Blood Work

By Michael Connelly

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Warner Books, 1998

Genre: Mystery, suspense

Series: Terry McCaleb mysteries; 1

ISBN: 9780446690447

Intended audience: Adult

Number of pages: 469

Setting: Los Angeles, CA

Time period: contemporary (late nineties)

Plot summary: Former FBI agent Terry McCaleb has a new lease on life, which comes from his recent heart transplant.  However, when Terry discovers that the woman from whom he has received his heart was murdered, he knows he must do what he can to try and find the killer.  Unfortunately, that fact that he is retired and under doctor’s orders to take it easy makes this task even more challenging.

Appeal factors:

Pacing: A smooth blend of details, dialogue, and action combine to create a tense, fast paced story.

Characterization: Told in third person via Terry; readers are quickly drawn into his character and life’s dilemmas.

Frame: McCaleb’s boat The Following Sea provides the frame for much of the story.  It bridges two worlds – the sea and the city – as McCaleb transitions between ordinary citizen and (former) law enforcement.

Story line: An intense and suspenseful story which asks the question – can good come from evil?  This is the central question McCaleb pursues throughout LA as he attempts to discover why he was given life when someone else was killed.

Subject headings:

From PCPL:

Private investigators — California — Los Angeles — Fiction.

Serial murders — California — Los Angeles — Fiction.

Los Angeles (Calif.) — Fiction.

Similar authors:

Raymond Chandler, Lee Child, Harlan Coben, John Connolly, John Sandford

Personal notes: I really enjoyed this book – both the plot (which kept me guessing) and the main character.

Other (themes, diversity): Diversity – heart transplant recipient

An interesting interview with Terry Hansen – a friend of Michael Connelly and heart transplant recipient can be read at Michael Connelly’s webstite.

This book won both the Anthony Award (1999) and the Macavity Award (1999) for best (mystery) novel.

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