Wednesday, September 12, 2012

"In The Blood" by Jack Kerley

Det. Carson Ryder and his partner Det. Harry Nautilus have two different cases that they must investigate. One involves the discovery of the body of ultra-conservative preacher Reverend Richard Scaler. It looks like he died during some sort of S & M sex session. The other case is that of an abandoned baby discovered in a boat. When the baby is nearly kidnapped from the hospital and killed, the detectives realise that there are more people out there who might want this baby dead. They must find out what it is about Noelle (the name they give the baby) that has ignited such murderous passion, how she links to the case of the dead Reverend, and how this all fits in with the activities of modern-day white supremacists.

I have yet to be truly disappointed by a Jack Kerley novel, and "In The Blood" continues his tradition of well-plotted, suspenseful thrillers. This novel confirms that it is not so hard to combine seemingly disparate storylines into a cohesive whole. Everything presented here happens for a reason. There are no peripheral characters around to boost the word count. I worry that these would seem like spoilers, but I don't think they are. Isn't it good to know that several storylines are all somehow related? That little nugget of information could have helped me out with all the novels I've read in which multiple storylines have nothing whatsoever to do with each other.

It would have been better if events capped off with something truly exciting. Here, a lot of the concluding chapters are devoted to explaining just how all the events are related. So my only true complaint would be that the novel didn't quite deliver the action and tension evident in other Kerley novels. The previous novel "Blood Brother", for example, had me practically leaving burn marks on the pages, as both the action and the plot twists were really exciting. On a side note - what happened to Alice Fogler from the previous novel, who was suggested as a possible love interest for Carson? No mention is made of her. In fact, other than one brief reference to Carson's brother Jeremy, it's hard to even identify this novel as part of an on-going series. On the plus side, it means readers unfamiliar with Kerley's novels will be able to get into this one without getting lost.

"In The Blood" moves along quickly, expertly draws together multiple plot strands, and paints a scary picture of the racism that still exists in our society. Fans of Kerley will be happy, and new readers will discover a talented author and get to track down his previous efforts.

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