Good Blood (Gideon Oliver Series #11)

Good Blood (Gideon Oliver Series #11)

4.5 4
by Aaron Elkins

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More information to be announced soon on this forthcoming title from Penguin USA


More information to be announced soon on this forthcoming title from Penguin USA

Editorial Reviews
The Barnes & Noble Review
Powerful family dynamics add drama and complexity to this entry in the Edgar Award–winning Gideon Oliver series. World-renowned professor of forensic anthropology Gideon Oliver (a.k.a. the Skeleton Detective) is on vacation with his wife and their friend Phil. They're enjoying the delights of the Italian countryside when Phil casually suggests a detour to meet his mother's family…and unknowingly invites them into tragedy. The aristocratic de Grazias inhabit a rambling villa on their own private island, a setting rich in history and shrouded in secrets. The first enigma they encounter there is that Achille, the teenage heir to the family's billion-dollar construction company, has been kidnapped. The second is the tale of the strange circumstances surrounding the missing boy's father's conception and birth. Although Phil wants to support his family in the dark days after Achille's disappearance, there is little he and his friends can do…until a skeleton is unearthed and the local police turn to Gideon for expert assistance. It's obvious from the first that the bones are too old to be Achille's, but Gideon's forensic examination soon raises equally disturbing questions about the death of the boy's grandfather, who was presumed drowned ten years before. Untangling the threads of that decade-old murder leads Gideon in unexpected directions that illuminate the modern crime, the motives and identity of Achille's kidnapper, and some surprising facts about Phil's position in this aristocratic Italian family. The details of Italian police work, Gideon's labors in his makeshift forensic laboratory, and the hidden longings and open hatreds of the de Grazia family make Good Blood a fast, fascinating read. Sue Stone
Publishers Weekly
Set in the charming village of Stresa on Italy's Lake Maggiore, Elkins's 11th mystery to feature Gideon Oliver (after 2000's Edgar-winning Skeleton Dance) shows the forensic anthropologist in fine form. Oliver's half-Italian friend Phil Boyajian decides to combine a visit to relatives with a tour he's organizing, and invites Oliver and his wife to come along. As fate would have it-and Elkins is so good at acknowledging mystery conventions, often tongue-in-cheek-Phil's cousin, the bratty Achille de Grazia, has just been kidnapped. The local official, Colonnello Tullio Caravale, doesn't welcome Oliver's advice until an old set of bones turns up. Caravale, in a gently presented but highly amusing detail, admits that he once spent six hours classifying bones only to be told they were not human but rabbit. He's willing, therefore, to accept Oliver's expert help, and their evolving relationship is nicely evoked. The bones are identified as belonging to the kidnapped boy's grandfather, who was presumed dead in a sailing accident 10 years earlier. Clearly the two crimes are related, and the most likely suspects are the eccentric members of the de Grazia family, who live on a private island in a life of supreme physical ease but excruciating psychological discomfort. The distinct personalities of the de Grazias and other characters are sketched with great efficiency and precision. That alone would keep a reader's interest, but the forensic facts Elkins chooses to include and the brisk pace of the plot make for a total success. (Feb. 3) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In Skeleton Dance, forensic anthropologist Gideon Oliver and his park ranger wife, Julie, solved a crime in France. This time, they are on holiday in Italy, helping a friend host a tour featuring canoeing and bicycle riding. Since neither activity is Gideon's idea of fun, he lounges around the picturesque town of Stresa and is pulled, consequently, into the investigation of recently uncovered bones, which turn out to be connected to a 40-year-old secret baby swap. In turn, the swap is tied to a recent kidnapping involving the wealthy, influential family to which Gideon's tour guide friend is related. If readers can overlook this abundance of coincidences, this is vintage Elkins: well-drawn supporting characters, lovely scenery, and a bit of interesting science. The cast of colorful characters includes members of a large aristocratic Italian family and an Italian police officer who is both tough and humorous. Recommended for popular mystery collections.-Ann Forister, Roseville P.L., CA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-When their friend Phil Ungarettis asks Gideon and Julie Oliver to help him run a guided tour in Italy, they are happy to oblige. The scenario changes, though, when Gideon's skills as a forensic pathologist are needed to solve a murder already 10 years old that involves a powerful and socially prominent family, the de Grazias. Phil happens to be both kin and a part of the inner circle, and this connection pulls him and the Olivers deeper into the mystery. As more clues become apparent, the murder proves to be tied to the kidnapping of the de Grazias' only son. Unwinding the clues becomes a responsibility that lands firmly in Gideon's skilled hands. Elkins spends the first part of the book laying the framework of family connections, describing the Italian background of the story, and setting the stage for the discovery of the murder. Once Gideon becomes a prime part of the investigating team, led by the scene-stealing carabinieri Colonel Caravale, the plot moves rapidly along, becoming more interesting and complex with every page. The author infuses the story with a sense of the beauty of Italy, its style of life, and the culture of the area. Weaving complications into the exotic setting, spicing it with details of forensic pathology, and adding memorable characters make for an enticing story.-Pam Johnson, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A bambino bamboozle leads to kidnapping, murder, and a serious reassessment of an old family fortune. The centuries-old de Grazia family, now down to a mere dozen survivors, is suddenly one member closer to extinction. Sixteen-year-old Achille has been kidnapped and is being held for a ransom of five million Euros, a little too rich for his dad Vincenzo, the force behind Aurora Construzioni. Even more troubling, human remains have been found at an Aurora building site, and Colonel Caravale of the carabinieri fears they may belong to the teenager. Luckily, a distant de Grazia relative, camping tour leader Phil Boyjian, has arrived on the shores of Lake Maggiore with his good friends Julie and Gideon Oliver. Since Gideon is a famous forensic anthropologist (Skeleton Dance, 2000, etc.), Caravale asks him to help. Mama Mia! Those bones actually belong to long-dead family patriarch Domenico, supposedly lost in a boating accident. While Phil reconnects with his childhood crush and Julie minds the campers and the remaining de Grazias bicker and snipe and finagle each other's finances, Gideon is nearly strangled and a doctor is slain, but not before his journal reveals The Truth about Achille's ordeal and Vincenzo and Phil's births, leading to a wildly improbable confrontation with an embittered de Grazia. The prologue, alas, tells all. But stick around for those Italian dinners, which are superb. Agency: Sobel Weber Associates

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Gideon Oliver Series , #11
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Penguin Group
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File size:
351 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Aaron Elkins is the author of the Edgar Award-winning Gideon Oliver mysteries

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4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
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In the village of Stresa, near Lake Maggiore, Italy a well planned kidnapping is carried out. Achille de Grazia, the sixteen-year-old heir to wealthy and aristocratic Vincenzo, the owner of numerous business enterprises and his own island, is being ransomed for the sum of five million Euros. While the family is raising the money, the bones of a murdered man are found at a de Grazia construction site. Forensic anthropologist Gideon Oliver, his wife Julie and a de Grazia cousin Phil are in Stresa to host a ¿Travel of the Cheap Tour.¿ The carbineer in the form of Colonel Caravale asks Gideon to help him identify the skeleton and find out the cause of death. With the information Gideon gives him, Caravale identifies the body of Vincenzo¿s father who was thought to be lost at sea. After Achille is returned, somebody tries to steal the bones and kill Gideon, making him believe that the two crimes are linked in some manner. Further investigation proves he is right but it does not get him any closer to identifying the perpetrator or the mastermind who is orchestrating events.

After reading COLD BLOOD, an appropriate title if ever there was one, readers will find themselves wishing they could go Italy and immerse themselves in the culture, just not the sidebar that Gideon becomes part of. With only a few days of holiday under his belt, Gideon is so antsy to get back to work that he leaps into the case and makes such a good impression on the colonel that he becomes his de facto partner. This is an exciting police procedural set among the blue bloods of Italian society.

Harriet Klausner