regretted his life and grieved.

“My head’s ruined,” he moaned and began to sob as everything

went black. “Ohhh, my head’s ruined. Lord, I ain’t

ready! It ain’t my time yet!”

Complete darkness dissolved to a floating airspace from which

Moses watched pulsing emergency lights and urgent firemen,

paramedics, and police in yellow rain slickers with reflective tape

that glared like white fire. Flares hissed on wet pavement as a

heavy cold rain fell, and voices were excited and loud and made

no sense. It seemed people were yelling at him and it frightened

Moses and made him feel small and ashamed. He tried to open

his eyes, but it was as if they had been sewn shut.

“What happened to the angel?” he kept muttering. “She

said her car broke down.”

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
“Move over Carl Hiaasen, you’ve got company. Patricia Cornwell has switched to Hiaasen’s world of black humor and nearly conquers it.”—San Francisco Examiner
“Cornwell has coined a new penny.”—USA Today


Meet the Author

Patricia Cornwell's most recent bestsellers include Red Mist, Port Mortuary, and Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper-Case Closed. Her earlier works include Postmortem-the only novel to win five major crime awards in a single year-and Cruel and Unusual, which won Britain's prestigious Gold Dagger Award for the best crime novel of 1993. Dr. Kay Scarpetta herself won the 1999 Sherlock Award for the best detective created by an American author.

Brief Biography

Boston, MA and New York, NY
Date of Birth:
June 9, 1956
Place of Birth:
Miami, Florida
B.A. in English, Davidson College, 1979; King College

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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Isle of Dogs (Andy Brazil Series #3) 1.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 195 reviews.
ahhallam More than 1 year ago
I was intrigued and captivated by Cornwell's new character Andy Brazil when I discovered him in Hornet's Nest, and was pleased to have my liking confirmed in Southern Cross. But in Isle of Dogs, Cornwell has gone way off the deep end, turning the offbeat into the totally unrealistic and reducing all of the characters to cardboard caricatures. This is particularly grievous for the ones we had come to care about in the earlier books, who seemed real and human and could be identified with, even in improbable events and relationships. This book is way too long, too convoluted, too 'precious,' and tries too hard. It's virtually unreadable. Come down to earth, Cornwell.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the very few books I've begun & not finished. "Black Humour" we're promised - "Utter Tripe" we receive. Cornwell is an excellent Crime Pathology writer - her foray into a different genre is woefully unreadable. No stars if it was an option!
Tonia Ritchie More than 1 year ago
If you love the Scarpetta series by Patricia Cornwell, you will NOT like this book. It almost reads like a parody of the Scarpetta series- like she was trying to be funny, but wasn't quite succeeding. An odd book to read, i really had to force myself to finish it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the Scarpetta series so I thought I would give this a try. I am so sorry I wasted my time. I can never leave a book unfinished so I forced myself to finish this one. It never got any better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Could not get into it, boring/hard to follow. I have read better by Cornwell.
gjj More than 1 year ago
I used to read all of Patricia Corwell books, but this one I had to force myself to finish it. After that I never picked up another of her books
mystic88 More than 1 year ago
who thought this was less than Patricia's best effort.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I got about half way through this one and just had to stop. Its characters are about as deep as a tea spoon and each one of them sounds they are addressing a six year old. The tiny portion of the plot that made sense I didn't care about and I found myself simply waiting for it to end, when I realized my time would be better spent reading the back of a soup can.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm so very thankful that this wasn't the first Patricia Cornwell book that I read because I would have never read another, thus would have missed out on some wonderful Cornwell novels. Was she actually trying to write a 'poor' book? Character development, which Cornwell is soooo good at, was all over the board - actually destroying the character of Andy Brazil and Judy Hammer completely! I'll stick to the Scarpetta series from now on.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Good author, terrible book. She must have had a publisher's deadline to meet and was hard up for anything to write. Not at all like her other work which I have always enjoyed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was totally atrocious. There was no character development and the plot (if that is what it can be called) was totally senseless. Trees should not be spared for these types of stories as I laboured through this book with forced interest. It is in my opinion a poor excuse for a book and should not even be in print. There should be a 0 rating for books of such poor quality. This is my first and last book by Patricia no matter how highly rated her other works are. What a let down Patricia!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I also found this book to be hilarious. Maybe the other thumbs-up reader and I have the same warped sense of humor. I have now read all but two of Cornwell's books. I do prefer her Kay Scarpetta stories, but it's nice to know she can be funny, too. I did laugh out loud several times. People ARE as stupid as some of the characters in this book, I am sad to say, and I actually recognized a few as being strangely similar to former co-workers. I admit this book may not be everyone's cup of tea, but if you've got a sarcastic, dry sense of humor, you just may enjoy it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the worst books I've ever slogged through. I bought it because the jacket blurb said it was dark humor, along the lines of Carl Hiaasen. I found nothing in it humorous, or even mildly entertaining. I think Ms. Cornwell should stick with the Kay Scarpetta series.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love to read and once I start a book I have to finish. This was a very painful task. Half way through it a friend asked me 'how was it?' Knowing she is a fan I hated to tell her just how bad this book is so I told her ¿I¿m not really enjoying it.¿ She smiled and said, ¿Everyone I spoke to has said the same. ¿ This was the worst book I have read. Patricia Cornwell is an excellent writer so I just hope this doesn¿t turn to many fans away. I know it will be a while before I try another one of her books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the worst books I've ever had the pleasure of laying down. I cannot believe how bad it was. Although I usually read all of a book that I'm not so sure about, this time I read to just over half before I finally couldn't take it any longer. I really enjoy Ms. Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta books, but this book was so far out in left field that I wondered what drugs the author might have ingested before coming up with this storyline. A man asked, when seeing me with this book at lunch one day, how it was. I had just started it and could only tell him it seemed strange. I wish I could find that man again so I could tell him -- do NOT read this book. I agree with some of the other reviewers -- I wish I could give this book ZERO stars as it certainly doesn't deserve even one!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read the reviews for this book after I bought it, but decided to give it a try anyway. I assumed that if I read it already knowing that it was nothing like the Scarpetta books, and that it was a dark comedy/satire that it would give me a different opinion than the other reviews. Not so. In fact, as everyone else has mentioned, this may be the worst book i have ever read. I feel dumber for having finished it. I strongly don't recommend this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am just so glad that this book was not my first introduction to Patricia Cornwell. I never would have read all the fantastic Dr. Kay Scarpetta series of novels. Where the Isle of Dogs came from I don't know, but boy is it bad. It is mostly silly and fragmented. Even the main characters seem shallow and unheroic. Save your money for Cornwell's Dr. Kay Scarpetta books.
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adw55 More than 1 year ago
I actually do understand dark humor, and this was not it. By far the dumbest book I have ever read. I felt bad for donating it to the library because I didn't want anyone else to endure the pain of reading this book like I did. It was a waste of money and a waste of time.
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Neil_Collins More than 1 year ago
My advice to anyone interested in reading Patricia Cornwell is simple. Start with her first Scarpetta novel, Postmortem, and read in order, all the way through Point of Origen. Don't bother with anything from Black Notice on, and bypass the Andy Brazil books altogether. It pains me to say it, as I have been greatly inspired by Cornwell's earlier work; they were excellently written, thoroughly researched and full of great characters and stories. Isle of Dogs is the third in the Andy Brazil series (Hornet's Nest and Southern Cross being one and two), and is, without question, Cornwell's worst work I've yet read. In fact, within the first 15 pages, I had already had to resign myself to finish the book, despite how bad it was already becoming. The story's premise is that Brazil and Hammer have moved on from fixing all the problems at Richmond, VA PD (First they fixed a department in North Carolina, then moved to Richmond), and are now fixing the State Troopers. Hammer is universally hated, as she is a woman, and everyone hates women, especially stupid people in the South. Brazil, the journalist turned police officer now has four or five years of experience at three different agencies. He decides that the best way to fix this new agency is to put up a website called TrooperTruth.com, wherein he will anonymously publish essays about what's going on with local law enforcement. To do this, he will require a year's paid leave to study archeology in various spots around the globe. He'll also need to get trained and certified as a helicopter pilot. His reasons are never all that clear, but he is smarter than anyone else, and so Hammer allows the secret mission. Back on duty after his year of learning Brazil makes his first post as Trooper Truth, which instantly goes viral and is the talk of the entire Commonwealth of Virginia before noon that same day. In his long winded, highbrow, meandering diatribes, he discusses pirates on the Island of Tangier, mummies, and other items highly pertinent to Virginia law enforcement. Instantly, the half blind Governor believes that Trooper Truth is sending him encoded secret messages in the posts, and all the women in town want to meet him because he must be the man of their dreams. Believable so far? The characters are equally ridiculous and are named as if they were comic book villains: Major Trader, the corrupt press secretary to the Governor; Windy Brees, the Superintendant's airheaded secretary; Hooter Snook, the overweight, dreadlocked, black, senior tollbooth operator; Dr. Faux, the crooked dentist who has been ruining the teeth of the poor folk of Tangier Island; Governor Bedford Crim IV, nearly blind from birth, but at 70 he still can't find his way from the bedroom to the dinning room; Nurse Carless, the clumsy oaf who leaves her patients far worse off than when they arrived. The list goes on. Cornwell paints a bleak picture of old Virginia as well. In her mind, it's a place where every "colored" person talks like Stepin Fetchit, Island folks attempt cessation from the state, and dogs, blue crabs, and trout not only talk amongst themselves, but may be called as witness to various crimes. Of course, the blue crabs all speak with pirate accents as they come from Tangier Island. Oh yeah, and there's also a serial killer. Her given name is Unique First, and she likes to tell people they're going to have "a Unique experience" before she slashes them to death with a box cutter.