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Blow Fly (A Scarpetta Novel) Mass Market Paperback – September 7, 2004


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Product Details

  • Series: A Scarpetta Novel (Book 12)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; Reissue edition (September 7, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425198731
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425198735
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 4.4 x 7.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (807 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #369,148 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"Please don't go there. The past is the past," sighs New York Assistant District Attorney Jaime Berger, who herself was introduced in Cornwell's last Kay Scarpetta novel, The Last Precinct (2000). Alas, many of Cornwell's fans are bound to agree. One fascinating nonfiction bestseller (Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper, Case Closed) later, Cornwell now returns to Scarpetta, formerly Virginia's chief medical examiner. From the start, however, the formidable author is up against the equally formidable task of getting her charismatic main character off ice and back in action. We encounter Scarpetta languishing in a crumbling little rental house in Florida. She has taken refuge there and become a private forensic consultant after she was driven from her job for her alleged involvement in the murder of a deputy police chief. The violent death of her lover, Benton Wesley, the brilliant FBI psychological profiler, has left her filled with an unappeasable grief. When the coroner in Baton Rouge asks her advice on a cold case concerning an affluent woman found dead of a drug overdose in a seedy hotel, it seems little more than a diversion. Yet it becomes clear that the overdose may be related to a fresh string of serial killings. Also disturbing Scarpetta's somber peace is a troubling letter from someone out to kill her, the sick and obsessed death-row inmate Jean-Baptiste. When Scarpetta is at last allowed to get back to business, she is a feisty, independent powerhouse whose capacity to concentrate and observe rivals Sherlock Holmes's. But too much of this book is bound up in retrospective musings about events in previous books. The great Scarpetta, her fiery crime-busting niece, Lucy, and a colorful supporting cast deserve better.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Kay Scarpetta fans will miss their favorite forensic pathologist in this new thriller, as Cornwell cedes much of the spotlight to other characters in the long-running series. Lucy, Kay's defiant niece, and Marino, the bad-tempered, opinionated cop, are here, as are several familiar depraved psychopaths--among them, "Wolfman" Jean-Baptiste Chandonne and his twin brother, who first surfaced in Black Notice (2000). It appears that Chandonne, whose execution date is drawing near, wants to see Kay, ostensibly to reveal information about his family that will ensure the collapse of their Mob cartel and to have her administer the drug that will end his life. But, as usual in Cornwell's more recent books, absolutely nothing is what it seems. Granted, there are some compelling (and gruesome) moments, and a few loose ends from previous books are finally taken care of... Otherwise, though, this is a murky stew, indeed, with action careening in way too many directions. Oh, for a return to the Cornwell who created the tough but vulnerable Scarpetta, who, at center stage, used her intellect and forensic training to solve a more straightforward mystery. Stephanie Zvirin
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

In 1990, Patricia Cornwell sold her first novel, Postmortem, while working at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond, Virginia. An auspicious debut, it went on to win the Edgar, Creasey, Anthony, and Macavity awards as well as the French Prix du Roman d'Aventure prize - the first book ever to claim all these distinctions in a single year.

Today, Cornwell's novels and now iconic characters, medical examiner Kay Scarpetta, her niece Lucy and fellow investigator Pete Marino, are known all over the world. Fox 2000 is actively developing a feature film about Kay Scarpetta. Beyond the Scarpetta series, Patricia has written a definitive account of Jack the Ripper's identity, cookbooks, a children's book, a biography of Ruth Graham, and two other fiction series based on the characters Win Garano and Andy Brazil.

Cornwell was born in Miami, grew up in Montreat, North Carolina, and now lives and works in Boston.

Visit the author's website at: www.patriciacornwell.com

Customer Reviews

It felt like she got sick of writing the book and just came up with whatever she could to end it.
C. Schaefer
For two thirds of the book the main characters stumble and bumble their way through the plot, lost in self-pity and paralyzed by neurotic worries.
gregory liptak
I have read all the previous Kay Scarpetta novels by Patricia Cornwell and I was really disappointed with this one.
MHP

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

77 of 80 people found the following review helpful By gregory liptak on April 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Patricia Cornwell used to write terrific books about Kay Scarpetta, filled with action, suspense and science. Her latest effort, Blow Fly, is terribly disappointing. For two thirds of the book the main characters stumble and bumble their way through the plot, lost in self-pity and paralyzed by neurotic worries. They have become pathetic caricatures, and fill the pages with anxiety and meaningless dialogue. Dr. Scarpetta half-heartedly investigates a brutal murder that turns out to be irrelevant to the flow of the narrative. The book comes to an unsatisfying, sudden ending, as if the author remembered that she had another engagement and had to abruptly end her writing.
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53 of 55 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 5, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is the last time I buy a book from Patricia Cornwell before reading the amazon.com reviews. No more pre-ordering for me after Blow Fly. I hated Isle of Dogs immensely and didn't even pay attention to her Jack the Ripper book, but I thought "finally, back to Kay Scarpetta" and pre-ordered Blow Fly. Big mistake. I felt like most of the book was taken up introducing new readers to all of the characters and summarizing her previous Scarpetta books. When it finally did get going, toward the end, I kept looking at the number of pages left, wondering how it was possible that I was almost finished when there was obviously so much story unresolved. The answer came when, in the last few pages, she completely rushed through ending the book. She spent a great deal of the book in the Wolfman's mind, but couldn't spare us 20 more pages for a halfway decent ending?
As to the characters and their attitudes/outlook and whether they're realistic or not and the present tense and the third person writing that the other reviewers disliked, I won't pass judgment on that. It was probably part of the overall "yuck" I felt while reading this book, though.
Next time, I'll be sure to read the reviews here BEFORE I give Patricia Cornwell another dime of my money.
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48 of 50 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 11, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I wholeheartedly agree with the previous posters. In fact, one review sums up my feelings exactly - "When it finally did get going, toward the end, I kept looking at the number of pages left, wondering how it was possible that I was almost finished when there was obviously so much story unresolved." I thought for sure there was a 'To be continued' in my near future. I was shocked when the answers were supposedly crammed into a few short pages. Did Ms. Cornwell run up against a deadline? The book definitely seemed like merely a segue to the next installment, which will hopefully be much more fulfilling.
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By snowyafternoon on October 20, 2003
Format: Hardcover
After the last two Scarpetta disasters, I swore off Cornwell. But got suckered back in by the promise of the "old Kay." Well, I got the "old Kay" but from the last two disasters. Tortured, lugubrious characters; improbable, conspiracy-theory plots; and worst of all - written in present tense! How pretentious and very distracting to read. Like it or not, Ms. Cornwell, the prime consideration for a writer is the audience. I suggest you stick with a diary if you feel so compelled to put forth your own agenda at the expense of the reader.
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4 of 0 people found the following review helpful By bookworm on December 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I read some of the reviews here on Amazon before picking up a copy of "Blow Fly". I preferred to go about the book in the most objective way possible. The first three hundred pages were somewhat good. The pace of the story was fast. I didn't mind the little summaries from the previous Scarpetta novels. However, by page 350 or so the pace of the story slowed down. I also found Nic Robillard's story distracting at times and wish that the author would have minimized her presence a bit because it takes away from Kay Scarpetta's own drama. I also believe that Jay Talley's and Bev Kiffin's demise came too quickly. These characters were disposed of in the fastest way possible and it's too bad because they were too compelling for this cheap brush-off and I honestly felt cheated as a reader. I was also troubled by Jean-Baptiste Chandonne's escape from prison. It didn't feel elaborate enough. That, too, felt easy in comparison to the great detail Ms. Cornwell has presented in earlier works like "Postmortem". I'm also confused about Jean-Baptiste Chandonne's ability to "see". In "Black Notice" Jean Baptiste Chandonne was blinded when Kay Scarpetta threw acid in his face but now in "Blow Fly" he can see. Are we supposed to assume, then, that Chandonne has ESP? That he now has extra-sensory perception that allows him to "see" things even when he's not there, like the way he could visit France even though he was sitting in a Texas prison? I honestly feel that Ms. Cornwell could have done better with this novel. While the short chapter technique she's adopted helped push the story's pace in the first three hundred pages, that doesn't help much towards the end.Read more ›
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4 of 0 people found the following review helpful By William J. Gillis on December 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Either Cornwell has lost her touch, or is off her meds. This Scarpetta novel is as bad as Hornet's Nest and Southern Cross.
The ever-changing inner perspective of the characters (Kay, Lucy, Marino, Benton, Jean Baptiste) was just annoying. I am surprised we didn't get a chapter from the dog's point of view. The plot didn't seem to going anywhere, then all the loose ends were hastily tied up in the last 20 pages.
A lot of the plot devices were just plain stupid (the kid and crooked US attorney "just happen" to be on the plane with Kay - yeah right!)
Someone do a post-mortem - because the Kay Scarpetta we loved is dead. She's been killed off by her egotistical creator. This boodk at the top of the bestseller lists, but that is due to Cornwell's past reputation and shouldn't be taken as a indication that one should waste time reading this piece of tripe.
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