Monday, April 13, 2020

Book Review: Quantum, by Patricia Cornwell

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

“This is bad, really bad.” I’m not going to sugarcoat it. “Either the ID wasn’t deactivated after all, or something far more nefarious is going on.”

“I guess you can drill down into the metadata or whatever and see if something was tampered with,” Fran says with little enthusiasm, likely thinking such a thing isn’t possible, and she couldn’t be more mistaken. “I sure hope not, but again, what’s the truth about her badge, and why is she dead? Have you had a chance to look at the call sheet I sent you? And the suicide note?”

“Not yet. I’ll take a look when I’m not driving.”

“You want to fill me in on what you’ve been doing since I talked to you what…? Forty-five minutes ago?” she then says. “Not answering emails or your phone. Off the radar. Where have you been and with whom? You get abducted by aliens? You sure you’re okay? You don’t sound happy.”

“I’m headed to a death scene,” I almost snap at her, and that’s not like me. What’s happy about it? Especially this one?

“Something’s happened since I saw you last. You’re in a funk, all right.” Fran cares about me enough that she’s not going to stop until I confide what’s wrong, and I can’t.


Patricia Cornwell has been a recognizable bestselling author for years, so the chance to read the first book in a new series by her was exciting. Unfortunately this book appears to be the first half of one story, with no real conclusions at the end of 300+ pages.

Official synopsis:

Book Review: Quantum, by Patricia Cornwell
On the eve of a top secret space mission, Captain Calli Chase detects a tripped alarm in the tunnels deep below a NASA research center. A NASA pilot, quantum physicist, and cybercrime investigator, Calli knows that a looming blizzard and government shutdown could provide the perfect cover for sabotage, with deadly consequences.

As it turns out, the danger is worse than she thought. A spatter of dried blood, a missing security badge, a suspicious suicide—a series of disturbing clues point to Calli’s twin sister, Carme, who’s been MIA for days.

Desperate to halt the countdown to disaster and to clear her sister’s name, Captain Chase digs deep into her vast cyber security knowledge and her painful past, probing for answers to her twin’s erratic conduct. As time is running out, she realizes that failure means catastrophe—not just for the space program but for the safety of the whole nation.

Brilliantly crafted, gripping, and smart, Patricia Cornwell’s cliffhanger ending will keep readers wondering what’s next for Captain Calli Chase.


Captain Calli Chase and her twin sister Carme could be interesting characters. While Carme is just in the shadows of this book, Calli is the constant narrator. In a disappointing twist, Calli was meticulous in everything she did, and how she explained it all in her internal monologue for the reader. More than 15 pages covered her getting ready to head in to work and her mental meanderings at one point.

Several story lines are left open-ended, including a teaser story about trauma in the sisters’ past, what’s going on with Carme now, a staged suicide, and a missing person last seen with Carme. Calli is supposed to be one of the smartest people around NASA (she says so repeatedly) but for some reason she’s out of the loop during the day this book takes place. While she seems to be finding clues, she never exactly finds out why she’s not included in things she says she usually would be.

Overall, I’d give this book 2 out of 5 stars, mostly just in anticipation that the second book may tie things together more.

{click here to purchase}

Becki Bayley reads for fun. She also blogs at SweetlyBSquared.com.

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