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Blood Memory

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Overview

Hailed by Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code) for his "utterly consuming" suspense fiction, New York Times bestselling author Greg Iles melds forensic detail with penetrating insight into the heart of a killer in a southern town.

Some memories live deep in the soul, indelible and dangerous, waiting to be resurrected....Forensic expert "Cat" Ferry is suspended from an FBI task force when the world-class odontologist is inexplicably stricken with panic attacks and blackouts while ...

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Blood Memory: A Novel

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Overview

Hailed by Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code) for his "utterly consuming" suspense fiction, New York Times bestselling author Greg Iles melds forensic detail with penetrating insight into the heart of a killer in a southern town.

Some memories live deep in the soul, indelible and dangerous, waiting to be resurrected....Forensic expert "Cat" Ferry is suspended from an FBI task force when the world-class odontologist is inexplicably stricken with panic attacks and blackouts while investigating a chain of brutal murders. Returning to her Mississippi hometown, Cat finds herself battling with alcohol, plagued by nightmares, and entangled with a married detective. Then, in her childhood bedroom, some spilled chemicals reveal two bloody footprints...and the trauma of her father's murder years earlier comes flooding back. Facing the secrets of her past, Cat races to connect them to a killer's present-day violence. But what emerges is the frightening possibility that Cat herself has blood on her hands....

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Grabs you right from page one and carries you straight through the night."
— Lisa Scottoline

"...will have readers turning pages at a breakneck pace."
New Orleans Times-Picayune

Publishers Weekly
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. Agent, Aaron Priest. 8-city author tour. (Feb. 15) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
New York Times best-selling author (Mortal Fear) tells a tale of murder and redemption in the steamy South. Simultaneous Scribner hardcover. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A serial killer who puts the bite on victims is the villainous center of a long, long psychothriller, as southern Gothic as it gets. Dr. Catherine (Cat) Ferry is a forensic odontologist, which is to say "an expert on human teeth and the damage they can do." In four cases enlivening the New Orleans crime scene, however, the damage done is mostly posthumous, the victims having been snuffed first, gnawed on afterward. Cat loves being called in to help NOPD investigations. She also loves a hunky homicide detective named Sean Regan. At some point, Sean says, he will leave his wife and kids for her, but it's a point of diminishing probability. Hard to really blame Sean, feckless as he is, since Cat's not only bipolar, alcoholic and promiscuous but also apparently content to remain that way. And then, leaning over the chewed-upon corpse of Arthur LeGendre, she has a panic attack that amounts to an epiphany. Something's wrong, she intuits, and makes a beeline for home in Natchez, Miss. Somehow, she has sensed a connection between the New Orleans murders and dark doings in her own past. Twenty years ago, when Cat was eight, her daddy was shot to death. A mysterious assailant, grandpapa Kirkland has insisted through the years, but Cat has always found that difficult to accept. Now, in her old bedroom in the family manse, she unexpectedly discovers forensic evidence that supports her skepticism-and discovers as well gleanings of a terrible secret. In the meantime, back in New Orleans, the investigation has heated up, and here too it seems Cat had it right. Murder in New Orleans and murder in Natchez are connected by the same kind of terrible secret. It's clearly Cat's meow, and if you respondpositively to her tempestuous carryings-on, then you'll probably forgive Iles (The Footprints of God, 2003, etc.) his unabashed quest for bestsellerdom. Author tour
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743454155
  • Publisher: Pocket Star
  • Publication date: 11/22/2005
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 800
  • Sales rank: 99,968
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 1.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Greg Iles
Greg Iles was born in 1960 in Germany. He founded the band Frankly Scarlet, plays guitar for the Rock Bottom Remainders, and is the New York Times bestselling author of nine novels, including Blood Memory and 24 Hours. He lives in Natchez, Mississippi.

Biography

Greg Iles has led a sort of double life as a novelist. His first books, based on extrapolations from real events in World War II, earned him an initial following, but his very modern crime novels are what currently hold his -- and his readers' -- focus. His tight pacing and chilling, innovative concepts have made him especially attractive to Hollywood, which has optioned and/or expressed interest in several of his books.

Iles's first novel, Spandau Phoenix, was about the secret escape of a Nazi soldier and the chilling plot related in his discovered diaries. It was a mixed success critically, earning praise for its premise but low marks on style. Since then, Iles has clearly developed as a novelist, and branched out in themes too.

With his second novel, Black Cross, Iles displayed more of a voice and more streamlined plotting in his story of a conspiracy to use the Nazi's own weapons against them. Those first two titles did become bestsellers; but by the time Iles shifted gears to write crime thrillers set in his native Mississippi, he found himself getting even more attention -- and better reviews. His next two books, Mortal Fear and The Quiet Game, remain his personal favorites. Iles was born in Stuttgart, Germany, where his father was in charge of the medical clinic at the U.S. Embassy, in 1961. He graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1983 and played guitar in a rock band for several years before trying his hand at writing novels.

Moving from screenplays to thrillers to speculative historical fiction, Iles continues to stretch as a writer. He also indulges his love for music (he once played guitar in the band Frankly Scarlet) by performing with the Rock Bottom Remainders, an author side project that includes writers Stephen King, Dave Barry, Ridley Pearson, and Amy Tan

Good To Know

After graduation from college, Iles worked as an x-ray and lab technician for his father, dug ditches, and worked as a professional guitarist and singer.

Iles has the ability to be gloomily prophetic, but not intentionally. In an online chat in 1997, a fan pointed out that some real-life Internet-related murders had followed his Mortal Fear. Iles responded: "A lot of my books have been that way. My World War II thriller about Sarin gas [Black Cross] was published two months before the Sarin attack in the Japanese subway. There are very weird coincidences out there. And I do have one surefire plot I have not and probably never will write, because of my fear someone will carry it out."

Iles's wife is a high-school sweetheart whom he married when he was 29.

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    1. Hometown:
      Natchez, Mississippi
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 30, 1960
    2. Place of Birth:
      Stuttgart, Germany
    1. Education:
      B.A., University of Mississippi, 1983
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

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."

"Bite marks?"

"Worse than the others."

"How old was he?"

"Sixty-nine."

"Jesus. It is him." I'm already getting out of bed. "This makes no sense at all."

"Nope."

"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?"

Sean knows me too well. No one else in New Orleans is even aware that I take anything. Lexapro for depression, Depakote for impulse control. I stopped taking both drugs three days ago, but I don't want to get into that with Sean.

"Stop worrying about me. Is the FBI there?"

"Half the task force is here, and they want to know what you think about these bite marks. The Bureau guy is photographing them, but you have that ultraviolet rig...and when it comes to teeth, you're the man."

Sean's admiring misstatement of my gender is typical cop talk, and it tells me he's speaking for the benefit of others. "What's the address?"

"Twenty-seven twenty-seven Prytania."

"Sounds like an address with a security system."

"Switched off."

"Just like the first one. Moreland." Our first victim — one month ago — was a retired army colonel, highly decorated in Vietnam.

"Just like that." Sean's voice drops to a whisper. "Get your lovely ass down here, okay?"

Today his Irish intimacy makes me want to jab him. "No 'I love you'?" I ask with feigned sweetness.

His reply is barely audible. "You know I'm surrounded."

As usual. "Yeah. I'll see you in fifteen minutes."

Night falls fast as I drive my Audi from my house on Lake Pontchartrain to the Garden District, the fragrant heart of New Orleans. I spent two minutes in the bathroom trying to make myself presentable, but my face is still swollen from sleep. I need caffeine. In five minutes I'll be surrounded by cops, FBI agents, forensic techs, the chief of robbery homicide, and possibly the chief of the NOPD. I'm accustomed to that kind of attention, but seven days ago — the last time this predator hit — I had a problem at the crime scene. Nothing too bad. A garden-variety panic attack, according to the EMT who checked me out. But panic attacks don't exactly inspire confidence in the hard men and women who work serial murder cases. The last thing they want is a consulting expert who can't hold her mud.

The word got around about my little episode, too. Sean told me that. Nobody could really believe it. Why did the woman that some homicide detectives call "the ice queen" suddenly lose her composure at the scene of a not-very-grisly murder? I'd like to know that myself. I have a theory, but analyzing one's own mental condition is a notoriously unreliable business. As for the sobriquet, I'm no ice queen, but in the macho world of law enforcement, playing that role is the only thing that keeps me safe — from men and from my own rogue impulses. Of course, Sean gives the lie to that little strategy.

Four victims now, I remind myself, focusing on the case. Four men between the ages of forty-two and sixty-nine, all murdered within weeks of each other. In a single thirty-day period, to be exact. The pace of the killings is virtually unprecedented, and if the victims were women, the city would be gripped by terror. But because the victims are middle-aged or older men, a sort of fascinated curiosity has taken hold of New Orleans. Each victim has been shot in or near the spine, mutilated with human bites, then finished off with a coup de grâce shot to the head. The bites have increased in savagery from victim to victim, and they've also provided the strongest evidence against any future suspect — mitochondrial DNA from the killer's saliva.

The bite marks are the reason for my involvement with the case. I'm a forensic odontologist, an expert on human teeth and the damage they can do. I acquired this knowledge in four boring years of dental school and five fascinating years of fieldwork. If people ask me what I do for a living, I tell them I'm a dentist, which is true enough and all they need to know. Odontologist doesn't mean anything to anybody, but in post-CSI America, forensic prompts questions I'd just as soon not answer in a grocery store. So, while most acquaintances know me as a dentist who's too busy to accept new patients, an assortment of government agencies — including the FBI and the United Nations Commission for the Investigation of War Crimes — knows me as one of the leading forensic odontologists in the world. Which is nice. I take my identity where I can find it.

The task force wants my expertise on bite marks tonight, but Sean Regan wants more. When he sought my help on a murder case two years ago, he soon learned that I knew about a lot more than teeth. I completed two years of medical school before I withdrew, and that gave me a strong foundation for self-education in forensics. Anatomy, hematology, histology, biochemistry, whatever a case requires. I can glean twice as much information from an autopsy report as any detective, and twice as fast. After Sean and I became closer than the rules allowed, he began using me unofficially to help with difficult cases. And used is the proper word; Sean Regan lives to catch killers, and he'll exploit anything and anyone to help him do it.

But Sean isn't simply a user. He's my comrade-in-arms, my rabbi, and my enabler. He doesn't judge me. He knows me for what I am, and he gives me what I need. Like Sean, I'm a born hunter. Not of animals. I've hunted animals, and I hate it. Animals are innocent; men are not. I am a hunter of men. But unlike Sean, I have no license to do this. Not really. Forensic odontology brings only tangential involvement with murder cases; it's my involvement with Sean that puts me into the bloody thick of things. By allowing me access — unethical and probably illegal access — to crime scenes, witnesses, and evidence, he has put me in a position to solve four major murder cases, one of them a serial. Sean took the credit every time, of course — plus the attendant promotions — and I let him do it. Why? Maybe because telling the truth would have exposed our love affair, gotten Sean fired, and freed the killers. But the truth is simpler than that. The truth is that I didn't care about the credit. I'd tasted the pulse-pounding rush of hunting predators, and I was addicted to it as surely as I am to the vodka I need so terribly at this moment.

For this reason, I've let our relationship run long past the point where I would usually have sabotaged it. Long enough, in fact, for me to have forgotten one of my hardest-won lessons: the husband doesn't leave. Not the husbands I pick, anyway. Only this time it's different. Sean has gone a long way toward convincing me he really means to do it. And I'm very close to believing him. Close enough to find myself hoping desperately for it in the most vulnerable hours of the night. But now...the situation has changed. Fate has taken a hand. And unless Sean really surprises me, our relationship is over.

Without warning, a wave of nausea rolls through my stomach. I try to tell myself it's alcohol withdrawal, but deep down I know better. It's panic. Pure terror at the idea of giving up Sean and being alone. Don't think about it, says a shaky voice inside me. In two minutes you're onstage. Think about the case...

As I decelerate down the interstate ramp to the surface streets at St. Charles Avenue, my cell phone rings out the opening notes to U2's "Sunday, Bloody Sunday." I know without looking that it's Sean.

"Where are you?" he asks.

I'm still fifteen blocks from the stately Victorian houses of Prytania Street, but I need to calm Sean down. "A few blocks from the scene."

"Good. Can you handle your gear okay?"

My dental case weighs thirty-one pounds fully loaded, and tonight I'll also need my camera case and tripod. Maybe Sean is hinting that I should ask him outside to help me. This would give him an excuse for a private talk before we find ourselves together in front of others. But a private talk is the last thing I want tonight.

"I've got it," I tell him. "You sound strange. What's going on down there?"

"Everybody's uptight. You know the history."

I do. There have been three serial murder cases in the New Orleans-Baton Rouge area in as many years, and serious investigative mistakes were made in all of them.

"We got some Sixth District detectives down here," Sean goes on, "but the task force has taken over the scene. We'll be running our investigation out of headquarters, just like the others. Captain Piazza's already busting my balls."

Carmen Piazza is a tough, fiftysomething Italian-American woman who came up through the ranks of the detective bureau and is now the Homicide Division commander. If anyone ever fires Sean for his involvement with me, it will be Piazza. She likes Sean's record of arrests, but she thinks he's a cowboy. And she's right. He's a tough, devilish Irish cowboy. "Does she suspect anything about us?"

"No."

"No rumors? Nothing?"

"Don't think so."

"What about Joey?" I ask, referring to Sean's partner, Detective Joey Guercio. "Has he blabbed to anybody?"

A millisecond's hesitation. "No way. Look, just be cool like you always are. Except for last time. You feeling okay about that? Your nerves or whatever?"

I close my eyes. "I was until you asked."

"Sorry. Just hurry down here. I'm going back in."

A rush of anxiety blindsides me. "You can't wait for me?"

"Probably better if I don't."

Better for you..."Fine."

Focus on the case, I tell myself, checking the house numbers on Prytania to be sure where I am. They expect you to know your business.

The facts are simple enough. In the past thirty days, three men have been shot by the same gun, bitten by the same set of teeth, and — in two cases — marked by the saliva of a man whose DNA shows him 87 percent likely to be a Caucasian male. The NOPD crime lab did the ballistics that matched the bullets. The state police crime lab did the mitochondrial DNA match. And I matched the bite marks.

This is much more difficult than it appears to be on television. To explain my job to homicide detectives, I often tell them about the forensic researcher who used an articulated set of teeth to try to create perfectly matched bite marks on a corpse. He couldn't do it. The lesson is clear, even to street cops. If matching two bite marks known to have come from the same set of teeth can be difficult, then matching marks that might have been made by any teeth among millions is next to impossible. Even comparing bite marks on a corpse with the teeth of a small group of suspects is more problematic than many odontologists pretend.

Saliva left in a bite mark by a killer can simplify things enormously, by providing DNA to compare against that of suspects. But four weeks ago, when the first victim was discovered, I recovered no saliva from the two bite marks on the body. I figured the killer for an organized offender who washed the saliva out of his bites to prevent recovery of DNA evidence. But a week later, when the second victim was found, my theory was blown out of the water. I recovered saliva from two of four bite marks left on the corpse. This raised the possibility of a different — and disorganized — killer. But by using reflective ultraviolet photography and scanning electron microscopy on the bite marks, I concluded that the same killer had indeed murdered both victims. Ballistic analysis of the recovered bullets supported my conclusion, and six days later, when the third victim was murdered, my opinion was confirmed beyond doubt by DNA recovered from the bite marks left on that body. The same killer had murdered all three men.

The importance of this cannot be overestimated. The baseline criteria for classifying a serial murderer are three victims killed by one person, each victim killed in a different location, and a cooling-off period between the crimes. I had helped prove what I'd known from the moment I saw the first victim. New Orleans had another predator on the hunt.

My official responsibility ended with matching the bite marks, but I wasn't about to stop there. As the New Orleans Police Department joined the FBI in the uneasy marriage of a task force, I began to analyze other aspects of the case. In sexual homicide, the murderer's selection criteria for his victims hold the key to every case. And like all serial murders, the NOMURS killings — so dubbed by the FBI for "New Orleans murders" — are at root sexual homicides. Something always links the victims in these cases, even if it's nothing more individual than geographic location, and that link draws the predator. But the NOMURS victims have ranged widely in age, physical type, occupation, social status, and place of residence. The only similarities are that they're white, male, over forty, and have families. These four facts combined exclude them from the known target profiles for serial killers. Moreover, none of the victims is known to have had habits that might draw a predator to an atypical target. No victim was gay or had a known sexual paraphilia. None was ever arrested for a sexual crime, reported for child abuse, or known to frequent strip clubs or other sleazy establishments. For this reason the NOMURS task force has made no progress at all in finding a suspect.

As I slow the Audi to read a house number, my skin itches with fear and anticipation. The killer was on this street only hours ago. He may be here now, watching the progress of the investigation, as serial murderers often do. Watching me. And herein lies the thrill. A predator is not prey. When you hunt a predator, you place yourself in a position to be hunted yourself. There's no other way. If you follow a lion into a thicket, you step within reach of his claws. And my adversary is no lion. He's the deadliest creature in the world: a human male driven by anger and lust, yet governed — at least temporarily — by logic. He stalks these streets with impunity, confident in his prowess, meticulous in his planning, arrogant in his execution. The only thing I know about him is this: like all his brothers before him, he will kill again, and again, until someone unravels the riddle of his psyche or he self-destructs from the intensity of conflict in his own mind. A lot of people don't care which way it ends, so long as it ends soon.

I do.

Sean is standing on the sidewalk, waiting. He's walked a block up from the victim's house to meet me. He always did have guts. But does he have enough to face our present situation?

I park behind a Toyota Land Cruiser, get out, and start to unload my cases. Sean gives me a quick hug, then unloads the cases himself. He's forty-six years old but looks forty, with the easy, confident grace of a natural athlete. His hair is mostly black, his eyes green with a bit of a twinkle. Even after being his lover for eighteen months, I half expect a lilting Irish brogue to emerge when Sean opens his mouth. But it's the familiar New Orleans accent instead, the Brooklynesque drawl with a hint of crawfish.

"You doin' okay?" he asks.

"Changed your mind?"

He shrugs. "I felt bad."

"Bullshit. You wanted to see for yourself if I was sober."

I see the truth of it in his face. He gives me a penetrating survey with his eyes and makes no apology for it.

"Go on," I tell him.

"What?"

"You were about to say something. Go ahead."

He sighs. "You look rough, Cat."

"Thanks for the vote of confidence."

"Sorry. Are you drunk?"

Anger tightens my jaw muscles. "I'm stone sober for the first time in more years than I can count."

I see skepticism in his face. Then, as he studies me, belief comes into his eyes. "Jesus. Maybe a drink is what you need."

"Worse than you know. But I'm not going to."

"Why not?"

"Come on. Let's do this."

"I still need to go in ahead of you." He looks embarrassed.

Exasperation makes me look away. "How long? Five minutes?"

"Not that long."

I wave him off and get back into my car. He steps toward my door, then changes his mind and walks down the block.

My hands are shaking. Were they shaking when I woke up? I grip the steering wheel and force myself to breathe deeply. As my pulse steadies and my heart finds its rhythm, I pull down the vanity mirror and check my face. I'm not usually compulsive about my appearance, but Sean has made me nervous. And when I get nervous, crazy thoughts flood into my head. Disembodied voices, old nightmares, ancient slights and mistakes, things therapists have said...

I consider putting on some eyeliner to strengthen my gaze in case I have to stare somebody down inside. I don't really need it. Men often tell me I'm beautiful, but men will tell any woman that. My face is actually masculine in structure, a vertical series of V's, simple and to the point. The V of my chin slants up into a strong jaw. My mouth, too, curves upward. Then comes the angular bottom of my nose; my prominent, upward-slanting cheekbones; my tilted brown eyes and sloping eyebrows; and finally the dark widow's peak of my hairline. I see my father in all of this, twenty years dead now but alive in every angle of my face. I keep a picture of him in my wallet. Luke Ferry, 1969. Smiling in his army uniform, somewhere in Vietnam. I don't like the uniform — not after what the war did to him — but I like his eyes in the picture. Still compassionate, still human. It's how I like to remember him. A little girl's idea of a father. He once told me that I almost got his face, but at the last minute an angel swooped down and put enough softness in mine to make me pretty.

Sean sees the hardness in my face. He's told me I look like a predator myself, a hawk or an eagle. Tonight I'm glad for that hardness. Because as I get out of the Audi and shoulder my cases and tripod, something tells me that maybe Sean is right to be worried about my nerves. I'm going in naked tonight, without benefit of anesthesia. And without the familiar chemical barrier that shields me from the sharp edges of reality, I feel more vulnerable to whatever it was that panicked me last time.

Walking down the dusky street lined with wrought-iron fences and second-floor galleries, I sense a human gaze on my skin. I stop and turn but see no one. Only a dog lifting its leg beside a lamppost. I scan the galleries overhead, but the heat has driven their owners inside. Christ. I feel as if I've been waiting all my thirty-one years to see the corpse in the house ahead of me. Or maybe it's been waiting for me. Something is waiting for me, that's for sure.

A crystal image rises into my mind as I resume walking, a sweating blue Dasani bottle with three inches of Grey Goose sloshing in its bottom, like meltwater from a divine glacier. If I had that, I could brazen my way through anything.

"You've done this a hundred times," I tell myself. "You did Bosnia when you were twenty-five and didn't know shit."

"Hey! You Dr. Ferry?"

A cop in uniform is calling to me from a high porch on my right. The victim's house. Arthur LeGendre lived in a large Victorian typical of the Garden District, but the vehicles parked in the cross street around the corner are more commonly found in the Desire and St. Thomas housing projects — the coroner's wagon, an ambulance, NOPD squad cars, and the FBI Suburban that carries the Bureau's forensic team. I see a couple of unmarked NOPD cars, too, one of them Sean's. Climbing the steps, I think I'm fine.

Ten feet inside, I know I'm in trouble.

Copyright © 2005 by Greg Iles

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 171 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 22, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    Great read, very well paced. Finished it very quickly and would

    Great read, very well paced. Finished it very quickly and would recommend

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 24, 2010

    Excellent author

    I couldn't wait to read before bed. It got to the point to where it was in the early morning hours and I was still enjoying this book. I have ordered three more of his books and can't wait for them to arrive. Greg Isles is probably my favorite author.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 17, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Could Not Put This Book Down !!

    I have read Greg Iles before and really enjoyed his books. Blood Memory was one of his best books. I could not put this book down. The characters in this book were so real and his writing style is so good that when one chapter is over you have to go on to the next chapter just to see what is going to happen. To say the least, I really loved this book !!

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2012

    Anonymous

    This was the first book I read by Greg Isles and I couldn't stop reading it. I would put it down in the wee hours of the morning to get a few hours sleep. I am looking forward to getting another of his books.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 2, 2011

    Amazing!!!!

    This book was so awesome! I couldn't put it down, a great mystery thriller! Greg Iles is a great writer.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2006

    I'd like to have no memory of this book

    The plot was ok, if predictable. I think he could have cut 150 pages from this book and had a leaner and better story. I agree with the reviewers here who cited the repetitiveness. Every time the leading character described a dream, my thought was, 'oh no, here we go again.' Some of the characters were stereotypes and others not really fleshed out. This is the first book I've read by this author. Hope his others are better than this

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2013

    EXCELLENT READ!! This was my 1st Greg Iles book recommended by a

    EXCELLENT READ!! This was my 1st Greg Iles book recommended by a friend. This was a wild ride. I think more so because in my opinion its a woman's fiction and I use the word "fiction" loosely because of the levels and types of abuse. This book envolked so many emotions. A little of every emotion about the way we feel or have felt about men and ourselves. There is something in there that you have either experienced or know someone who has. I didn't just read it, I lived some parts of. Trying not to get too heavy with my opinion so I am going to stop now.
    Well worth it. Just prepare yourself to be exalted afterwards because it keeps you on a high and its not for the weak.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2012

    Good N Plenty

    Good plot, good writing. Interesting, but 100 pages too long to make the point. Over detailed with psycho babble flashbacks repeated.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2013

    Outstanding! Couldn't put it down.

    Greg Iles has the rare talent to bring a story to life and keep you rivited in your chair. A Must read!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2012

    If you like mysteries and thrillers, a must read.

    Greg Iles is by far one of most favorite writers. I've read everything he's written and will continue to follow.

    I love the stories based in Natchez and New Orleans, as I'm very familiar with the areas.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2005

    too repetitive

    I was hoping this would be another Mortal Fear, but he did too much repeating...over and over..I felt like I was reading a Nancy Drew mystery and the writer could not get beyond telling her dreams, her aches and pains, how faint she was, etc..It was hard to believe she was as intelligent as he wanted the reader to believe, even though her past was terrible, he didn't need to picture her this weak and unstable..had he put more time into the story and not her ailments, it would have been a smaller book, but a better book...disappointed...

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2005

    Irrational Conclusions

    This is an excellent gripping novel until the last fifty pages when Iles has Catherine coming to conclusions based upon little evidence an no predicates. The story is great but I saw no conclusive evidence to support Catherine coming to chosing the perpetrators. I wish I could do so on that little information and knowledge. I read until 2:30 a.m. and would have used my time better sleeping.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 31, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    This book was EXCELLENT! I like many of this authors works but t

    This book was EXCELLENT! I like many of this authors works but this one just moved to my favorite pile. Rising above the life experience that shape us. Letting go of our own shame and moving forward. This on spoke to me!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2014

    Blood Memory

    Another excellent novel by Gregg I.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2014

    murder mystery

    This is a murder mystery backdoor into a sexual abuse scandal. Not recommended for under 15.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 21, 2014

    very good read

    good storyline and kept my interest.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2014

    Loved it until...

    Loved it until the last few chapters. The who of "who done it" was a real disappointment. Also, a couple of things that should have tied together, didn't. That being said, lots of action, forensics, and "I didn't see that coming", kept things interesting.

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  • Posted May 2, 2014

    Highly recommended. Could not put it down!

    I had not read this author before. I liked this one so much, I ordered another one by him, Natchez Burning.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2014

    J m hebert


    This book got you right at the beginning and didn't let go.will definitely check out other works by this authir . Disturbing matter at times but makes you realize the horror of this type of horrendous tradegy &the possible long type effect one may endure. Definitely a powerful read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2014

    Loved it

    Love southern gothic novels and I think Iles is the best in the genre ! Another great mystery that kept me reading constantly. Cant wait for Natchez Burning.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 171 Customer Reviews

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