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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: 7.5 x 4.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (797 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #152,690 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

Patricia Cornwell was born on June 9, 1956, in Miami, Florida, and grew up in Montreat, North Carolina.

Following graduation from Davidson College in 1979, she began working at the Charlotte Observer, rapidly advancing from listing television programs to writing feature articles to covering the police beat. She won an investigative reporting award from the North Carolina Press Association for a series of articles on prostitution and crime in downtown Charlotte.

Her award-winning biography of Ruth Bell Graham, A Time for Remembering, was published in 1983. From 1984 to 1990, she worked as a technical writer and a computer analyst at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Richmond, Virginia.

Cornwell's first crime novel, Postmortem, was published by Scribner's in 1990. Initially rejected by seven major publishing houses, it became the first novel to win the Edgar, Creasey, Anthony, and Macavity Awards as well as the French Prix du Roman d'Aventure in a single year. In Postmortem, Cornwell introduced Dr. Kay Scarpetta as the intrepid Chief Medical Examiner of the Commonwealth of Virginia. In 1999, Dr. Scarpetta herself won the Sherlock Award for best detective created by an American author.

Following the success of her first novel, Cornwell has written a series of bestsellers featuring Kay Scarpetta, her detective sidekick Pete Marino and her brilliant and unpredictable niece, Lucy Farinelli, including: Body of Evidence (1991); All That Remains (1992); Cruel and Unusual (1993), which won Britain's prestigious Gold Dagger Award for the year's best crime novel; The Body Farm (1994); From Potter's Field (1995); Cause of Death (1996); Unnatural Exposure (1997); Point of Origin (1998); Black Notice (1999); The Last Precinct (2000); Blow Fly (2003); Trace (2004); Predator (2005); Book of the Dead (2007), which won the 2008 Galaxy British Book Awards' Books Direct Crime Thriller of the Year, making Cornwell the first American ever to win this award; Scarpetta (2008); The Scarpetta Factor (2009); Port Mortuary (2010); Red Mist (2011); The Bone Bed (2012); and Dust (2013). In 2011 Cornwell was awarded the Medal of Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters, one of France's most prestigious awards to honor those who have distinguished themselves in the domains of art or literature, or by their contribution to the development of culture in France and throughout the world.

In addition to the Scarpetta novels, she has written three best-selling books featuring Andy Brazil: Hornet's Nest (1996), Southern Cross (1998) and Isle of Dogs (2001); two cook books: Scarpetta's Winter Table (1998) and Food to Die For (2001); and a children's book: Life's Little Fable (1999). In 1997, Cornwell updated A Time for Remembering, which was reissued as Ruth, A Portrait: The Story of Ruth Bell Graham. Intrigued by Scotland Yard's John Grieve's observation that no one had ever tried to use modern forensic evidence to solve the murders committed by Jack the Ripper, Cornwell began her own investigation of the serial killer's crimes. In Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper--Case Closed (2002), she narrates her discovery of compelling evidence to indict the famous artist Walter Sickert as the Ripper.

In January 2006, the New York Times Magazine began a 15-week serialization of At Risk, featuring Massachusetts State Police investigator Win Garano and his boss, district attorney Monique Lamont. Its sequel, The Front, was serialized in the London Times in the spring of 2008. Both novellas were subsequently published as books and promptly optioned for adaptation by Lifetime Television Network, starring Daniel Sunjata and Andie MacDowell. The films made their debut in April 2010.

In April 2009, Fox acquired the film rights to the Scarpetta novels, featuring Angelina Jolie as Dr. Kay Scarpetta. Cornwell herself wrote and co-produced the movie ATF for ABC.

Often interviewed on national television as a forensic consultant, Cornwell is a founder of the Virginia Institute of Forensic Science and Medicine, a founding member of the National Forensic Academy, a member of the Advisory Board for the Forensic Sciences Training Program at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, NYC, and a member of the Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital's National Council, where she is an advocate for psychiatric research. She is also well known for her philanthropic contributions to animal rescue and criminal justice, as well as endowing college scholarships and promoting the cause of literacy on the national scene. Some of her projects include the establishment of an ICU at Cornell's Animal Hospital, the archaeological excavation of Jamestown and the scientific study of the Confederacy's submarine H.L. Hunley. Most recently, she donated a million dollars to Harvard's Fogg Museum to establish a chair in inorganic science.

Cornwell's books have been translated into 36 languages across more than 50 countries, and she is regarded as one of the major international best-selling authors. Her novels are praised for their meticulous research and an insistence on accuracy in every detail, especially in forensic medicine and police procedures. She is so committed to verisimilitude that, among other accomplishments, she became a helicopter pilot and a certified scuba diver, and qualified for a motorcycle license because she was writing about characters who were doing these things. "It is important to me to live in the world I write about," she often says. "If I want a character to do or know something, I want to do or know the same thing."

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

Customer Reviews

Some of the characters were not as developed or presented as well as I would have liked.
P. Rodriguez
I have read all the previous Kay Scarpetta novels by Patricia Cornwell and I was really disappointed with this one.
MHP
The plot didn't seem to going anywhere, then all the loose ends were hastily tied up in the last 20 pages.
William J. Gillis

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

76 of 79 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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66 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance M. Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on November 10, 2003
Format: Hardcover
When I first starting reading the Scarpetta novels I thought it was fairly clear what the attract was to each story: a viscous but unusual murder, or series of murders was committed, and Dr. Kay Scarpetta, Chief Medical Examiner for the state of Virginia, would be called in to use her forensic expertise to discover and unravel the clues. Remember that this all began after "Quincy, M.E." went off into syndication and before "C.S.I." first aired, so detective stories hinging primarily on forensic investigation and detailed medical examinations of corpses was not as prominent as it was today. Plus there was the entire sub-text of Scarpetta as an extreme competent woman who was always the target of professional jealousy and/or political intrigue. For years my main complaint about the Scarpetta novels was that they rarely provided a satisfactory sense of catharsis, especially with regards to the despicable characters who were gunning for her professionally; they never seemed to get their comeuppance.
But then the novels started to link up in strange and bizarre ways, and it became clear that Kay Scarpetta was the target of a complex and intricate conspiracy. No matter what the crime, and no matter how unrelated it seemed to what had happened in the previous novels, it turned out that it was all part of this giant conspiracy. From this perspective it is not surprising that there is no true catharsis at the end of any particular novel, because in terms of the big picture there is always more fun to come. However, this leads to the key question with regards to this concerted effort to destroy Kay Scarpetta: Why is author Patricia Cornwell out to get her own creation?
Read more ›
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Matthews on January 19, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Evidently Patricia Cornwell believes that content doesn't matter anymore and environmentalists everywhere should be up in arms that even one tree was sacrificed to print this book. Ghosts from the past are resurrected so that new characters need not be created, the plot is contrived, bloody and boring, Kay is almost beyond redemption and Lucy should be in prison. I will not read the next book if this plot is continued and I have read them all.
Kay Scarpetta fans everywhere need to send a message that we want the original tough, smart, forensic marvel back.
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