Review

Blow Fly: A Scarpetta Novel

by Patricia Cornwell

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Excerpt




Patricia Cornwell's newest novel, BLOW FLY, is the stuff nightmares
are made of. Her famous forensic pathologist Kay Scarpetta is back,
along with her niece Lucy and Detective Pete Marino. They make
their way through this highly suspenseful, brutally realistic novel
of perverted lust and maniacal murder perpetrated by two old foes
responsible for an incalculable number of killings.

Scarpetta has resigned from her post as Chief Forensic Pathologist
in Virginia and now lives in Florida. Lucy has left the FBI and has
her own high-tech private investigative company located in New York
City. Pete Marino has taken his pension and is an angry drunk
without the job he so loved. As the novel opens, the three have
been out of touch for a while, but this soon changes as a series of
shocking events forces the team to reunite. Their lives depend on
it.

Readers of the other Kay Scarpetta novels will certainly recognize
Cornwell's deft hand and pithy prose. But they will also find
themselves propelled to the edge of their seat by the level of
suspense, the unexpected twists, the chilling detail and the ooze
of the evil that pervades BLOW FLY.

Years ago the Chandonne twins, Jay Talley and his brother
Jean-Baptiste, raped and slaughtered their way into the lives of
the Virginia team. Now, after six years, Kay, Lucy and Pete each
receive a letter from Jean-Baptiste. This in itself is a shock
because he was captured, tried for his devilish crimes and sits on
death row. The only way he could get mail out of the prison is
through his attorney, Rocco Caggiano. His nefarious plan is to lure
Scarpetta to the prison with the promise that he, Jean-Baptiste,
will give her the location of his brother Jay and will tell her
enough to bring down the entire Chandonne cartel. He swears that he
will rat out his family of drug dealers, arms dealers, murderers
and their organized crime connections.

Kay reads the letter and the hair on her neck stands up as a chill
shoots up her spine. His beautiful handwriting stuns her as she
realizes he has spent a great deal of time composing the perfect
black calligraphy: "He thinks of her. He is telling her so by the
very act of his artistic penmanship. She reads his words: … I
have what you want. In two weeks I will be dead and have nothing to
say. Ha! You must come to me … or it will be too late to hear
my stories. [But understand] if you do not find me, I will find
you." That enigmatic threat at the end is very difficult for
Scarpetta to digest. What could he mean … he is slated to die
… how could he find her? She, of course, will go see
him.

Lucy's letter was just as bad but she is a hotheaded young woman
who decides to take matters into her own hands when she assumes the
role of vigilante. With one of her colleagues she travels to Europe
where the two follow a path of no return. They make a deadly
choice, perform a deadly deed and get away with murder --- at least
it seems so at the time.

Marino, always a cop at heart, reacts to his letter in a wholly
different way. His son, the boy who he rejected and who hates him,
is the attorney (Rocco) for the Chandonnes and this puts Marino in
a position he hates. His son is capable of the lowest and most
brutal means of getting what he wants for himself and his criminal
clients. Marino is forced to step out of certain boundaries that
were set up when he and Rocco turned their backs on each other and
are as firm when he retired as they were in the
beginning. 

Patricia Cornwell deserves her reputation as a fine writer. Her
series characters are interesting and intelligent. Her legions of
fans have increased with each of her novels. But in BLOW FLY she
transcends everything she has written before. In the final
analysis, readers will find themselves learning the secret thoughts
of the major players; and in some cases those dark and deadly
musings lead to bloody consequences. In the past, Cornwell's novels
were mainly plot-oriented. But this time she allows readers to get
into the hearts and heads of the individuals who comprise her
familiar ensemble. She has reinvented them with more depth and has
made them not only more accessible but more sympathetic.

BLOW FLY is a highly suspenseful read in which surprises explode
and the characters move to another level of believability.

Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum on January 21, 2011

Blow Fly: A Scarpetta Novel
by Patricia Cornwell

  • Publication Date: October 13, 2003
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 465 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam
  • ISBN-10: 0399150897
  • ISBN-13: 9780399150890