Guest Post by Shannon
An extract from All That Remains by Patricia Cornwell
I don’t think I had been in my job more than several days when I met him for the first time. I was in the morgue performing an autopsy when a big man with an impassive face walked in and positioned himself on the other side of the table. I remembered feeling his cool scrutiny, I had the uncomfortable sensation he was dissecting me as thoroughly as I was dissecting my patient.
“So you’re the new chief.”
He had posed the comment as a challenge, as if daring me to acknowledge that I believed I could fill a position never before held by a woman.
“I’m Dr. Scarpetta,” I had replied. “You’re with Richmond City, I assume?”
He had mumbled his name, then waited in silence while I removed several bullets from his homicide case and receipted them to him. He strolled off without so much as a “good-bye” or “nice to meet you,” by which point our professional rapport had been established. I perceived he resented me for no cause other than my gender, and in turn I dismissed him as a dolt with a brain pickled by testosterone. In truth, he had secretly intimidated the hell out of me. It was hard for me to look at Marino now and imagine I had ever felt him threatening. He looked old and defeated, shirt straining across his big belly, wisps of graying hair unruly, brow drawn in what was neither a scowl nor a frown but a series of deep creases caused by the erosion of chronic tension and displeasure.
What impression of the man is created by the authors description of him and his actions?