Saturday, January 5, 2008
Blood Work by Michael Connelly
This is my first review for 2008 and part of the A to Z Challenge. Blood Work is the story of retired FBI profiler Terry McCaleb. The reader meets Terry, in this book, after a successful heart transplant when he is confronted by his heart donor's sister. It turns out the sister was murdered, and the case has not been solved. The book revolves around Terry's attempts to solve the murder case while still recovering from the heart transplant surgery.
Strengths of Blood Work: I loved the main character. Terry was very likable yet vulnerable. He was not the hot shot perfect detective you meet in some novels. He was flawed and not all his ideas were correct. The heart transplant also added complexity to his character. According to the author's notes, Connelly talked in detail with a heart transplant patient to portray Terry's physical and emotional responses correctly. The title is also a good play on words and relates well to various points of the plot.
SPOILER ALERT: SKIP TO THE NEXT PARAGRAPH IF YOU DON'T WANT A MAJOR PLOT POINT REVEALED. Another strength was the plot. Connelly ties the donor's murder to two other murders. He then, further, ties them to an old unsolved case of Terry's from his FBI days. He is able to build a good deal of tension in the story as the layers are revealed. Terry's final confrontation of the killer comes at breakneck speed after the reader thinks it is all over. The last few chapters race by! SPOILER ENDED.
Weaknesses of Blood Work: I really didn't like the romance between Terry and the dead donor's sister. It seemed liked a forced subplot where the author tried to give him redemption for his actions. There was a lot of talk of losing, and regaining, faith. It felt a little too forced to me.
Overall, I enjoyed this one. It was an exciting read. I'd probably give it a 4 out of 5 - I'm going to experiment with a scale in 2008 to see how I like it. Let me know if you've read this one. I'm also curious. Does anyone know if McCaleb's character is from another of Connelly's books?