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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
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...
Published on May 30 2002 by Neal C. Reynolds

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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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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
(REAL NAME)   
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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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 124,000 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
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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3.0 out of 5 stars Great idea, good movie, okay book, Dec 26 2003
By 
Thomas Mongle (Houston) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Blood Work (Mass Market Paperback)
Blood Work is a timely subject, foreshadowing ethical, political, and personal questions which will become more important as we adjust to the transplantation and creation of body parts to keep ourselves alive. The basic story revolves around FBI profiler Terry McAleb's need for, acquisition of, and resulting complications from receiving a life-giving heart donation from a murder victim. Although Connelly's work is good in itself, Brian Helgeland's screenplay makes the story come alive in ways the book cannot. Clint Eastwood has been criticized for many aspects of his self-directing, self-producing, and self-starring roles, but the movie works and it is much more entertaining than the book. The May-September Wanda De Jesus-Eastwood romance enhances the story's theme of renewal of life and adds more poignancy than is possible in the book where the two characters are closer in age. Although Paul Rodriguez's over-the-top performance as the PO'd Latino detective is distracting (albeit, with some funny lines), I think it brings out the ethnic interplay of the characters and the environment better than the book does. After all, this is LA, and this is today. But where the movie really shines is in the portrayal of the villain. In the book, we catch only fleeting glimpses of the killer and never hear about his motives from him. However, in the movie, the villain is an integral part of the story. His life and motives may be a little too obvious and perhaps subtract from the suspense, but the book doesn't do any better job of fleshing out evil. The ending also shines in the movie but falls short in the book. Connelly gave us little dread or anticipation. The movie delivers both, not only with Eastwood's constant concern about his heart transplant going bad and a violent bout with a burly Russian, but also with the final confrontation between Eastwood and the killer himself.
All in all, an okay book, a better movie, but not an all-nighter.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Fast-paced, Exciting Mystery, Dec 4 2003
This review is from: Blood Work (Mass Market Paperback)
Michael Connelly steps away from his hard-boiled Harry Bosch novels and introduces us to retired FBI Profiler Terry McCaleb. McCaleb is recovering from a heart transplant and living on a boat in the marina when the sister of the woman whose heart Terry received asks him to find her sister's killer. What appears to be a routine robbery begins to take on a more sinister direction as McCaleb begins to piece together some overlooked evidence. This thriller adds a lot of suspense not just from the events surrounding the murder but also from Terry's unstable physical condition. He can't drive, he doesn't know when he's hungry, has to constantly monitor his temperature and blood, and is easily fatigued.
Connelly populates the book with an excellent supporting cast of characters such as Graciella Rivers, the heart donor's sister and potential romantic interest for McCaleb; Detective Arrango, a detective who resents McCaleb looking into his investigation; and Buddy Lockwood, McCaleb's beach bum neighbor and part time chauffer. The plot may be a little contrived, but it's Terry's pain at how he received his new heart and the debt he feels he owes that drive this story. McCaleb is a thoroughly enjoyable character. As Terry begins to make certain discoveries, the suspense builds to a final satisfying conclusion.
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5.0 out of 5 stars His best work, Nov. 6 2003
By 
Amazon Customer (Arlington, VA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Blood Work (Mass Market Paperback)
I have read a number of Michael Connelly's novels. This, I feel, is his best work. The ex-FBI agent Terry McCaleb has just been given a new lease of life with a heart transplant only to be persuaded to take on a case that has the police baffled. McCaleb quickly breaks the case open but, as he does, it gets weirder and weirder. An apparent random killing seems anything but.
Graciela River's sister is the victim who manages to persuade McCaleb to take on the case. McCaleb is reluctant at first until Graciela pulls her trump card. Her sister's death is what gave Terry his new life - he has her heart. Using old contacts in the LAPD he manages to get enough information on the case to get it moving where once it lay dormant. One of the subplots in this book is the rankling between the agents on the case and Connelly - particularly as clues seem to point to McCaleb as the killer! This sort of tension can be overused in detective stories but Connelly does a great job of balancing the different aspects of ego, honor and getting the job done.
The premise of the book (which I can't reveal without giving the whole plot away!) is truly original. Like many great detective stories the clues are there if you can spot them.
Connelly's greatest achievement in this book is to keep the plot rolling and building. Just as you think it has reached a quiet point, something dramatic - but never that unexpected - happens to bring us back to the chase. It's one of those books that you constantly find yourself saying, "Ah, of course!" and is very enjoyable as a result. If you haven't read any of Connelly's novels before, this is a great opener; if you have read them - what are you waiting for?
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5.0 out of 5 stars A different, excellent thriller, Oct. 9 2003
By 
J R Zullo (São Paulo, Brazil) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Blood Work (Mass Market Paperback)
This is my first Michael Connelly book. His flowing, easy writing style grabbed me from page one, and along the book the cool plot and the above-average developed, human and likable characters did the rest of the job for me. His other books will be part of my reading list, no doubt.
The main character is Terry McCalleb, a retired FBI agent, now living in a boat anchored at a marina in LA. He's retired because his heart played a trick on him, and he had to wait two years at the organ-receiving line, almost loosing his life in the process. Finally, two months after a successful transplant, all he wants to do is fix his boat and drive to Catalina. But then, suddenly, a beautiful woman comes along and asks him to investigate the violent murder of her sister. McCalleb says he's off the game and won't do it, but then Graciela (that's the woman's name) says he should think about it, since the heart now in McCalleb's chest once belonged to her deceased sister.
From then on, the book goes from a seemingly simple situation to a very complex plot. It's interesting to see how Connelly makes McCalleb work, sometimes even to complete loose ends, just to a little bit later discover something he had previously missed. McCalleb is a coherent character, and the reader can't help but like him. Other characters are intersting as well, good ones and bad ones.
After reaching the end, I noticed that the solution is in plain sight in the middle of the book, if the reader pays enough attention or is interested in spoiling the fun for the end. I suggest not an investigative reading, but an enjoyable one. Just go along with McCalleb and it will be fine. Not the usual serial-killer-forensic-investigation thriller. Way above average.
Grade 9.1/10
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3.0 out of 5 stars Cliffhanger with memorable characters, Aug. 30 2003
By 
"theplotthickens" (Houston, TX United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Blood Work (Mass Market Paperback)
Okay, first off: this ain't literature. It's not supposed to be. So for those looking for something cryptic, go elsewhere. If you want a good toe-curling murder mystery with characters with whom you can identify, this is a great thing to reach for. Whenever you read, whether at the end of the day, at work or at school, this book is so well paced that you're always about to fall off the cliff or are not trusting the momentary lull in the action. Terry McCalleb, retired FBI psychopathologist and sleuth, doesn't jump out and bite you with his appeal but grows on you slowly, as does a vanilla plot which blossoms into a predictably unpredictable twist.
McCalleb, recovering on his boat after a heart operation, is contacted by a young woman who appears to be another lost California dreamer hoping to snare him into her plan. When she explains the circumstances of her visit, however, the empathic McCalleb is drawn to her case and takes it against the best advice of his doctors, friends, ex-colleagues and fellow fishermen. She asks him to find a killer in what appears to be an open-and-shut case; he looks into it and finds first one, next another, and after that still another layer of intrigue behind the scenes. When he finally reaches a breathing point to survey his work, he confronts something so sinister it threatens to tear his heart right out of his chest.
As you can guess, this was an avid pageturner for me and I found the characters appealing, although all characters outside the immediate action tend to be bland and functional. McCalleb is believable and grouchy enough to be tangible, warts and all, to the reader; his cohorts and ex-colleagues come through in vibrant life as well. I recommend this to anyone who wants a book that is a compelling read and is realistic despite not every aspect of its plot being firmly rooted in predictable, normal reality. I want read more of Connelly's books because of my experience reading this.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Trademark Connelly, Aug. 1 2003
This review is from: Blood Work (Mass Market Paperback)
My first book by Connelly was Trunk Music. I have always been a big crime fiction buff, especially cop thrillers. I found Trunk Music very engaging with a fresh 'in your face' kind of narrative. The tempo is quick and surprises frequent. The style and content is crisp and informative in a very procedural way, which probably has a lot to do with Connelly's Police background. In any case, Trunk Music hooked me on to the man. But Blood Work is prime whoddunit stuff. The suspense and the way Terry MaCaleb goes about unravelling mystery is breathtaking. It HAD to be made into a movie. When I read it in 1999(!), I knew it was movie material. However, the pleasure of reading is unparelleled.
Blood Work has all the twists and micro-episodes a la Jeff Archer short stories, cool detective work and a class I plot. And then there is the narrative. Refreshing.
This book is a 'must-have' and like many others who have reviewed here, you too may end up buying more of this novelist. I have not read The Last Coyote and Concrete Blonde by him. All others have been gulped down. Cheers Mr. Connelly!
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Blood Work
Blood Work by Michael Connelly (Paperback - July 1 2002)
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