“Blood Memory” by Greg Iles Review

blood memory

Blood Memory

Author:  Greg Iles

Released:  2005

Blood Memory tells the story of a Forensic Dentist named Cat Ferry. What does that mean? Cat is called into murder scenes to analyze bite marks and other dental related evidence. It sounds like a very specialized field, and it must be because every other character in the book tends to enable Cat to run around like she is the most important person in the universe. While the New Orleans Police Department and FBI are working together to solve a serial killer’s string of crimes leaving bite marks on nude men, Cat goes rogue throughout the novel confronting witnesses, discovering clues and eventually solving every mystery in this story packed full of them.

I can’t discuss much further in the plot without revealing a big component of the story, so if you want to go in blind skip past this paragraph. **Spoilers follow** The bulk of this story deals with child molesters, and links the killer, victims and protagonist together at various points. Cat must figure out how her own history relates to this subject as she does not remember, as well as solving the murder of her father when she was eight years old. **End of mild spoilers** Cat’s own history ends up serving as a crutch and an excuse for her to put herself in dangerous situations, disregard law enforcement and even get involved in fatal situations herself because she MUST solve the mystery of her childhood. Therein lies my biggest problems with this book.

Despite trying to assist the FBI and New Orleans police department, Cat will put herself in situations when she must escape from police custody, confront known murderers on her own, and jeopardize the evidence in a serial killer case with regularity. Her boyfriend, a married detective enables her because she is attractive and awesome at sex. The FBI agent enables her because… I don’t know, he knows the rest of the characters in this book got ZERO DRIVE and won’t be solving any crimes on their own.

The dangerous situations she puts herself in end up getting multiple people shot and killed, for no apparent reason other than to hype up the drama in villain monologues and a rape sequence. If you have problems reading about sexual abuse, incest, or rape this is not a book for you. I don’t fault Iles for using those devices, as the entire plot of the book depends on several characters having depraved sexual appetites. However at 800 pages, the repeated revelations on who was molesting who got tedious.

That’s not to say the book was all bad. Iles did a nice job of pacing in this book, making it feel like we lived with the protagonist over a series of several days and didn’t miss anything in her life. The whole thing felt like 24 at times. He also sets out plenty of mysteries, and ties them together in a satisfying fashion. The entitlement of the main character as well as the plethora of wooden supporting characters however really dimmed my enjoyment of the book overall.

2-star

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