Blow Fly by Patricia Cornwell

Blow Fly by Patricia Cornwell

This is the twelfth book in the series about Kay Scarpetta, former Chief Medical Examiner for the State of Virginia. This book is told in the third person (usually, they are first person, from Scarpetta’s point of view), and quite complicated, with various strange twists and turns. I enjoyed reading it, but reading it was like riding a tiger.

Due to both distressing events in her personal life and professional life, Scarpetta is no longer in Richmond, where she lived for twenty years; she is now in Florida with her ever-faithful secretary Rose, working as a free-lance consultant. Jean-Baptiste Chandonne, the so-called “wolfman”, is on Death Row in Texas; his twin brother Jay Talley, once the ATF liaison at Interpol, France, and now #1 on the Most Wanted List, is living in the swamps of Louisiana with his accomplice, Bev Kiffin (also on the Most Wanted List). Scarpetta’s niece Lucy is running The Last Precinct, an extra-legal outfit of last resort for those who need to have things done. Unknown to Scarpetta, there is a shadowy figure who is skillfully shepherding her and Lucy and everyone else towards eliminating the enemies that threaten them all.

This was a good book, though not a great one; the third-person narration is not an innovation that I favor in my Scarpetta books. And Gail Pennington, a reviewer of this book for the St. Louis Post Dispatch when it was published back in 2003 noted “Every female character in Blow Fly is either miserable or doomed, adding weight to the frequent argument that Cornwell is not just anti-feminist, but anti-woman altogether.” Let us hope that when I get around to reading Trace (the next book in the series) that things improve.

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