In Young’s debut thriller, the discovery of two still-bleeding dead bodies on two different continents offers investigators a medical anomaly—and a murder mystery.
New York City police detective Sean O’Reilly doesn’t know what to make of his latest crime scene. A man at the Plaza Hotel is most definitely dead, but that hasn’t stopped his lifeless body from continuing to bleed. Confounded pathologists seek help from colleagues, which not only reveals a similar case in Switzerland, but also brings in Los Angeles hematologist Dr. Andy Friedman, who specializes in coagulation disorders. Andy and fellow physician Leila Baker look for a connection between the two dead men: the CEO of a health insurance company and a pharmaceutical company executive. But the doctors, working as amateur sleuths, soon realize that the case involves many other people, and a staggering number of dark secrets. Although the posthumous hemorrhaging certainly hints at a medical mystery, Young tends to play down the medical aspect. Instead, he skillfully fleshes out the investigative side of the story, starting with the dead men’s companies, and gradually fills out the pool of suspects. By the end, the story is gleefully convoluted, bouncing suspicion from one character to the next (and sometimes back again). However, its potentially intriguing medical element is surprisingly lacking; Andy and Leila focus their investigation almost exclusively on the killer’s motive, despite that fact that cops ask for their help to explain how the people were killed. O’Reilly and his partner, Detective Jose Alvarez, eventually send the docs to Switzerland, Norway and Scotland to interrogate probable murderers, and even bring them along when executing a search warrant. Young does provide a reason for the corpses, but it’s a little too simple, and doesn’t quite explain the bleeding. The budding romance between Andy and Leila, though, is absorbing; Andy’s reluctance to dive into a long-term relationship has nothing to do with professionalism, but with religion: She’s Muslim and he’s Jewish. Neither their relationship nor the inevitable solution to the mystery offer easy answers, and both are left open to readers’ interpretations.
A winning whodunit, but one that could have used more medical investigation.