myspace layouts, myspace codes, glitter graphics Totally Biased Book and Movie Review: Blow Fly by Patricia Cornwall

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Blow Fly by Patricia Cornwall

Blow Fly
Patricia Cornwall
published by Berkley in 2003

So I've been reading my way through several Patty Cornwall books this week, and there's no doubt about it- she's a talented writer. I wouldn't be stretching it to say I think the woman is brilliant, possibly of the genius IQ range, based on her writing skills in this and the other books that I have read by her... She must do TONS of research, and I can only admire a talent so lacking in myself that is displayed so brilliantly in others. I would guess she is smart, meticulous, patient, and...Well, that's then end of my happy words.
If her characters are indicative of her own personality, at all, then she is also childish, thin-skinned, quick to take offense and constantly self- pitying.
You know, I've heard that you dislike in others the characteristics you most indentify with yourself (subconsciously).
Blow Fly's main character (as in most of Cornwall's books) is Kay Scarpetta, Medical Examiner Extraordinaire. These is no regular ol' M.E. folks. This is Ms. Amazing, dressed in a protective smock, gloves and paper booties. She can figure out absolutely everything about a murder by the way the blood has pooled in the back of the right eyeball, or some shit like that. The knife wound pattern of a stabbing victim can lead Scarpetta straight to the killer, who lives in another state, pretends to be a band leader and eats only bananas for breakfast, all of which Dr. Scarpetta knows early on.
I'm NOT complaining about this! Far from it. I love books that have brilliant woman as super-hero type main characters, able to leap three murders in a single hypothesis. I admire the way Cornwall has Scarpetta figure everything out in a meandering, yet easy-to-follow path, straight to justice's door. Scarpetta has a high sense of ideals, her morals are (seemingly) impeccable. She's just also a whiney, uptight bitch.
ALL of Scarpetta's characters are babies, in my opinion. They get upset over everything. Their feelings are constantly being hurt. They get mad at each other, take everything the wrong way, are arrogant and self-centered enough to stop thinking about a murder investigation and start thinking about the fact that So-and-so didn't call them before eight o'clock the night before, and therefore must not be considerate of their feelings. Scarpetta is supposed to come across as a strong, take-no-bullshit kind of gal, and she would, at least to me, if I didn't have the reader's knowledge of the whiney (I said it again) shit that's going on in the good doctor's mind.
Blow Fly follows the continuing story of ...Forgive a possible mis-spelling here, but I can't be bothered to look it up in the book....La Loup Garou (French for "Werewolf" I believe), otherwise known as Jean-Baptiste Chandonne, an evil villain so disgusting that his description literally makes my skin crawl.
He has been in the last few Scarpetta books, and each time Cornwall goes into detail about His Supreme Grossness, I get a little more impressed with her ability to create a monster. This dude suffers from some kind of genetic disease (very rare) that caused him to be born covered in...Well, fur. Although Cornwall describes it as "Baby-fine", "Long", "swirling whorls", any description means the same thing...UGH. He is covered with hair, every bit of him, except for his mucus membranes and palms and soles of feet. He has a misaligned face- like one eyeball is lower than the other. His teeth look like gray baby teeth that have been filed- wide spaced and pokey. He is described as stinking, too, always giving off a nasty stench like "a wet dog" or a "damp animal".


Ok. Fairly warned. Now I have not read all of the books in this series. I kind of jump from here to there in Dr. Kay's life. But one thing that shocked me and delighted me a little is that Benton Wesley, The Love of Her Life ("Her" being Scarpetta) turns out to be alive in Blow Fly. In bookland, Wesley has been dead for like six years. I don't know if he turned up alive in the previous two books which I didn't read, but in the one before that, which I did (I know, sounds all confusing) called "The Last Precinct" he was dead, and Kay was still devastated by his death. Now it turns out he has been in some funky witness protection program, pretending to be a gay dude, and not only all of this, but...oh my, hold your hats, it turns out that Lucy and Pete Marino, the two people closest to Scarpee, have known he was alive, and even helped him stage his death.
Hello, can you say "Betrayal"?
Well, for the first time, in my opinion, Scarpetta has something to actually be upset about. She's got a good fricking excuse to be pissed as HELL at those two assholes. It will be interesting to see if she instantly and uncharacteristically forgives them instead of blasting them in the next book. I mean, this is a character who can get tears in her eyes because Lucy, her gay, Amazon-woman, totally brilliant, gorgeous, rich and, dare I say "BITCHY" niece, doesn't stay at her house when she flies (in her own helicopter, no less) into town on short notice, but checks into a hotel for the night instead.
Thin Skin. I said it, I mean it.

The basic plot of Blow Fly goes like this:
Werewolf man is fantasizing constantly about the doctor, who blinded him in a previous novel, but in this book, it seems he can see. Not too clear on that part, Ms. Cornwall. Is he blind? Is he not? Also the part where he's jerking off confused me. I thought his dick was miniaturized and useless. How then, is he whacking it?
Pete Marino (I like to call him Morono) the cop who has the inexplicable friendship with Scarpetta, goes around in this book like all the others, wheezing, sweating, getting drunk and smoking in places he shouldn't. The dude is constantly re-described. Cornwall wants every reader to know how totally gross and crass he is. Ok, ok, we get it. He isn't fit to touch the paper booties of the Doc, as he calls her. But why? I've wondered that about every Cornwall book I've read. Why does she harp on and on about how disgusting Morono is? As well as re-mentioning his undying, unspoken love for the Doc?
We get it, already! He's gross and she's way out of his league and nothing can come between them but... WHY do you GO ON about it?
Morono spends time trying to explain to Wesley that he can come back, and gets his feeling hurt (what a surprise) when Wesley doesn't bearhug him in joy. He swears, he sweats, he smokes. All the usual business of Morono.
Lucy, as previously described, is everything I promised; gay, a total Amazon, wealthy beyond measure because of her extreme intelligence, incredibly gorgeous, and incredibly selfish and kind of mean and really inconsiderate of everyone around her. In every book appearance, I have been a little surprised at how Cornwall gushes over the perfection of Kay and Lucy, and doesn't hesitate in making them do stupid things.
Lucy is also, incidentally, adored by every man around her, but is also inaccessible, like her aunt, except in Lucy's case, it's because she's gay and an asskicker. Her partner Rudy, who has tried to rape her in a previous book, but been forgiven by Lucy, who has absolutely no hard feelings about the attempt (NO, I'm not kidding, read it yourself!) helps her kills people and just generally pants around after her, while she allows him to masturbate her after an especially daring operation, though she leaves him hanging, at least as far as the reader can tell.
Wesley, on the other hand, is Mr. Cool, Calm and Collected, as always. Now he is bald (SAY YUMMY, people!) and dresses less chicly, and he keeps his not-dead status a secret from Kay until the last page of the book. Cliffhanger, much? Want people to buy the next one much? By the way, Wesley, like any character in a Scarpetta book that doesn't fit the easily angered/upset, super critical character part, is described as "cold". I think he's the coolest of the bunch...
Werewolf sits on the toilet in his prison cell a lot and magnetizes himself (don't ask, it was far too smart for me) and dreams about drinking Kay's blood. Some letters are sent (or not) by him or by Benton, to create an elaborate set up and wiping out of all the main peeps who made Benton stage his death in the first place. Jay Talley, the god-like, evil twin of Mr. Hairypants, meanwhile, hides out in the swamp with his drudge of a a girlfriend and murders helpless housewives who remind him of the elusive Kay, who he (LIKE EVERY MALE) is madly in love with. He banged her in Paris, by the way, strange action for the cold-blooded Kay (Oh she immediately regretted it, of course) and he has never gotten over not getting to kill her instead of humping her.
The book, like all of them, ends abruptly, with lots of people dead (though you're not quite sure who) with lots of unanswered questions (like who exactly is dead, and when did that happen? Because I didn't read that part....) and the expectation that youwill rush down the bookstore to buy the next hardcover...coming out soon, I'm sure. Cornwall churns out the novels, and hey, as much as I'm bitching, they're well written. they're great, in fact. I just can't help but mock the wha-wha baby characters...maybe because, like I said above, they remind me of myself.
If you haven't read the other books, you might have some trouble jumping into Scarpetta's world. Kind of like James Patterson and his endless Cross novels. The author expects you to know what the hell is going on, so catch up, buddy, before you knock on Blow Fly's door.
I give it yellowish orange on the Reader's Rainbow.


Anonymous Quel said...

Great review! You put my reviews to shame. And the fact that you can read through a few books a

I'm taking way too long to make it through my current read, becaue I only read a couple of pages a night before bed. I'll be on vacay soon though, so I plan to get much beach reading in.

9:12 AM  
Blogger Meowkaat said...

Not true, not true. Your reviews are brilliant. You are actually where I get my ideas for "upper class books", I'm talking about the ones that you really sink your teeth into, not the churn-em-out page turners like this one. I am reading "The Lovely Bones" that I spotted on your site right now.

10:06 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

myspace layouts, myspace codes, glitter graphics