Greg Iles has a knack for coming up with inventive stories featuring intriguing main characters full of flaws yet still likable enough to carry a novel. In his newest paperback, Blood Memory, Iles has once again gone into the mind of a woman (he previously did this in the wonderful book Dead Sleep). Cat Ferry is a forensic odontologist in New Orleans who consults with the FBI on murders that involve teeth marks. She is currently working on a serial murder case in which older men are being murdered and bitten repeatedly before they die. At one of the crime scenes, the previously unflappable Cat suffers a serious panic attack and starts to question her own sanity. She has reason to. Not only is Cat an alcoholic, but she has also just discovered that she is pregnant with her lover’s child—and her lover just happens to be a married detective she works with.
Searching for comfort, Cat goes home to the mansion she was raised in in nearby Natchez, Mississippi. Though her family isn’t very far away, she has found herself going home less and less over the years. She isn’t that close with her mother, her father died when she was only eight years old, and her domineering grandfather has always been a bit too controlling for her. But Cat can’t imagine what is really keeping her from home—until she accidentally discovered bloody footprints in her childhood bedroom. This brings into question the night her father died. Everyone has always told her that her father, a Vietnam vet suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, was killed by a random intruder. But have they been lying to her all these years? And could her dark family secrets be connected to the recent murders in New Orleans?
At 767 pages, Blood Memory is no light undertaking. However, with Iles’ lightning-quick prose and instantly absorbing story, the pages fly by and, when you’re finished, you’ll never believe you just read a nearly 800-page book. Cat Ferry may be one of the most interesting characters Iles has produced yet. She has more than the normal number of skeletons in her closet and is riddled with personal flaws, yet she’s still a strong heroine whom readers will find themselves supporting. Iles adds a mixed bag of supporting characters, all of them well-written and interesting in their own right, to help the plot along. And what a plot it is! Though you might think you’ve got it figured out a few different times during the novel, Iles throws in enough curveballs to constantly keep you off balance and guessing up until the last page.
With controversial and heartbreaking issues like repressed memories and childhood sexual abuse, Blood Memory is an original novel that will keep you turning pages late into the night. Greg Iles has once again proved that he is one of the best thriller writers working today.