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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Plot-Driven Murder Mystery with an Unusual Premise
Are plots the center of murder mysteries? Or are the characters the center? I think that highly intelligent authors sometimes get carried away and try to do too much. That's the weakness of Blood Work. But if you don't mind a plot from Mars, you may find that the paths of Mars and Venus eventually intersect on Earth.

Blood Work is a novel filled with more...
Published on Aug. 25 2008 by Donald Mitchell

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Suspend all Belief...
...and you'll likely enjoy this mystery. The story has an interesting and rather off beat premise, and moves through the pages at a "mostly" brisk and lively pace. But the reader is asked to make too many leaps of faith along the way, feeling just a bit too much like a made-for-TV movie. Terrell McCaleb, the ex-FBI agent with a new heart, moves a little to freely through...
Published on June 8 2002 by Gary Griffiths


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Plot-Driven Murder Mystery with an Unusual Premise, Aug. 25 2008
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 122,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(#1 HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Blood Work (Mass Market Paperback)
Are plots the center of murder mysteries? Or are the characters the center? I think that highly intelligent authors sometimes get carried away and try to do too much. That's the weakness of Blood Work. But if you don't mind a plot from Mars, you may find that the paths of Mars and Venus eventually intersect on Earth.

Blood Work is a novel filled with more imagination than I can ever hope to muster. As a result, the story becomes dizzying in its complications towards the end. What will hold your attention throughout is the riveting portrayal of retired FBI-profiler, Terry McCaleb, as he tries to track down the murderer of the woman whose heart saved McCaleb's life while recovering from the transplant surgery.

To me, the most interesting parts of the book relate to what it would be like to receive a heart transplant and to have a chance to do something for the donor's family by sorting out a murderer. That's about as interesting a premise as you can have. I'm sure you'll think about it often after you read the book.

On the other hand, I was less than thrilled by the shifts in pace within the book. It starts slow and gently . . . but is moving at breakneck pace near the end. The beginning is too slow, and the end is too fast. It's more contrast than most readers can easily absorb.

Michael Connelly also relies a bit too much on his ability to tie an infinite number of facts together into a plot. It's overkill. But I had to be impressed by the imagination that can do that.

If you haven't read other stories by Michael Connelly about Terry McCaleb, be sure you start with this one. It will enrich your appreciation of the later stories.

If you want to have some extra fun with the book, keep track of the different ways that the book's title fits into the story. You'll be amazed at how many different references are appropriate. I don't recall too many novels that use more than three such references. Connelly moves well beyond such a modest target.

Pay attention to the details. They matter!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Suspend all Belief..., June 8 2002
By 
Gary Griffiths (Los Altos Hills, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Blood Work (Mass Market Paperback)
...and you'll likely enjoy this mystery. The story has an interesting and rather off beat premise, and moves through the pages at a "mostly" brisk and lively pace. But the reader is asked to make too many leaps of faith along the way, feeling just a bit too much like a made-for-TV movie. Terrell McCaleb, the ex-FBI agent with a new heart, moves a little to freely through the LAPD and the FBI in his private and unauthorized investigation of a pair of seemingly unrelated random murders. The love affair with his client is sappy and unnecessary, except for its inevitable role in a formulaic ending. And for the crime-solving genius that McCaleb is made out to be, you think he'd eventually remember to check his voicemail. For the most part, the characters felt hastily developed, relying more on stereotype than on any thoughtful personality development by the author.
But on balance, "Blood Work" is an entertaining, but not riveting, mystery. The plot had some clever twists and as mentioned, is built around an unusual theme. The killer was deftly hidden and skillfully revealed, though the climax felt rushed and contrived. In the final analysis, "Blood Work" is a rather ordinary pop thriller/mystery that feels good while it lasts, but won't be much remembered a few days hence.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Believable characters & well crafted twists keep this going, May 30 2002
By 
Neal C. Reynolds (Indianapolis, Indiana) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Blood Work (Mass Market Paperback)
This is the second Connelly novel I've read...before I read the recent paperback with both Harry Bosch and Terrel McCaleb as characters, I wanted to get acquainted with each in earlier books, and this is the one that introduces McCaleb.
You have to like the main character. He has the toughness of a former FBI agent and the tenderness of one whose been saved by an heart transplant...and who discovers that the donor of the heart now keeping him alive was the victim of an unsolved robbery and murder.
The step by step investigation and the conflict with the others investigating the same crime carries the story forward. And then come the twists and the red herrings. The author leads the reader first in one direction, and then another. The alert reader will see certain clues, but finds that the total picture is more complicated than it first seems. I did stay ahead of the author much of the way, but then realized that he still pulled several tricks on me. However, he did so honestly and squarely. Connelly is a natural at playing the game with the reader skillfully, without cheating. Yet, he entertains immensely along the way.
This can be read easily and casually or slowly and carefully as if solving puzzle. Either way, it's worthwhile. The movie version with Clint Eastwood (who I can't quite picture in the role) is due in August, and though I'm sure it will be an honest effort, I suggest reading the book. There's no way (that I know) that a movie will capture all the thoughts and keep you guessing the way the book does.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Take Heart, Jan. 14 2014
By 
John M. Ford "johnDC" (near DC, MD USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Blood Work (Kindle Edition)
Terry McCaleb has retired from the FBI and is slowly recuperating from the heart transplant that saved his life. Terry has retreated to his boat, which he is gradually making seaworthy. His rest is interrupted by Graciela Rivers, who requests that he investigate the convenience store robbery that resulted in her sister Gloria's death. McCaleb starts to refuse, but is stunned to learn that Gloria was the donor of his transplanted heart. He begins to investigate the case and grow closer to Graciela and Gloria's young son, Raymond.

There are several mysteries to be solved and one or two surprises. Those who have seen Clint Eastwood in the Blood Work movie adaptation will find themselves on familiar ground. Author Michael Connelly credits Eastwood for offering helpful criticism while the book was being written. It seems possible that Connelly intended McCaleb to be played by Eastwood from the beginning. The book also offers a sensitive portrayal of the emotions that organ recipients and the relatives of organ donors experience. The author expresses his gratitude to a personal friend who underwent a heart transplant and was willing to discuss and reflect on this experience.

It's a reasonably entertaining read. Readers who develop a liking for Terry McCaleb can find him again in Connelly's A Darkness More Than Night. He also appears briefly and is the subject of an investigation in The Narrows.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing; not up to his usual finesse., Sept. 14 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Blood Work (Mass Market Paperback)
Michael Connelly is one of my favorite mystery writers, so I was doubly disappointed in "Blood Work". The characters are one-dimensional, the plot borders on the implausible, and I had figured out "who did it" by the third chapter. Plus, despite all the warnings about not stressing his transplanted heart, our hero escapes with no physical consequences. Perhaps the publisher insisted he churn out another bestseller - this has a churned-out feel.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't stop Listening, May 14 2011
By 
Heather Pearson "Heather" (Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Blood Work(CD)(Abr.) (Audio CD)
Just two month post transplant and Terry McCaleb is recovering on his boat which is moored in the Los Angeles Harbor. Retired from his job with the FBI, Terry is under doctor's orders to do nothing other than rest and recover. He finds this a reasonable task until the day a women comes to his boat pleading that he investigate the murder of her only sister. When presented with the intimate details, Terry finds it hard to resist.

This is one of those stories that grabs onto the reader early on, and won't let go until the last line is read or listened too in my case. To me, The murder of Gloria seemed like a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, it would never have occurred to me to think anything else. McCaleb is one of those people who has a different sense of events and possibilities. As an investigator, he comes across to the reader as very believable. I loved this book. Since I was listening to the audio version, I kept finding excuses to go out in my car and drive around, run errand and pick up the kids. Am looking forward to listening to more of Michael Connelly's works.

The audiobook I listened to was an unabridged version by Brilliance Audio. It was superbly read by Dick Hill (who I would listen to again at any time). Length is 13 hours.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Beware the Following Sea, Jan. 26 2007
This review is from: Blood Work (Mass Market Paperback)
"Blood Work" is Michael Connelly's seventh book, and only his second not to feature Harry Bosch. Instead, it centers on Terry McCaleb, a retired FBI agent in his mid-40s. Born in LA, McCaleb grew up on Catalina Island and took a disability retirement after a heart attack. In fact, he'd received a heart transplant about two months before the book opens - a very rare blood type meant he'd had to wait about two years from his transplant. He lives on a twenty-year old boat, "The Following Sea", which he inherited from his father and is moored in the San Pedro marina. However, he does plan to eventually move back to Catalina. McCaleb worked on some very high profile cases as an agent - including, for example, "The Code Killer" and "The Sunset Strip Strangler" cases. Connelly's only previous book not to feature Bosch was "The Poet" - while McCaleb did not feature in that book, it seems he did contribute to that investigation.

The events of "Blood Work" are kick-started by Keisha Russell, a journalist from the Times, who has also played a minor role in some of the Bosch novels. Having helped McCaleb at times - holding details back from (or adding them to) an article at his request - McCaleb felt he owed her and agreed to a 'Where Are They Now' column. That column had led to a series of people coming to his boat and asking for his help finding the killers of their relatives. Unable to help them, under doctor's orders, he has instead referred them to some PIs he knows. However, McCaleb doesn't find Graciela Rivers so easy to turn away when she visits. Graciela's sister, Gloria, was murdered during robbery at a grocery store; Gloria proved to be the donor for Terry's new heart.

Despite his doctor's misgivings, McCaleb decides to look into the case. The fact that he's now a private citizen, and no longer an Agent, only makes it more difficult. Arrango and Walters, from the LAPD's West Valley Division, are the detectives officially investigating Gloria's murder. They provide him with a little information, and a viewing of the footage from the store's security camera, but confirm the case has essentially stalled. Knowing that's as far as he'll be allowed to go, but believing the killer has struck before, McCaleb calls in another favor from Keisha Russell. Thanks to Russell's research, McCaleb links Gloria's murder to another being investigated by a Sheriff's detective called Jaye Winston. Having worked with Winston in the past, McCaleb feels sure she'll help him now.

"Blood Work" was the first of Connelly's books to be adapted for the big screen, and starred Clint Eastwood as McCaleb. It also won the Grand Prix, the highest award for a mystery novel in France, as well as the Anthony Award and Macavity Award. Featuring a 'new' character, there's no need to have read any of Connelly's previous books - so if you've never read any of Connelly's books before, this is a good place to start. (Other possible starting points would be "The Black Echo", "The Poet" and "Void Moon"). McCaleb isn't as rough around the edges as Bosch, but is still a likeable character. Definitely worth reading.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Search for a Killer, Feb. 22 2004
This review is from: Blood Work (Mass Market Paperback)
Michael Connelly is one of the best crime novelist writers I've ever read. Every book I've read of his has been a rollercoaster of emotions & suspense. I haven't been disappointed yet!
I'll admit it took me a little bit to get used to Terry McCaleb, since I'm a huge fan of the Harry Bosch series, and who can top that? However, before long I was enjoying Terry almost just as much.
Blood Work is full of twists & turns, in search of a killer. Terry McCaleb, who has just had a heart transplant is supposed to be at home resting, retired from the FBI. Until the woman who's sister died so he could have his heart, asks Terry for his help in finding her killer. How can he turn her down? I don't want to reveal too much, so I'll leave it at that. If you like crime novels and murder mysteries, I guarentee you'll love this book. There wasn't a dull moment. And I'd also recommend the Harry Bosch series, including Concrete Blonde, Trunk Music and Angels Flight.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down!!, Feb. 10 2004
By 
drmstrm16 (Ithaca, NY United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Blood Work (Mass Market Paperback)
I'd never read any of Michael Connelly's work before. I'd heard of the movie, and thought it sounded interesting, so I figured before I watched the movie I'd read the book. From very early on I was completely engrossed. I'm an avid fan of true crime, and Connelly knows his stuff. Suffice it to say, anything else going on in my life was pushed to the side and I finished the book in 24 hours. I did eventually watch the movie, as well. It was ok, but the book was (as is usually the case) far better.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good work, Jan. 28 2004
This review is from: Blood Work (Mass Market Paperback)
I give this book four stars because it is not the fast-paced suspense thriller I expected it to be but it was certainly compelling. I also give it four stars because the ending was a little weak. What weakened the ending was the killer's motives. Everything just happened too fast to take in one gulp. I'm not going to give away the ending here. I'd much rather you read the book because in spite of these flaws, the story is good. I give this author credit because he writes the story in such a way that it allows the reader to play detective, as opposed to the story being an obvious giveaway. I've rarely had the chance to read this kind of thriller. I also give the author credit for the originality of the story which, overall, gets four stars from me because it is well written.
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Blood Work by Michael Connelly (Paperback - July 1 2002)
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