Forensic expert "Cat" Ferry has a stellar reputation until a panic attack paralyzes her at a New Orleans murder scene. Praying the attack is a one-time event, she continues working, but when the same killer strikes again -- raising fears that a serial killer is at large -- Cat blacks out over the victim's mutilated corpse. Suspended from the FBI task force, Cat returns to her hometown of Natchez, Mississippi, to regroup. Though her colleagues know her as a world-class forensic odontologist, Cat lives a secret life. Plagued by nightmares, and deeply involved with a married homicide detective, Cat holds herself together with iron nerves and alcohol, using her work as a substitute for life. But her family's secluded antebellum estate provides no sanctuary. When some of Cat's forensic chemicals are spilled in her childhood bedroom, two bloody footprints are revealed. This discovery sets in motion a quest to piece together Cat's past -- buried memories that could tie her father's murder to the grisly deaths occurring in New Orleans in the present. For only by finding this remorseless killer can Cat save her sanity -- and her life.
Iles's previous thriller, 2003's provocative The Footprints of God, featured an omnipotent supercomputer and an on-the-run duo racing around the globe from North Carolina to Jerusalem. This time, Iles returns to more familiar ground: Natchez, Miss.; New Orleans; and the Mississippi delta, where a serial predator has been killing middle-aged men. Forensic odontologist Cat Ferry, an expert on teeth and the damage they can inflict, is called in by the New Orleans PD to explain the bite marks found on the bodies. Cat, the alcoholic granddaughter of Dr. William Kirkland, owner of the sprawling Malmaison estate and the richest, most powerful man in Natchez, has solved previous murders with her married detective lover, Sean Regan. This time, though, she's pregnant with Sean's baby, and this plus the discovery of old bloody footprints hidden in the carpet fibers of her Malmaison childhood bedroom threaten to plummet her into the depression that's plagued her since she was 15. She thinks one footprint might be hers, made on the night her father died of an ill-explained gunshot wound. Iles weaves in dark strains of child sexual abuse and the resulting repressed memories as Cat searches for the serial killer and for answers about her father's death. This overlong novel lacks the scintillating originality that made Iles's last outing so memorable, but he ties up all the loose ends in an exciting climax. (Feb. 15) Copyright (c) 1997-2005 Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
Showing 1-2 of the 2 most recent reviews
1 . Not His Best
Posted July 05, 2009 by aspen , aspen, coStarted off well, but became a slow read towards the middle/end. Not as good as other Greg Iles books.
2 . Blood Memory
Posted January 15, 2007 by kvmb68 , Lake Forest, CAYou cannot put this book down, it's a great read. This was my first Greg Iles book and I am now a huge fan and have begun to read all of his books.
February 14, 2005
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Excerpt from Blood Memory by Greg Iles
When does murder begin?
With the pull of a trigger? With the formation of a motive? Or does it begin long before, when a child swallows more pain than love and is forever changed?
Perhaps it doesn't matter.
Or perhaps it matters more than everything else.
We judge and punish based on facts, but facts are not truth. Facts are like a buried skeleton uncovered long after death. Truth is fluid. Truth is alive. To know the truth requires understanding, the most difficult human art. It requires seeing all things at once, forward and backward, the way God sees.
Forward and backward...
So we begin in the middle, with a telephone ringing in a dark bedroom on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans, Louisiana. There's a woman lying on the bed, mouth open in the mindless gape of sleep. She seems not to hear the phone. Then suddenly the harsh ring breaks through, like defibrillator paddles shocking a comatose patient. The woman's hand shoots from beneath the covers, groping for the phone, not finding it. She gasps and rises onto one elbow. Then she groans and picks up the receiver from the bedside table.
The woman is me.
"Dr. Ferry," I croak.
"Are you sleeping?" The voice is male, taut with anger.
"No." My denial is automatic, but my mouth is dry as a cotton ball, and my alarm clock reads 8:20 P.M. I've been out for nine hours. The first decent sleep I've had in days.
"He hit another one."
Something sparks in my drowsy brain. "What?"
"This is the fourth time I've called in the past half hour, Cat."
The voice brings up a well of anger, longing, and guilt. It belongs to the detective I've been sleeping with for the past eighteen months. Sean Regan. An insightful, fascinating man with a wife and three kids.
"What did you say before?" I ask, ready to bite off Sean's head if he asks me to meet him somewhere.
"I said, he hit another one."
I blink and try to orient myself in the darkness. It's early August, and the purple glow of dusk filters through my curtains. God, my mouth is dry. "Where?"
"The Garden District. Owner of a printing company. Male Caucasian."
"Worse than the others."
"How old was he?"
"Jesus. It is him." I'm already getting out of bed. "This makes no sense at all."
"Sexual predators kill women, Sean. Or children. Not old men."
"We've had this conversation. How fast can you get here? Piazza's hovering over me, and the chief himself may be coming down for a look."
I lift yesterday's jeans off the chair and slip them over my panties. Victoria's Secret, Sean's favorite pair, but he won't be seeing them tonight. Maybe not for a long time. Maybe never again. "Any gay angle on this victim? Did he use male prostitutes, anything like that?"
"Not even a tickle," Sean replies. "Looks as clean as the others."
"If he's got a home computer, confiscate it. He might -- "
"I know my job, Cat."
"I know, but -- "
"Cat." The single syllable is a probing finger. "Are you sober?"
A column of heat rises up my spine. I haven't had a sip of vodka for nearly forty-eight hours, but I'm not going to give Sean the satisfaction of answering his interrogation. "What's the victim's name?"
"Arthur LeGendre." His voice drops. "Are you sober, darlin'?"
The craving is already awake in my blood, like little teeth gnawing at the walls of my veins. I need the anesthetic burn of a shot of Grey Goose. Only I can't have that anymore. I've been using Valium to fight the physical withdrawal symptoms, but nothing can truly replace the alcohol that has kept me together for so long.
I shift the phone from shoulder to shoulder and pull a silk blouse from my closet. "Where are the bite marks?"
"Torso, nipples, face, penis."
I freeze. "Face? Are they deep?"
"Deep enough for you to take impressions, I think."
Excitement blunts the edge of my craving. "I'm on my way."
"Have you taken your meds?"