It was during the description of the storm that tore through San Fransisco that I realized I was listening to an exceptional book. The classic destructive tempest has been retold so many times that it takes something unique to catch my attention, and at some point I realized I was riveted. This is a different and engaging plot with lovable and believable characters, held together by writing so outstanding it seems effortless and floats with the story. The narrator's smooth, rich voice goes perfectly with Casey Martinelli and the somewhat dark theme.
King does spend a lot of time on the surroundings and seemingly extraneous descriptions, perhaps an influence from writing her Victorian Sherlock Holmes books, but I didn't find it to be tedious. It is just a different style of writing that is quite apart from the terse action-packed mystery thrillers that dominate the bestseller list.
I bought this book on a whim, but it was a delightful surprise. Some way into this book, it dawned on me that it was just wonderful. The characters are unique, quirky, deep, and completely human. Inspector Gamache reminds me a bit of Adam Dalgleish in that he is intelligent, thoughtful, insightful, and wise, but is so much more approachable and engaging. I fell in love with the lively characters, peaceful setting, and well-plotted story. I am putting the next in my cart right now.
I love mystery and suspense novels as much as the next person, but found nothing endearing about the book. Every character and relationship was an absolute steriotype. The sports-driven salesman married to a formerly-wealthy indy-film-watching abstract-art-dealing wife was enough to make me roll my eyes. Worse was the ridiculously obvious plot that a four-year-old could have written, and dull, predictable ending. Nothing in this book was surprising or suspenseful, and I'm sorry to have wasted my time.
I'd beg to differ with the people who have so harshly reviewed this book. I think much of what people react to is that the book is entirely different from the past several books, in that it is written in the third person. I personally had trouble with the fact that because of all the other books, I began to associate the voice of the reader, Kate Reading, with the voice of Kay Scarpetta. It was difficult too to adjust to Kay being vulnerable instead of indestructible. Those facts alone may polarize some of its old readers. I enjoyed the fact that Blow Fly moved more slowly with less of a heart-gripping thriller plot and allowed the writing to explore the minds of some of the vile killers, and the moral struggle of the characters. I enjoyed watching the familiar characters adjust to an uprooted life, with denial, with plunging themselves into fitness, with self-destruction. They responded to the jarring change like real people, dealing imperfectly with the change and with themselves because the characters are imperfect, even Kay. WIth how much this book gets into the minds of the people you think you know so well, even the killers, I enjoyed the book greatly. I also loved the potentially fatal coincidences that none of the characters come to realize fully. Although the plot was not perfect, and the ending was not as complete as it should have been, I loved the character development and must commend Cornwell for breaking so completely out of what was familiar to her and handling the change so well. I hope that her readers are able to handle the change in the same manner.
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