Ever since she released Postmortem, her first Dr. Kay Scarpetta book, Patricia Cornwell has been a leader in the medical-thriller field. Twelve books later, Dr. Scarpetta has taken quite a few beatings, but she’s still going strong in Cornwell’s latest book, Blow Fly.
It’s been years since Dr. Kay Scarpetta’s
lover, Benton Wesley, was murdered, but Kay just can’t seem to put her life back together. Having left her position as Richmond’s chief medical examiner, she has relocated to Florida and works as a consultant. The two people closest to her — her niece Lucy and Detective Pete Marino — have also been very troubled since Benton’s death, but for a very different reason. Unbeknownst to Kay, Lucy and Pete helped organize Benton’s fake death, and both of them know that Benton is still alive and well in the witness protection program. As these three damaged people go about their lives, the ghost of Benton haunts them all, leaving huge holes in their lives.
Kay is grateful for a new consulting case to take her mind off Benton's death and Chandonne,
the notorious werewolf killer who still lingers in her nightmares even though he is scheduled to die within the month. The case she takes on involves a long cold case of a woman’s death in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a case that will inexplicably lead her to both Benton and Chandonne, as well as Chandonne’s twin brother. Pete and Lucy are also kept busy with the sudden appearances of letters from Chandonne — letters that lead them to commit heinous acts and push them to the same town in Louisiana where Kay is destined to end up.
With numerous characters who have long, drawn-out pasts, and quite a few plotlines, there is certainly a lot going on in Blow Fly, and Cornwell does a decent job juggling and building the tension. However, you’ll most likely be lost if you haven’t kept up with the series, and it’s recommended that readers begin with the first book and work their way up. Fans of the series will not be disappointed by the character development, the action or the meticulous descriptions of crime scenes and bodies. What every reader will be disappointed by is the abrupt and baffling ending. Whether she ended it like this because she was past deadline or to guarantee that readers will pick up the next book, the ending simply does not work and detracts heavily from what is otherwise a very enjoyable novel.