32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on 16 October 2003
Calling all Scarpetta fans....This is not the usual Scarpetta outing, as Patricia Cornwell has changed her Style of writing.
I'm a huge fan of Ms Cornwell & Scarpetta and have collected her work since the early 90's.
I feel I was left out in the cold while reading Blowfly and more than a little confused.
The chapters are very short (some only half a page) and jump from one part of the plot to the next without drawing breath.
Instead of feeling like I was part of the team, as I usually do reading Scarpetta novels, I felt more like an outsider.
To me Blowfly feels more like a re-introduction of characters, some old and some new, than a continuation of the series. But stick with it as all becomes clear in the end.
I hope we don't have to wait too long for book 13 (if there is one!) Three years is a long time to wait for a Scarpetta fan.
But please let the next book be in the style of classic Scarpetta.
44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on 21 October 2003
Before I start, I have to say that I've found the last few installments of the Scarpetta series to be simple variations on a theme. The stories have gone from being about the cases of the CME of Richmond, who happens to be called Kay Scarpetta, to being about Kay Scarpetta, who happens to be the CME of Richmond, her family and the things that happen to them.
You can imagine, then, the uncertainty I felt when purchasing this book, especially since Ms Cornwell has radically changed the style of writing.
First off, that style of writing takes some getting used to. Not the third person part - that's fairly standard and, I think, makes the book more interesting - you get to see far more of the action this way.
The problem is that Ms Cornwell has decided to write in the present tense, which occasionally causes eye-watering moments as one has to become accustomed to reading it.
The other major problem was that even if you finish the book it feels unfinished. The story sort of tails off with the kind of ending that's obviously setting things up for a sequel but ties up many loose ends in one fell swoop and makes the reader feel cheated when things were just getting exciting.
All in all this book is worth reading, but only if you're a die-hard Scarpetta fan. If not, I'd suggest sticking with the earlier novels which are by far better written and more exciting.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 6 July 2004
Having approached this book with an open mind, I felt pretty disappointed. The days when Scarpetta, Lucy and Marino were larger than life characters and the science behind the stories given in great detail are most definately over.
The storyline just feel tired, like Cornwell has run out of inspiration and plots. The characters don't really go anywhere, you no longer identify with them, or feel anything about them at all. And, as has been said, the story is too complex - it flits about and you find you're having to go back and re-read things multiple times to figure what is going on. Too much knowledge of previous books is assumed - I have read all of the previous Scarpettas, albeit a while ago, and felt utterly confused because I couldn't remember where the characters previously made an appearance or why.
The story seems to drag for most of the book without really going anywhere or anything happening, then in last last few pages everything happens at once, only it is 'behind the scenes' - the reader doesn't witness the events, it is told second hand in a matter of a few lines. The ending is blatantly set up for a continuance in the next novel, but if that one is anything like this I wouldn't rush out to buy it.
The book is an ok read if you're just looking to pass time, but it's not the most thrilling thing you'll come across. Not at all what we've come to expect from Patricia Cornwell.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 4 May 2004
I am a big fan of the Scarpetta series. Having previously read Isle of Dogs, I could not commit to being a huge Cornwell fan as she can demonstrate a disregard for plot and characters which leaves the reader baffled.
So I waited for Blow Fly quite eagerly and was extremely disappointed.
Cornwell seems to have just gone through the motions with this one. Maybe she was under pressure from her publisher, maybe she had too many ideas, maybe the editor was over-zealous with the red pen, I don't know what, but something clearly isn't right with this book.
The characters are sketchy and implausible this time around and the story tries to tie up too many loose ends from previous books, there is too much going on for a book of this length. Had she taken the time to beef out the content, maybe this would have been better, it's hard to say, but I couldn't believe that I only had 2 pages left to read and so much needed bringing together. The books ends too soon, almost as if Ms Cornwell was late for a dinner date and needed to finish.
Fans - be prepared to be disappointed.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 18 February 2005
Any critic who praises this book is bonkers. Easily the worst of all the Scarpetta novels with more glaring errors, loose ends and useless padding than usual.
You can't tell if bites were inflicted before or after death. yes you can, dead bodies don't bruise.
Lucy, the world's greates computer expert is flummoxed when she downloads a page in French and has to get someone else to read it. But many such pages have a "translate this page" you can click on and for those that don't there are free translator downloads. Lucy would have known this.
A murder designed to look like suicide by Lucy (now a murderess) and a colleague is hopelessly inept and wouldn't fool a schoolkid.
Benton leaves a colleague to be murdered because he can't help, being outnumbered. Yet at the end of the book he takes on three of them single-handed and kills them all without a scratch on himself. Cornwell doesn't explain how he did it.
Perhaps she was drunk when she wrote it?
Her wallowing in the pleas of a murder victim and wandering through the weird mind of a psychopath are uneccesary and betray a strange mind. Maybe Cornwell is a bit psycho herself, what with those hard, staring eyes and oversized Ronald McDonald mouth.
I have now read all the Scarpetta novels except Trace which I am reading now.
As with all Cornwell's books buy them cheap from car boot sales or charity shops. Libraries should have some. Don't waste good money by buying new - I sure didn't!
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 21 September 2004
Had this been Patricia Cornwell's first novel, she would never have sold another one. Had it been the first Cornwell novel I had ever read, I would have never have bought another one. This nonsensical dross has tarnished the reputation of a (formerly) great thriller writer. Poor plot, nonsensical characterisation (her villains are so grotesque it is difficult to see how they could function in a normal society), unsatisfying denouement. I wouldn't have even given this one star if Amazon did not require me to do so. Avoid.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 14 August 2004
Having been addicted to all the early Scarpetta novels I approached this one with some reluctance. After Patricia Cornwell introduced her 'werewolf' character a few books ago she seems obsessed with it. Jean-Baptiste Chandonne may be her current favourite but, sadly, he certainly isn't mine. I have found all the books she has written since introducing this character quite dull in composition and mystifyingly weak in content, and this one is no different. The 'plot', for what its worth, meanders feebly around in circles with no focus or interest beyond Chandonnes wish to see Scarpetta. In one of the weakest links ever, because Scarpetta has upped sticks away from Virginia it seems as though everyone she has ever known has decided to move with her. Marino, Rose, the irritating Lucy all still gather around like moths to a flame, in Cornwells newly travelling circus. My advice? Re-read the earlier novels again. They leave books like this one trailing feebly in their wake. Wholly disappointing.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 21 December 2004
I can only agree with the other reviewers who point out that the quality of the once-brilliant Scarpetta novels has been declining rapidly and consistently... This is one of her worst yet, disjointed, just limping along with several uninteresting sub-plots, with absolutely NO forensic pathology... It seems that her books have become all about Scarpetta's psychological issues and personal demons and NOT about the cases she's supposed to be solving!!!
What happened to the BRILLIANCE of Postmortem and Body of Evidence, when the story was about Scarpetta putting together the evidence and actually SOLVING crimes??!!! Those story lines were so tight and fascinating you literally couldn't put the books down!!! Cornwell is just getting sloppy and desperate and frankly very disrespectful of her audience, who for some reason keep coming back in the HOPE that "this one will be better"... but it's not!!!
Finally, enough of this glorifying of Scarpetta and the mutual fan club she and Lucy have.. I laughed out loud when I read Lucy saying "you were once the most powerful coroner in the country, maybe even the world.. you were the Chief!!!". Also, isn't Scarpetta getting any older?? When we met her in Postmortem, she was 40 and Lucy was 13 or so... now, 14 years on, Luc is almost 30 and Scarpetta is (according to Lucy) "only 46"(?????)
Terribly, terribly bad. If you're looking for a thrilling serial killer story, I highly recommend Tess Gerritsen's The Surgeon, and The Apprentice. Reminded me of early Scarpetta....
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 30 July 2004
This was the first, and quite likely the last, Patricia Cornwell book I have read. Actually I haven't read it all yet but have struggled manfully through half of it during which time I have not met a single sympathetic, or even believable, character. They are all caricatures. There's the gorgeous, intelligent but deeply emotionally hurt Kay; her beautiful, ruthless, intelligent niece Lucy; the strong, handsome, intelligent Benson - who apparently is on a witness protection program for reasons not yet clear but which resulted in his death being faked in an earlier book; Marino - the fat, drunk, curmudgeonly but probably lovable (difficult to tell but he does keep on mooning about Kay and Benson) ex-cop. Meanwhile the villains, twin brothers, sluttish female accomplice, crooked lawyer, are so villainous that they are off the scale. Even the twins are at opposite extremes of the attractiveness spectrum (one ugly and deformed, the other so handsome that women can't resist him) with only a common evil (and Frenchness - another caricature?) to indicate their relationship.
The plot is fragmented and tortuous with action happening in Louisiana, Florida, New York, Richmond (the one in USA I assume), Texas, Poland and in the deranged mind of the blind, deformed villain. Bewtween these places strained links are beginning to form between the characters which, I assume, will result in them all coming together in some way by the end though I'm not sure that I will be there to find out.
From other reviews of this and others of her books, it would appear that Patrica Cornwell has produced far better books than this. However personally I don't feel any inclination to explore her other work to see how she got such a good reputation.
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 3 November 2003
As this is an expensive book (and at the moment only seems to be out in hardback - adding to the cost) I waited a while until the price went down. Unable to wait any longer as I was very excited about a new Kay Scarpetta book I was so disapointed with what I am reading.
I usually read a book in about 2 days whereas this book seems to be taking me ages. From the first page you can tell straight away that this is not going to be as good as her other books.
Why oh why oh why is Patricia Cornwell writing Kay Scarpetta in the third person. This completely ruins the book and I feel so distant from the Scarpetta character that is is very pointless to read it.
Please read reviews and at least the first page of the book before you buy it which is what I didnt do!