×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Isle of Dogs (Andy Brazil Series #3)
     

Isle of Dogs (Andy Brazil Series #3)

1.5 195
by Patricia Cornwell
 

See All Formats & Editions

Patricia Cornwell's novels of big-city police have taken this classic genre to a new level. "Move over, Carl Hiaasen, you've got company," the San Francisco Examiner warned. "Patricia Cornwell has switched to Hiaasen's world of black humor and nearly conquers it." USA Today concurred: "Cornwell has coined a new penny." With

Overview

Patricia Cornwell's novels of big-city police have taken this classic genre to a new level. "Move over, Carl Hiaasen, you've got company," the San Francisco Examiner warned. "Patricia Cornwell has switched to Hiaasen's world of black humor and nearly conquers it." USA Today concurred: "Cornwell has coined a new penny." With Isle of Dogs, Cornwell 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, warning that speeders will be caught by monitoring aircraft flying overhead. But the eccentric Isle of Tangier, fourteen miles off the coast of Virginia in the 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.

With a Swiftian eye for the absurd and dead-accurate aim on her targets, Cornwell delivers another knowing story of the lives of the men and women in blue.

Editorial Reviews

bn.com
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.
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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786233595
Publisher:
Gale Group
Publication date:
12/15/2002
Series:
Andy Brazil Series , #3
Edition description:
Large Print
Pages:
663
Product dimensions:
5.92(w) x 8.58(h) x 1.17(d)

Read an Excerpt

Excerpt from

Chapter 1

"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."

Unique's car was fine and she drove around downtown for a couple of hours, listening to radio newsbreaks about the mugging and hijacking at the Farmer's Market and the speculation that it had been committed by the same gang of highway pirates that had been terrorizing Virginia for months. But this time Unique enjoyed the afterglow a little less than usual. She could have sworn that old black truck driver was dead, and she was irritated that her accomplices had been in such a hurry to run off that they had robbed her of a complete release. Had it been up to her, she would have finished what she started and made sure the truck driver never talked again.

But she wasn't worried about cops paying her any mind as she cruised around in her white Miata at this strange hour. Part of being Unique was not looking like what she was. Part of being Unique was not looking at all like what she did. She was so certain of her invincibility that she pulled off at Fred's Mini Mart, where a police car was parked.

Unique could spot an unmarked car from a block away, and she slipped inside the store as she eyed the handsome young blond man who was paying for a quart of milk at the counter. He was wearing jeans and a flannel shirt, and she searched for any sign of a gun and detected a bulge at the small of his back.

"Thanks, Fred," the blond plainclothes cop said to the man at the cash register.

"You bet, Andy. I've missed seeing you. This whole last year, it's like you dropped off the damn planet."

"Well, I'm back," Andy said, pocketing his change. "You be careful. There's a really bad gang out there. We just had another truck driver hit."

"Yeah, no shit! Heard it on the radio. How bad did they mess him up? I guess you worked the scene."

"Nope. Off duty. I heard about it the same way you did," Andy replied with a trace of disappointment.

"Well, me-I agree with what the newspaper's saying about it being a hate crime thing," Fred said. "From what I hear, the leader's a white dude and all the victims so far are black, except for that female trucker a couple months back. But then, I think she was a minority, too, if you know what I'm saying. Not that I'm a big fan of dykes, but that was pretty horrible. Seems like I read somewhere she had a stick shoved up her and was cut . . . Oh!" Fred exclaimed, startled, as Unique appeared out of nowhere and set a six-pack of Michelob on the counter. "You slipped in so quiet, sugar, I didn't know there was nobody else in the store!"

Unique smiled sweetly. "I'd like a pack of Marlboros, please," she said in a small, soft voice.

She was very pretty and dressed neatly all in black, but her boots were scuffed and they sure were dirty, and she looked as if she had been caught in the rain. Andy noticed a white Miata in the parking lot when he got back in his unmarked Caprice, and he had scarcely driven off when the delicately lovely girl with the strange eyes climbed into the Miata. She followed him through downtown, all the way to the Fan District, and just as he slowed down to see if he could make out her license plate, she turned off on Strawberry Street. Andy had an odd feeling that he couldn't place, and as he returned to his small row house and fixed a bowl of cereal, he had the eerie sensation that he was being watched.

Unique knew how to stalk anybody, including a cop, and she stood across the street in the deep shadows of trees and watched Andy's shadow move from room to room eating something out of a bowl. Several times he parted the curtains and looked out at the vacant, still street. She cast her gaze in his direction and imagined the power she was having over his mind. He was feeling uneasy and sensed Something, she believed, because Unique had been around for a very long time and could trace her most recent possession back to Dachau, Germany, where she had been taken over by a male Nazi. Long before that-she had divined from tarot cards-she had been The Adversary and had eyes all over her body.

Andy parted the curtains again and by now was unsettled enough to carry his pistol everywhere he went inside his house. Maybe he was out of sorts because it really bothered him when a bad case went down, like Moses Custer, and Andy wasn't part of the investigation. It depressed and frustrated him to hear on the news that the trucker was kicked, stomped and beaten, and left for dead, and Andy hadn't been anywhere around to see things for himself and make a difference. Or maybe he was in a dark mood simply because he had been up all night and was excited and scared about what lay ahead.

Andy Brazil had been waiting for this day for an entire year. After endless hours of bone-aching work, he was at last launching his first installment of a special series of essays that in several hours would be posted on an Internet website he called Trooper Truth. The project was both ambitious and unlikely, but he had been quite determined when he first approached his boss about it inside her formidable office at Virginia State Police headquarters.

"Just hear me out before you say no," Andy had said, shutting her door. "And you've got to swear you'll never tell anybody what I'm about to propose."

Superintendent Judy Hammer had gotten up from her desk and been silent for a moment, looking like a publicity portrait of power as she stood in front of the Virginia and United States flags, her hands in her pockets. She was fifty-five years old, a striking woman with keen eyes that could penetrate body armor or empower a crowd, and her smart business suits could not hide a figure that Andy had to resist openly staring at.

"All right." Hammer had begun her characteristic pace around her office as she considered what Andy intended to do. "My first reaction is-absolutely not. I think it would be a big mistake to interrupt your law-enforcement career so soon. And I'll remind you, Andy, you were a cop in Charlotte for only a year, then a cop here in Richmond for only a year, and you've been a state trooper for barely six months."

"And during that time I've written hundreds of crime columns for area papers," he'd reminded her. "That's my most important accomplishment, isn't it? Hasn't your major agenda been to use me to inform the public about what's going on and what the police are doing about it or, in some instances, not doing about it? The whole point has always been to enlighten people, and now I want to do that in a bigger way and to a bigger audience."

Andy's was an unusual career and always had been. He'd gone into journalism right after college and had gotten involved in law enforcement as a volunteer, riding with police and writing eyewitness pieces for the city newspaper. This had been in Charlotte, North Carolina, where Hammer had been chief at the time, and she had eventually hired him as a sworn officer who enforced the law while continuing to write crime columns and editorials. Hammer had allowed him this unprecedented opportunity because she was in an unusual position, too, having been given a grant by the National Institute of Justice that allowed her to take over troubled police departments and straighten them out. She had always seen beyond boundaries and had become Andy's mentor, faithfully bringing him with her as she moved on in her career, but as he sat in her office and watched her pace, he sensed that his plan struck her as ungrateful.

"I appreciate everything you've done for me," he had said to her. "I'm not turning my back on you and disappearing."

"This isn't about my worrying that you're going to disappear," she had replied in a way that made him feel that if he vanished for months she wouldn't miss him in the least.

"I'll make it worth your while, Superintendent Hammer," he promised her. "It's time I have more to say than just who robbed who or how many speeders were caught or what's the latest crime wave. I want to put criminal behavior into the context of human nature and history, and I believe it's important, because people are only getting worse. Can you help me get a grant or something so I can pay my bills while I do the research and write and take flying lessons-?"

"Who said anything about flying lessons?" she had interrupted him.

"The aviation unit's got instructors, and I think I could be much more useful to you if I had my helicopter pilot's license," he'd explained.

Hammer let him have his way, perhaps because she realized he was going to leave her anyway. He could launch a website as a special, classified project while he continued to work for her, she said, but the condition was that he had to remain anonymous, because Governor Bedford Crimm IV, who was an aristocratic, autocratic, impossible old man, did not allow Hammer to disseminate information to the public without his approval. Clearly, whatever Andy wrote could not be directly connected to the Virginia State Police, but at the same time had to reflect favorably on it and encourage the public to support it. She had added that Andy had to be available for emergencies, and if he wanted to learn to fly, he could work that out on his own schedule.

He pushed his luck by asking, "Will I have a travel budget?"

"For what?" Hammer asked. "Where are you going?"

"I'll need funding for archaeological and historical research."

"I thought you were writing about human nature and crime." Hammer had begun to resist him again. "Now what? You're flying helicopters and globetrotting?"

"If I discuss what's wrong with America today, I need to show what was wrong with it when it got started," he'd explained. "And you need more pilots. You've already had two quit on you in the past three months." ...

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 international bestsellers include Postmortem-the only novel to win the Edgar, Creasey, Anthony, and Macavity awards and the French Prix du Roman d'Aventure in a single year-and Cruel and Unusual, which won Britain's prestigious Gold Dagger Award for the year's best crime novel in 1993. Her fictional chief medical examiner, Dr. Kay Scarpetta, won the 1999 Sherlock Award for best detective created by an American author. Cornwell has also helped establish the Virginia Institute of Forensic Science and Medicine, the first forensic training facility of its kind in the nation. Cornwell serves as the Institute's Chairman of the Board.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Boston, MA and New York, NY
Date of Birth:
June 9, 1956
Place of Birth:
Miami, Florida
Education:
B.A. in English, Davidson College, 1979; King College
Website:
http://www.patriciacornwell.com

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.