"Michael Connelly is the master of the universe in which he lives, and that is the sphere of crime thrillers." - Huffington Post
When Graciella Rivers steps onto his boat, ex-FBI agent Terrell McCaleb has no idea he's about to come out of retirement. He's recuperating from a heart transplant and avoiding anything stressful. But when Graciella tells him the way her sister, Gloria, was murdered, Terry realizes he has no choice. Now the man with the new heart vows to take down a predator without a soul. For Gloria's killer shatters every rule that McCaleb ever learned in his years with the Bureau-as McCaleb gets no more second chances at life...and just one shot at the truth.
*Winner of the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière- International Category
*Winner of the Macavity Award for Best Mystery Novel
*Winner of the Anthony Award for Best Novel
About the Author
Date of Birth:July 21, 1956
Place of Birth:Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Education:B.A. in Journalism, University of Florida, 1980
Read an Excerpt
McCaleb saw her before she saw him. He was coming down the main dock, past the row of millionaires' boats, when he saw the woman standing in the stern of The Following Sea. It was half past ten on a Saturday morning and the warm whisper of spring had brought a lot of people out to the San Pedro docks. McCaleb was finishing the walk he took every morning--completely around Cabrillo Marina, out along the rock jetty and back. He was huffing by this part of the walk, but he slowed his pace even more as he approached the boat. His first feeling was annoyance--the woman had boarded his boat uninvited. But as he got closer, he put that aside and wondered who she was and what she wanted.
She wasn't dressed for boating. She had on a loose summer dress that came to mid-thigh. The breeze off the water threatened to lift it and so she kept one hand at her side to keep it down. McCaleb couldn't see her feet yet but he guessed by the taut lines of the muscles he saw in her brown legs that she wasn't wearing boat shoes. She had raised heels on. McCaleb's immediate read was that she was there to make some kind of impression on someone.
McCaleb was dressed to make no impression at all. He had on an old pair of jeans ripped by wear, not for style, and a T-shirt from the Catalina Gold Cup tournament a few summers before. The clothes were spattered with stains--mostly fish blood, some of his own blood, marine polyurethane and engine oil. They had served him as both fishing and work clothes. His plan was to use the weekend to work on the boat and he was dressed accordingly.
He became more self-conscious about his appearance as he drew closer to the boat and could see the woman better. He pulled the foam pads of his portable off his ears and turned off the CD in the middle of Howlin' Wolf singing "I Ain't Superstitious."
"Can I help you?" he asked before stepping down into his own boat.
His voice seemed to startle her and she turned away from the sliding door that led into the boat's salon. McCaleb figured she had knocked on the glass and was waiting, expecting him to be inside.
"I'm looking for Terrell McCaleb."
She was an attractive woman in her early thirties, a good decade or so younger than McCaleb. There was a sense of familiarity about her but he couldn't quite place it. It was one of those deja vu things. At the same time he felt the stir of recognition, it quickly flitted away and he knew he was mistaken, that he did not know this woman. He remembered faces. And hers was nice enough not to forget.
She had mispronounced the name, saying Mc-Cal-ub instead of Mc-Kay-Leb, and used the formal first name that no one ever used except the reporters. That's when he began to understand. He knew now what had brought her to the boat. Another lost soul come to the wrong place.
"McCaleb," he corrected. "Terry McCaleb."
"Sorry. I, uh, I thought maybe you were inside. I didn't know if it was okay to walk on the boat and knock."
"But you did anyway."
She ignored the reprimand and went on. It was as if what she was doing and what she had to say had been rehearsed.
"I need to talk to you."
"Well, I'm kind of busy at the moment."
He pointed to the open bilge hatch she was lucky not to have fallen into and the tools he had left spread out on a drop cloth by the stern transom.
"I've been walking around, looking for this boat, for almost an hour," she said. "It won't take long. My name is Graciela Rivers and I wanted--"
"Look, Miss Rivers," he said, holding his hands up and interrupting. "I'm really ... You read about me in the newspaper, right?" She nodded.
"Well, before you start your story, I have to tell you, you're not the first one to come out here and find me or to get my number and call me. And I'm just going to tell you what I told all of the others. I'm not looking for a job. So if this is about you wanting to hire me or have me help you some way, I'm sorry, but I can't do it. I'm not looking for that kind of work."
She didn't say anything and he felt a pang of sympathy for her, just as he had for the others who had come to him before her.
"Look, I do know a couple of private investigators I can recommend. Good ones that will work hard and won't rip you off."
He stepped over to the stern gunwale, picked up the sunglasses he had forgotten to take on his walk and put them on, signaling the end of the conversation. But the gesture and his words went by her.
"The article said you were good. It said you hated it whenever somebody got away."
He put his hands in his pockets and hiked his shoulders.
"You have to remember something. It was never me alone. I had partners, I had the lab teams, I had the whole bureau behind me. It's a lot different than one guy running around out there on his own. A lot different. I probably couldn't help you even if I wanted to."
She nodded and he thought that he had gotten through to her and that would be the end of this one. He started thinking about the valve job on one of the boat's engines that he'd planned to complete over the weekend.
But he was wrong about her.
"I think you could help me," she said. "Maybe help yourself, too."
"I don't need the money. I do okay."
"I'm not talking about money."
He looked at her for a beat before replying.
"I don't know what you mean by that," he said, injecting exasperation into his voice. "But I can't help you. I've got no badge anymore and I'm not a private investigator. It would be illegal for me to act as one or to accept money without a state license. If you read the story in the paper, then you know what happened to me. I'm not even supposed to be driving a car."
He pointed toward the parking lot beyond the row of docks and the gangway.
"You see the one wrapped up like a Christmas present? That's mine. It's sitting there until I get my doctor's approval to drive again. What kind of investigator would that make me? I'd be taking the bus."
She ignored his protest and just looked at him with a resolute expression that unnerved him. He didn't know how he was going to get her off the boat.
"I'll go get those names for you."
He walked around her and slid open the salon door. After going in, he pulled the door shut behind him. He needed the separation. He went to the drawers below the chart table and began looking for his phone book. He hadn't needed it in so long he wasn't sure where it was. He glanced out through the door and watched her step to the stern and lean her hips against the transom as she waited.
There was reflective film on the glass of the door. She couldn't see him watching her. The sense of familiarity came over him again and he tried to place her face. He found her very striking. Dark almond-shaped eyes that seemed both sad and understanding of some secret at the same time. He knew he would easily remember if he had ever met her or even just observed her before. But nothing came. His eyes instinctively went to her hands in search of a ring. There was none. He had been right about her shoes. She wore sandals with two-inch cork heels. Her toenails were painted pink and showed off against her soft brown skin. He wondered if this was how she looked all the time, or if she had dressed to entice him into taking the job.
He found his phone book in the second drawer and quickly looked up the names Jack Lavelle and Tom Kimball. He wrote their names and numbers on an old marine service flier and opened the slider. She was opening her purse as he stepped out. He held up the paper. Here are two names. Lavelle is LAPD retired and Kimball was with the bureau. I worked with both and either will do a good job for you. Pick one and call. Make sure you tell him you got his name from me. He'll take care of you."
She didn't take the names from him. Instead she pulled a photo out of her purse and handed it to him. McCaleb took it without thinking. He realized immediately that this was a mistake. In his hand was a photo of a smiling woman watching a small boy blowing out candles on a birthday cake. McCaleb counted seven candles. At first he thought it was a picture of Rivers a few years younger. But then he realized it wasn't her. The woman in the photo had a rounder face and thinner lips. She wasn't as beautiful as Graciela Rivers. Though both had deep brown eyes, the eyes of the woman in the photo did not have the same intensity as the eyes of the woman now watching him.
"Yes. And her son."
"Which one is dead?"
The question was his second mistake, compounding the first by drawing him further in. He knew the moment he asked it that he should have just insisted that she take the names of the two private detectives and been done with it.
"My sister Gloria Torres. We called her Glory. That's her son, Raymond." He nodded and handed the photo back but she didn't take it. He knew she wanted him to ask what had happened but he was finally putting on the brakes.
"Look, this isn't going to work," he finally said. "I know what you're doing. It doesn't work on me."
"You mean you have no sympathy?"
He hesitated as the anger boiled up in his throat.
"I have sympathy. You read the newspaper story, you know what happened to me. Sympathy was my problem all along."
He swallowed it back and tried to clear away any ill feeling. He knew she was consumed by horrible frustrations. McCaleb had known hundreds of people like her. Loved ones taken from them without reason. No arrests, no convictions, no closure. Some or them were left zombies, their lives irrevocably changed. Lost souls. Graciela Rivers was one of them now. She had to be or she wouldn't have tracked him down. He knew that no matter what she said to him or how angry he got, she didn't deserve to be hit with his own frustrations as well. "Look," he said. "I just can't do this. I'm sorry."
He put a hand on her arm to lead her back to the dock step. Her skin was warm. He felt the strong muscle beneath the softness. He offered the photo again but she still refused to take it.
"Look at it again. Please. Just one more time and then I'll leave you alone. Tell me if you feel anything else?"
He shook his head and made a feeble hand gesture as if to say it made no difference to him.
"I was an FBI agent, not a psychic."
But he made a show of holding the photo up and looking at it anyway. The woman and the boy seemed happy. It was a celebration. Seven candles. McCaleb remembered that his parents were still together when he turned seven. But not much longer. His eyes were drawn to the boy more than the woman. He wondered how the boy would get along now without his mother.
"I'm sorry, Miss Rivers. I really am. But there is nothing I can do for you. Do you want this back or not?"
"I have a double of it. You know, two for the price of one. I thought you'd want to keep that one."
For the first time he felt the undertow in the emotional current. There was something else at play but he didn't know what. He looked closely at Graciela Rivers and had the sense that if he took another step, asked the obvious question, he would be pulled under. He couldn't help himself.
"Why would I want to keep it if I'm not going to be able to help you?"
She smiled in a sad sort of way.
"Because she's the woman who saved your life. I thought from time to time you might want to remind yourself of what she looked like, who she was."
He stared at her for a long moment but he wasn't really looking at Graciela Rivers. He was looking inward, running what she had just said through memory and knowledge and coming up short of its meaning.
"What are you talking about?"
It was all he could manage to ask. He had the sense that control of the conversation and everything else was tilting away from him and sliding across the deck to her. The undertow had him now. It was carrying him out.
She raised her hand but reached past the photo he was still holding out to her. She placed her palm on his chest and ran it down the front of his shirt, her fingers tracing the thick rope of the scar beneath. He let her do it. He stood there frozen and let her do it.
"Your heart," she said. "It was my sister's. She was the one who saved your life."
Table of Contents
On Thursday, March 5th, barnesandnoble.com welcomed Michael Connelly to discuss BLOOD WORK.
Moderator: Welcome, Mr. Connelly. Thank you for joining us. How are things this evening?
Michael Connelly: They're fine. I'm in a hotel room in Portland. I just came from a Barnes & Noble about a half hour ago, where I signed books.
Alex Phills from Hightown, NJ: Does Terry McCaleb have traits from any other characters you've read in literature?
Michael Connelly: I would say he must, but none that I can put my finger on. But I think all my characters, Harry Bosch in particular, were influenced by the books I've read and loved.
Greg Marrs from NYC: This is a great premise for a book that you've come up with! Where did the heart transplant idea come from that you used in BLOOD WORK?
Michael Connelly: The desire to write about a heart transplant has been sitting in my head for several years, since a good friend of mine received a heart transplant. And seeing the physical and emotional changes that he went through sort of inspired me to one day write about it. It wasn't until a few years passed by that the premise of how to use that in a crime novel came to me, and that is when I decided to write the story that became BLOOD WORK.
Chris H. from Ithaca, NY: Do you believe in regulation of the violence shown on television? What if one of your movies was optioned for a TV movie? Would you let the networks tone it down?
Michael Connelly: I think I personally don't see any problems with the warnings that they have at the beginning of shows, and that's probably because I recently became a father, and it stems from my sheltering ideas for my daughter. It is a part of the game that if you sell your books to a movie or TV studio, you are allowing them to do what they want. You don't have a say in the matter. I have sold my books to movie studios, so it is their turn to tell the story how they want. One of my books, THE POET, was a pretty dark book and dealt with child endangerment. It is being prepared for production as an HBO movie, and I know that they have already toned down the child-endangerment aspects of the book. I don't have a problem with that.
Fred Tombes from Alberta, BC: Who of your contemporaries do you like to read?
Michael Connelly: James Lee Burke and Lawrence Block are two whose books I never miss. I like reading fellow L.A. writers like Robert Crais, Jan Burke, and a new writer named Eddie Little. Another favorite of mine is George Pelecanos. But I'm always looking for new voices in mystery, for the hot new book.
Kayla from Texas: My 7-year-old is writing stories constantly. Most of them are about himself being a superhero, and he calls them "Super Chase." How do I continue to encourage him to write?
Michael Connelly: I think a good way would be to also encourage him to read, because reading is the best way to learn how stories work and how to write them. I wrote stories as a little kid, and my mom turned me into a voracious reader, and I doubt I'd be a writer now if I hadn't been such a reader.
John from Vancouver, Washington: Does BLOOD WORK have the same character as THE LAST COYOTE?
Michael Connelly: No. A new character.
Paula Fletcher from Virgina: What got you interested in mystery writing -- have you tried other genres?
Michael Connelly: I've never tried other genres, nor do I have a desire to. From my earliest days as a reader, dating back to reading Hardy Boys novels, I've just been fascinated with mysteries.
Jamie Clark from Glastonbury, CT: Will you be doing any book signings/appearances in the New England area anytime soon? Also, will you be bringing back Jack McEvoy?
Michael Connelly: I'm at a Barnes & Noble in Framingham at the end of this month, March 27th. That wil be my first trip to New England, as far as promoting books. I hope to bring back Jack someday. I just need the right story to do it, and so far it hasn't hit me.
Curious from LIC: Just wondering if you are a fan of Nelson DeMille? Did you read PLUM ISLAND? Another story of a detective on the trail of a criminal while in recovery and supposed "retirement." Very different stories, but I thought of the connection, so I thought I'd ask. Thanks!
Michael Connelly: No, I haven't read that book, and I'm not too familiar with DeMille, but I'm sure there are many books that follow a similar path. In writing mysteries, it is very hard to find an original idea, so what you try to do is bring some original thought to an old idea. I hope I did that with BLOOD WORK.
Harry Vicaro from Los Angeles: You were once a police reporter. Were there worse things that you saw on that beat than you have written about in your books?
Michael Connelly: I was out on the streets a lot during the riots in 1992 and saw a lot of bizarre and awful things, and I've never really captured the surreal atmosphere of those nights in a book. It is something I want to do someday.
email@example.com from Los Angeles, CA: Last year I was privileged to meet Mr. Connelly at the L.A. Times Book Fair at UCLA. Will he be attending and signing again this year?
Michael Connelly: Unfortunately, I'll be in Europe on a book tour. I'm sorry to miss it, because it is a very good and enjoyable festival.
John from Vancouver, WA: Are you doing any more signings in the Portland area before leaving?
Michael Connelly: I'm doing a reading tonight at Powell's in Beaverton, 7pm.
Veronica Barnes from New London, CT: If you could go out to dinner and drinks with Harry Bosch, what would you guys talk about? What would he order?
Michael Connelly: It's kind of like I do that every night. [Laughs] We might talk about jazz, and I might want to ask him about why he is so unyielding in his moral code. Why he never practices the philosophy of "go along to get along." Because I think that is what makes him interesting to me as a writer. In real life we all make compromises with ourselves, but Harry doesn't, and it usually ends up costing him. A beer! But I think Harry's a meat-and-potatoes kind of guy. And if he ordered a steak, it would be well done. [Laughs]
Tom Bishop from Stamford, CT: Where do you draw your inspiration from? What about Terry McCaleb drew you away from standby Harry Bosch?
Michael Connelly: What I want to do as a writer, and what I want to say, I think I can say through Harry Bosch, but it is my duty and my burden to make sure Harry stays fresh and interesting. I have found that one of the best ways of doing this is to take time away from him and do something else. So writing about a new character, like Terry, is fun and also therapeutic, and ultimately helps make Harry Bosch better the next time. I anm just finishing a Harry Bosch novel now that will be out near the end of this year or early next year.
Anne from Toronto: I notice all the mystery writers you mention are American. Do you have any favorites from the British scene?
Michael Connelly: Yes, I do: Peter Robinson, John Harvey, Ian Rankin, and Val McDermott.
Mark from NYC: How has the Internet impacted your life?
Michael Connelly: I think it has impacted it in that it has helped spread word about my work through venues like this and other chats that I've done and so forth. As a writer, it has given me something to explore in terms of its uses in books. The Internet has played a part in my books THE POET and, to a limited extent, BLOOD WORK. It plays a big part in the Harry Bosch novel I am just finishing up now.
Will Schott from Cleveland: How are you enjoying being a dad? Does writing afford you a lot of time to be with your family?
Michael Connelly: I am enjoying it quite a bit, and yes, I am very fortunate in that I have a job where I can set my schedule and I can also work at home. So I am around my daughter quite a bit. Except when I'm on tour, like right now.
Steven Shonts from Jonesboro, GA: Which writer or author inspired you to become an author?
Michael Connelly: Raymond Chandler. I discovered his books while I was in college at the University of Florida. That was when I pointed my schooling in the direction of me becoming a writer.
John from Vancouver, WA: Are there any movie plans based on Harry Bosch?
Michael Connelly: There is a lot of interest in Hollywood, but it seems things never get started. The first four Bosch books have been optioned by the studios, but they are in what they call the development stages, so in my mind it is still a long shot.
Curious from LIC: What is the significance of Harry's real first name, "Hieronymous"?
Michael Connelly: He is named after a painter from the 15th century, who painted some very bizarre canvases. I happened to study him a little in college, and the work always stayed with me. When I was creating this Bosch character, I used the name because I think in a way the painter's work could be seen as metaphorical for today's Los Angeles.
Howie from Nashville: What book was the most fun to write?
Michael Connelly: Probably THE LAST COYOTE, because it was a book I knew I would write from the beginning, a story I knew I had to tell about Harry Bosch. I waited four books to write it, so when the time finally came to do it, I was very happy and excited to write it. I think it is still my favorite book.
Roger B. from Miami, FL: What kind of mindset do you have to be in to write about brutal crimes?
Michael Connelly: I think any kind of mindset. You just have to want to say something about it, not just write about brutality for the sake of brutality. I like to explore the reasons behind things happening. It is a fact of life, and I know from my own experience as a reporter that the cruelest things on earth are people, and that to me is a fascinating concept that can be and should be explored. I think that is why mysteries or crime novels are one of the most popular genres of books going these days.
Jim Donovan from abroad in Ecuador: What mysteries did you read as a kid? Do you remember your favorite Hardy Boys mystery? How about the Boxcar Children?
Michael Connelly: I didn't read the Boxcar Children, and the Hardy Boys are really far back there in the mist. I remember the MYSTERY OF THE FLYING EXPRESS. Since I remember the title, maybe that was my favorite one?
Christopher Hardt from NYC: Do you ever write short stories or other types of pieces? Or do you stick to novels? What is it about the novel format that interests you?
Michael Connelly: I haven't written a short story yet. I'd like to do it sometime, but I think I'm kind of intimidated by it. I wrote an essay about becoming a father for an L.A. magazine last year. Other than that it has just been the novels.
Mark from NYC: TRUNK MUSIC really put you on the map with a lot of people. Do you welcome the recognition?
Michael Connelly: Sure. I think writers obviously seek to be published because they want people to read their stories. So as the books become more popular, it is obviously more fulfilling to me as a writer. This is not to say that's why I do it, because I think I'd still be writing these stories even if I had a minuscule audience. I feel it is something I should do, because I enjoy it.
Francine Wilkes from Los Angeles: Does good still win out over evil in this world anymore? It sure doesn't seem that way -- in fact, human morals are on the decline, big time. How do you reconcile this within yourself, that the material you draw upon to compose your novels stems from the unraveling of people's morals?
Michael Connelly: Well, I think in your question is the value of mystery novels, because you are right -- the moral fabric is unraveling, yet if you pick up a mystery novel, 95 percent of the time, right overcomes wrong, good overcomes evil, and therefore these books can in a way reinforce those notions that good should win. And they can be reassuring to us. For example, in L.A., where you and I live, the criminal justice system is suspect at best and is arguably completely broken down, when people get away with murder and other things. So it is sometimes good to enter a fictional world, where someone believes in a moral code and sticks to it, like Harry Bosch. I find that reassuring. Maybe that's why I write about him.
Sal Marinello from Ft. Lauderdale: I remember your bylines from when you wrote for the papers down here. I see that you've moved on to full-time writing -- do you miss the journalism beat?
Michael Connelly: I actually miss my days at the Fort Lauderdale News, because it was a very fun time, and I was new to the business. But overall, I don't miss being a daily journalist. It was a good and fun job, but I think what I'm doing now is better and a lot more fun.
Mike from Winston-Salem, NC: McCaleb is a highly interesting character. How would he interact with Harry Bosch?
Michael Connelly: I think they are kindred souls. I think Bosch is a little more reckless, a little more psychologically damaged, but I think they would work well together if they were on an investigation, and someday I want to come up with an idea where that might happen.
Veronica Chin from Dayton, Ohio: So what did it feel like to win the Edgar Award? Congratulations. That is prestigious company. Where do you keep your awards?
Michael Connelly: It was a thrill to win it, especially for my first book. It was a great way to start out. I keep the actual award on a shelf in my office. Edgar sort of looks over me as I write.
Ben O. from Slam Magazine: Many mystery and crime writers love New York for its characters and setting. Why do you like to use L.A.? What is it about that place that makes it a worthy backdrop?
Michael Connelly: L.A. is many different cities and societies in one. It is also on the front edge of all things good and bad about society. My wife calls it "having front-row seats on the apocalypse." But the point is, if something is going to happen in our society, or in one of our cities, there is a good chance it is going to happen in L.A. or New York, so this makes these great places to write about.
Moderator: Thank you again for setting aside some of your time for us this evening, Mr. Connelly. We enjoyed having you as our guest. Any final thoughts or remarks before we go?
Michael Connelly: I am just happy that there is this kind of interest in the discussion of books. Generally in the media, the discussion of books is sort of usurped by more popular kinds of media, like movies and music, so it is neat that on the Internet there is this niche for book discussion. Goodnight to all. Thanks.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
There are two things that I feel about Michael Connelly (1) he's my favorite mystery writer and (2) it's impossible for me to pick a favorite of his (I have been reading his books in chronological order and I just finished Blood Work, obviously). However, it's safe to say that Blood Work, so far, is my least favorite of Connelly's novels. Not that it was bad, because on a suspense and mystery level, my interests were always piqued. However, I found the character of McCaleb to be too much like Harry Bosch, even though Bosch is more developed because there are so much more books about him. Despite this one problem that I have about the book, I would recommend this book to all of those who love Connelly and mystery itself.
If you've seen the Clint Eastwood movie, the book is different. Early on it reads so similar to the movie (in fact often line for line), but it goes off in another direction with a different ending. I loved both the book and the movie. If you like Connelly, don't pass this one by.
Loved this book. Caught my attention from page one and hated to see it end. I found myself actually wanting to know the characters. If you like mystery, you should definitely read this.
It was fun and worth the money and time, but I kept remembering the movie and expected the book to end the same way.
Love all of Michael Connelly - This book was no exception
Read this after having read some of the Harry Bosch novels. Connelly has the ability to create different heroes with distinct personalities and maintain that distinction as he weaves them in and out of successive stories. The intersection of the characters' lives in various books adds interest and credibility to the series. Enjoyed this and am looking forward to more. So far, have never been disappointed with any of Connelly's books. I'd also recommend the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child.
You're cautious about jumping on any new book, but when you open a Michael Connelly story, you hold on tight, take a deep breath, and forget to exhale until the ride is finished! I only have his first two books to find and read, I'm already rereading most of the others while I wait for the local library to get to me on a very long wait list for the 9th Dragon! If I had a job I would buy every one of his books and keep as prized possessions. In a personal life that is sometimes sadly overwhelming, his books keep me going, and going. BLOODWORK is gripping!
Saw the movie first and then read the book. Movie wasn't close to the book's full intent. Must have made the author a bit gun shy of allowing another of his works hit the big screen, although they did a much better job with The Lincoln Lawyer than I would have expected. Please Michael, protect Heironymus for all you are worth!!
I can't believe how much I enjoyed this book. I was riveted to it from start to finish. I finished it in only two sittings because I couldn't stop turning the pages. You are constantly trying to guess whodunit, but when you reach the end...I won't spoil anything for you, but let me tell you this one-word, UNBELIEVABLE! This book is one heck of a ride.
Michael Connelly delivers a riveting story of vengeance in BLOOD WORK. Connelly successfully puts the reader into the mind of the main protagonist, ex-FBI agent and profiler Terrell McCaleb, as McCaleb goes methodically through his investigative paces to uncover clues to solve three brutal cold-blooded murders by a souless, evil killer. Though slowed by his recent heart transplant surgery, McCaleb turns relentless in his quest to hunt down a murderer that he considers the embodiment of evil. McCaleb understandably re-enters crimefighting with some initial trepidations, despite his connection to one of the victims, but caution gives way to accelerating action when he discovers that he also has a macabre link to the villian. If you found vicarious satisfaction in John "Lilly" Lelankevitch's merciless crime-fighting spree in the novel, EVIL, BE GONE, then you'll also get caught up in Connelly's BLOOD WORK!---Robert John Estko, the author of EVIL, BE GONE
Connelly's books are genuinely good. As with all of his books (and some other authors) the first half is establishing the character. The second half is taut and captivating. This one followed the same suit. It took me several weeks to go through the first half. It is not as quick as patterson or cornwell. But it gradually built steam until it reached a crescendo. The ending was very good. Did not see it coming, at least the "first" ending. The conclusion was a bit predictable. Loved the premise of the flawed protagonist. A former FBI agent who had his heart replacement surgery via a donated from a woman who was tragically killed in a store hold up. He is guilted by the victim's sister in to looking in to her murder. After just having his surgery months before he is guilted in to accepting. Along the way we find the typical characters: the arrogant and uncooperative police, The bulldozing FBI., The sympathetic insider, the potential love interest and the side kick for comic relief. So far read three of his introductions for his characters, Terry McCaleb the FBI agent, Harry Bosch, the cop and Mickey Haller the defense attorney (who gets a nod in this book). I liked the Mickey Haller initial outing better. But I like this author enough to continue. His books that introduce his characters can be long winded but it allows for character development. So as they grow we see the growth and see them maturing fleshing them out. His characters are a bit grittier than Patterson's. They do not read as quickly as Patterson's. But they are just as enjoyable. Looking forward to the second books for each character. -JReed2430
I really liked this thriller (wasnt scarey} just kept ya guessing and my husband told me this was made into a movie and Clint Eastwood was Terry McCaleb (in which I havent seen the movie) but it so fits a Clint Eastwood charactor. I cant wait to read the next one in this series.and see the movie.
I loved 'Blood Work' - my first introduction to Terry McCaleb after spending the last year or so following the adventures of Connelly's other main man, Harry Borsch. But I need to warn anyone thinking of seeing the movie version. The liberties that Clint Eastwood took with this great story were totally inexcusable and downright painful to watch. On second thought, since misery does love company, go see it!!! You will not believe which of Connelly's characters the screenwriter decided to make the killer - I'm still annoyed thinking about it.
By the same author as the popular Harry Bosch series, this book introduces retired FBI agent Terry McCaleb. Terry had taken early retirement due to health reasons, but is now recovering from a heart transplant and looking forward to a newly lengthened life span. When Terry is approached by a young woman who saw an article about him in the newspaper and who is asking him to investigate the death of her sister, he refuses. His health is still too delicate. But when she informs him that his new heart came from her sister, he is unable to ignore the challenge. Gloria Torres was killed in an apparently random convenience store hold-up, that also took the life of the store's owner. The police have been unsuccessful in locating the killer. As Terry begins digging into the case, he discovers that there are ties between this case and another. That case, in turn, leads him to more clues which eventually (of course) lead him to the culprit. As with the Harry Bosch books, I thought this one was very good. Terry is probably a little too astute, or lucky, when discovering clues and leads that other investigators have missed, but that is forgivable. I am enjoying Conelly's books, and I understand that the next one A Darkness more than Night will feature both Harry Bosch and Terry McCaleb. There was also a mention of Mickey Haller, an attorney who also becomes a central character in Connelly's books later in the series. (It was the first Mickey Haller book, Lincoln Lawyer which made me notice Michael Connelly in the first place.) We'll need a road map soon.
Solid book. Just finished it up. Starting to get a feel for Connelly's tight plots.The characters were pretty good, although I found it slightly difficult to get into the book, as I didn't identify much with the main character, but the plot was interesting enough.One thing I appreciate in his books is that he leaves enough inconsequential details in there to throw off a clear guess as to what's really going on. There is misdirection that leads the more experienced mystery readers to make guesses that implicate other characters, or that might take the plot in other directions...there's a depth to the plots that are absent some other, less complicated mystery writers and I appreciate that.All in all, I appreciated the book, and how well it was written, the plot, the characters, and the interesting aspects of the story, but I didn't connect with the story in such a way that would cause it to be a better than 4 star book, but make no mistake, it was quality from start to finish.
I really enjoyed this page turner. Terry McCaleb, retired FBI, is recovering from heart transplant surgery when a woman comes to him asking him to look into the death of her sister who died in a robbery because she was in the wrong place. He tells her that wasn't the kind of work he did but she says you owe her because you got my sister's heart.
Ok, so I am starting to read A Darkness More Than Night and realize that Blood Work is no longer a stand alone and now I need to read it first. If you're going to read all of Connelly's series I suggest you do read it first, but if you're not interested in the Harry Bosch series you can read this one whenever. Also, in the first pages there is a mention of the Poet case and of course I then had to stop right there and read Connelly's The Poet before I went any further with this book. Trust me--you don't have to because that is the only mention, so save that series for another time :) Connelly chose a very interesting subject to deal with while introducing Terry McCaleb to us. I won't give it away, but this was one well written and interesting thriller. A bit of Michael Palmer and Robin Cook thrown in with the Connelly we all like. This has some great dective work in it.
My first mystery book in high school. It puts you on the edge of your seat when you are reading. I didn't want to let go of the book. Once I finished a chapter I wanted to keep going. That's how good it is. Makes you want to know what will happen espacially when things turns upside down in the plot.
The first novel I read by Michael Connelly and was completely hooked by the depth of charactisation and local colour in the novel. An unusal topic where a heart transplant police officer traces the source of his donated organ, with unexpected results. Made into a film starring Clint Eastwood apparently.
BLOOD WORK is not a boring book, but it lacks a convincing characterization and some situations are predictable. You have a man approached by a women for help. This man, an ex-FBI agent Terrell McCaleb has serious health problems (having a transplanted heart). So, in real life he is not likely to be a candidate to lead a murder investigation. However, the story is different...Next, why this woman (Graciella) has to be young and beautiful....Why not old and average looking ? Why should this private detective get emotionally involved with Graciella ? If so, is it likely that Graciella would fall in love with this man in real life considering his poor health? And Graciella, she appears to me as stiff as a a wooden figure - no life, no real emotions, doubts or weaknesses on her part... In short, she is just a decoration, a necessary character which helps move the plot along, but without real blood and flesh. The same could be said for all supporting characters...As soon as the book is over, they are all forgotten. In short, this is a decent crime (mystery) novel, but this is not exceptional literature which makes you wonder, cry, think and ask for more.
Blood Work is a gripping and oftentimes heart wrenching story of a man, Terry Macaleb, who has lost the anchor he needs to give meaning to his life. Though h slow starting, the novel is a compelling mystery with all the twists and turns that are Mcconnelly 's signature. While Terry Macaleb searches to fit the pieces of the case together, he uncovers personal issues that require a different skill set to unravel. How he does this is the "heart" of the novel.
Pulls You in as Story Gets More Complicated While I still have a long way to go to get caught up on Michael Connelly’s books, I’ve already learned to buckle up when I start one because you can never predict where the story will go based on how it starts. There is no better example of that than Blood Work, a mostly standalone novel from the late 1990’s. This book introduces us to Terry McCaleb, a former FBI agent who was forced to retire early due to heart problems. Against all odds thanks to a rare blood type, he gets the heart transplant he needs. The book opens two months after the procedure. Things are looking good that his body will accept this heart. Of course, it helps that he is taking it easy – spending his days fixing up the boat he inherited from his father. Things change one day when he returns from his morning walk to find Graciela Rivers waiting for him. She is there asking Terry to solve her sister’s murder. Gloria was killed in a convenience store robbery. Terry tries to explain that he isn’t interested until Graciela pulls him in with one final revelation – his new heart was Gloria’s heart. Naturally, the police aren’t that interested in talking to an outsider, much less a former FBI agent. Still, Terry manages to get enough information to start his own investigation. Is there more to Gloria’s death than there first appears? Can Terry figure out what happened? Obviously, since this is a Michael Connelly book, there is much more to the case than it first appears. If I told you where the book wound up (don’t worry, I’m not spoiling anything), you’d probably never believe me. Yet each piece of the puzzle leads logically into the next one. In fact, my mind was blown a couple of times by where the book went and how it was set up. The plotting is wonderful, and the pacing is superb. The book held my attention the entire way through. All of the characters in this book are brand new, but they are all strong. By the time the book is over, I felt like we’d gotten to know them very well. A couple of the supporting players come across as cliché, but I’m sure that’s a factor of how much page time they get, and if they’d gotten more, they would have been more fully fleshed out. As I mentioned earlier, this book is pretty much still a standalone. However, it still fits into the overall work that Michael Connelly is creating. Since Terry is a former FBI agent, there is reference to The Poet, which involved that agency. While he has yet to appear anywhere on page, we get another reference to Mickey Haller. Terry McCaleb himself would pop up as a supporting characters in a Harry Bosch novel that would come out a few years later. I can’t wait to get to that one for an update. (At least I hope it’s a good update.) I listened to the audio book while traveling over Memorial Day. I was actually a bit disappointed when I saw that Dick Hill was the narrator since I find he can be annoying at times. However, this time he behaved himself outside of one or two overly acted lines. For the rest of the book, he did a fantastic job bringing the characters to life. It really is easy to see why Michael Connelly has the reputation and fan base he does. If you have missed Blood Work, fix that today. This is an outstanding mystery that will keep you turning pages.