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BLOOD WORK by Michael Connelly

BLOOD WORK

By Michael Connelly

Pub Date: March 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-316-15399-0
Publisher: Little, Brown

Another of Connelly's volcanic lawmen confronts his nightmare double--the killer whose brutal crime saved the hero's life. Two years after a bad heart sidelined him from the FBI, Terry McCaleb gets another chance, and another heart, thanks to Gloria Torres, shot in a convenience store holdup. McCaleb's well on the way to recovery when Gloria's sister, emergency room nurse Graciela Rivers, tells him who donated his new heart and begs him to reopen Gloria's stalled case. The job seems impossible--after all, what kinds of clues could the LAPD or McCaleb dig up on a random crime of opportunity?--but longtime fans of Connelly's nailbiters (Trunk Music, 1997, etc.) will know that the holdup is anything but random. They won't be surprised when McCourt, scrutinizing a videotape of the robbery, picks up telltale details the cops never spotted, or when he sees that Gloria's murder is only part of a pattern of killings. From here on in, though, it's best not to say too much about Connelly's bag of tricks. Once the suspect McCaleb's confronted attacks him (painful stuff for a convalescent whose cardiologist warned him that the excitement of the chase alone was enough to put him back in the hospital) and takes off, McCaleb, fortified by his budding romance with Graciela and his delight in Gloria's seven-year-old son Raymond, hunkers down with a jumble of surveillance tapes, fortuitous eyewitnesses and earwitnesses, and tiny discrepancies that open up big breaks in the case. But the closer McCourt gets to his quarry, the more closely he fits the profile of the killer himself--a coincidence not lost on the cops who've resented his involvement all along. A tormented hero, a canny and malicious killer, endlessly patient detective work alternating with dark threats and tense action scenes: Connelly seems bent on wiring together every cliche of the mano-a-mano genre and juicing them fill they sing.