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Blood Memory: A Novel Hardcover – February 15, 2005

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; First Edition edition (February 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743234707
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743234702
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (260 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #303,832 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Iles's previous thriller, 2003's provocative The Footprints of God, featured an omnipotent supercomputer and an on-the-run duo racing around the globe from North Carolina to Jerusalem. This time, Iles returns to more familiar ground: Natchez, Miss.; New Orleans; and the Mississippi delta, where a serial predator has been killing middle-aged men. Forensic odontologist Cat Ferry, an expert on teeth and the damage they can inflict, is called in by the New Orleans PD to explain the bite marks found on the bodies. Cat, the alcoholic granddaughter of Dr. William Kirkland, owner of the sprawling Malmaison estate and the richest, most powerful man in Natchez, has solved previous murders with her married detective lover, Sean Regan. This time, though, she's pregnant with Sean's baby, and this plus the discovery of old bloody footprints hidden in the carpet fibers of her Malmaison childhood bedroom threaten to plummet her into the depression that's plagued her since she was 15. She thinks one footprint might be hers, made on the night her father died of an ill-explained gunshot wound. Iles weaves in dark strains of child sexual abuse and the resulting repressed memories as Cat searches for the serial killer and for answers about her father's death. This overlong novel lacks the scintillating originality that made Iles's last outing so memorable, but he ties up all the loose ends in an exciting climax.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In his ninth book, Iles returns to the Deep South, an old Natchez mansion to be exact, where 31-year-old Catherine Ferry, a forensic specialist, retreats after panic attacks interfere with her work on what appears to be a string of serial killings. No sooner does she arrive than she discovers that the facts of her privileged if troubled youth in the house, where black servants still cater to the whims of Cat's racist, iron-willed grandfather, are an elaborate fiction. In her quest for the truth, especially about the brutal death of her father, she opens the door to a disturbing family history that puts her at both physical and emotional risk--and, eventually, leads her to the doorstep of an unusual serial killer. Iles' dialogue leaves something to be desired this time around ("I have to keep digging until I uncover the truth. If I don't, I'll go mad"), and a heavy dose of melodrama (Cat, a longtime alcoholic with bipolar disease, goes cold turkey when she discovers she's pregnant) gets in the way of the mystery. Still, this provocative tale of twisted lives and dark, agonizing secrets delivers enough atmospheric suspense to keep Iles' many fans entertained till the last page. Stephanie Zvirin
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Greg Iles was born in 1960 in Germany where his father ran the US Embassy medical clinic during the height of the Cold War. After graduating from the University of Mississippi in 1983 he performed for several years with the rock band Frankly Scarlet and is currently member of the band The Rock Bottom Remainders. His first novel, Spandau Phoenix, a thriller about war criminal Rudolf Hess, was published in 1993 and became a New York Times bestseller. Iles went on to write ten bestselling novels, including Third Degree, True Evil, Turning Angel, Blood Memory, The Footprints of God, and 24 Hours (released by Sony Pictures as Trapped, with full screenwriting credit for Iles). He lives in Natchez, Mississippi.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By T. Slaven VINE VOICE on March 5, 2005
Format: Hardcover
At age 31, Cat Ferry has it all going for her: brains, beauty, family wealth, and an accomplished career in a branch of the dental sciences that puts her into frequent contact with police officers solving intriguing crimes. But Cat Ferry is a mess: dental school was a refuge from the medical school she was asked to leave, she has a string of broken relationships with older men, alcoholism is a likely diagnosis, and her current relationship with a married police officer is quickly reaching its crisis point. The good and the bad converge as Cat is drawn into the solution of two mysteries. One involves a series of bizarre related homicides in her adopted city of New Orleans. The other involves the unsolved murder of her own father decades earlier in her home city of Natchez. Is there a relationship between these two series of events so removed in time? It begins to seem so as Cat becomes the Clarice Starling to a (fortunately) non-cannibalistic psychiatrist who both figures obscurely in her own past and emerges as a link among the New Orleans homicide victims. Cat's journey toward the solution of these mysteries has as many twists and turns as the river that connects the two central points in the story, and it takes place against a menacing background of power, passion, violence and repressed memory that is just as raw and threatening as the bayous that predominate the landscape between her two homes, then and now.

This book is very good reading for several reasons. First, it is very different from much popular mystery fiction today, which tends to be formulaic and abbreviated.
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127 of 151 people found the following review helpful By ellen VINE VOICE on February 20, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This reviewer is not one who like a child in class tells you the plot of a novel - you are mature enough to read the plot line when you are contemplating the book to buy.
What I want to tell you is why you should choose this book, or any Greg Iles books.
He not only chooses diverse subjects for each books, but almost all of his books have a lyric quality in his writing, that makes layers upon layers as you read - there is beauty in his style that is magic. I can quote passages from his earlier works, and not many can say they do that with other authors. I sent a 'fan letter' to Iles and he was gracious and I was impressed.
I call him our generation's Faulkner, because he not only knows the South, but knows how to portray it not in black and white, but how it weaves its spell into the plot of the novel.
If you have not read Mortal Fear and The Quiet Game, they are definite must haves. The others are excellent, but have varying impact on the reader. Blood Memory stands out among his excellent works - and is worth the wait we fans had to endure.
Usually his works come out in September, and we had some time to wait this time, but it is worth it.
This is a man who has a gift. Read the plot above, or others' reviews that read like a book review in school, although the book's subject is serious. What I am here to tell you is WHY to buy a book. It hits you on many levels and makes you think as well as experience. And that makes the difference between a good writer and a great one.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By mackattack9988 on February 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Blood Memory ranks right up there with the best of Greg Iles' novels to date, such as The Quiet Game and Mortal Fear. He is really talented at weaving complicated suspense with interesting characters, and in this book he returns to the Mississippi setting he knows so well. There are even appearances from characters and a storyline from two of his previous books, so that's a little extra fun for readers familiar with his work. What makes Iles' books even more appealing is the range of topics that he explores. Each book is a well-written suspense tale, and Blood Memory is no exception. I think it's his best book by far since The Quiet Game. The topical subject matter of Blood Memory is a troubling reality. While the basic plot idea of vengeance in this arena has been tried by other authors, Iles tells a more powerful story across the spectrum of predator and prey. This book really has a lot going for it: classic Iles suspense, detailed forensics, strong female characters, and vivid storytelling. Not only is it a hard book to put down, it's also one that will be hard to forget.
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47 of 60 people found the following review helpful By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 23, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Catherine Ferry, the protagonist of "Blood Memory," is in deep trouble. She is an alcoholic with a long history of promiscuity and manic depression. Cat is a forensic odontologist who is having an affair with Sean Regan, a married homicide detective with the New Orleans Police Department. Her relationship with Sean is an open secret that may soon derail both their careers and Sean's marriage. Cat has helped Sean solve a number of murder cases in the past. Now, they are investigating a series of brutal homicides of older men who were shot and covered with bite marks. For reasons that elude her, Cat has had panic attacks at several of the crime scenes, and she is rapidly losing her professional credibility.

Much of "Blood Memory" is a recounting of Cat's hazy recollections of her early childhood. She fondly remembers her beloved father, Luke, a Vietnam veteran who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. Cat's grandfather, Dr. William Kirkland, is a powerful, tough, and influential businessman who has no tolerance for weakness. Her mother and aunt are unhappy women with serious personal problems of their own. Only by delving into her past will Cat uncover the dark secrets that have caused her so much pain for so many years. Both in flashback and in the present, the author provides evocative and vivid descriptions of Natchez, Mississippi, Cat's and Iles' home town.

"Blood Memory" starts out well. Cat is a sympathetic heroine. She is smart, tenacious, and beautiful, but her problems threaten to overwhelm her. Will she be able to stay away from alcohol? Will her mania and depression destroy her ability to function? Will her married lover give up his wife and children to be with her?
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