Saturday, July 10, 2010

Guest Reviewer Precious Blood...I Am So Excited

Why you might wonder?  Well, it's my handsome hubs doing the review!  I try to get books that the 2 of us will enjoy together and he's reviewing this one for me!

Precious Blood
  Jonathan Hayes
  Paperback 448 pgs

Amazon's Blurb -

New York City medical examiner Hayes provides plenty of authentic forensic atmosphere in his grisly debut. But his tale of a maniacal serial killer loose on the streets of Manhattan dwells too much on the carnage with insufficient focus on his protagonist's emotional state. Dr. Edward Jenner, an occasional private consultant who resigned from his post as a New York City forensic pathologist after the trauma of 9/11, is positive the gruesome crucifixion murder of a young college student is the handiwork of a burgeoning serial killer. When Ana de Jong, the murdered girl's roommate, appears in his loft, desperate for help, Jenner is plunged deep into a world of cruelty and death, a world he tried so desperately to leave behind. As more bodies pile up and the killer's methods become increasingly sadistic, Jenner races to identify the ancient text engraved in the victims' flesh, hoping it will lead him to the truth behind the murders. The somewhat creepy relationship that develops between Jenner and Ana distracts, while fans familiar with the conventions of the serial killer genre will find much of the action predictable. Hopefully, Hayes will combine his impressive forensics knowledge with a fresher plot and deeper characterization in his next thriller.

This is my first attempt at writing a book review.

Why then am I writing one, it's simple, because my wife will just keep asking me to till one of us is here you go....

I enjoyed this book, it was at times hard to put down.  Very likable lead character, Dr. Edward Jenner who resigned from his post as a New York City forensic pathologist after the trauma of 9/11.  He's been hired as a private consultant after the murder of a college student.  When the murdered girl's roommate appears at his home, the story takes off.  As you get deeper into the book the murders become even more gruesome and sadistic.  My issues: some of the story was a bit predictable, and while they delved into the killers past it never really explained how he developed into this ritualistic super strong psycho and why he was killing in this manner.  That aside, I do however think that Dr. Jenner was such an interesting individual that I look forward to the next book in the series.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not sure what your name is - other than "Paula's Handsome Hubs" - so please forgive my not addressing you personally...

    Thanks for your review - it seems fitting that my first book should be the subject of your first critique! I hope you won't mind if I try to explain a bit what I was trying to do.

    Getting the balance right is always a challenge, and with PRECIOUS BLOOD I found myself in a difficult situation: the book touches on our experiences after 9/11, and I still work in the NYC M.E. office, with NYPD (some of the names in the story, btw, are real cops, a nod of the head to friends), so I was acutely aware of the sensitivities and politics of my story and had to tread carefully. Earlier drafts had more focus on Jenner's emotional state, but I felt like his endless moping and self-pity slowed down the story, and I cut quite a bit of that.

    Likewise, with my villain, I had more about his background in earlier drafts, and again I felt that there was too much of his reasoning. The fact is, in none of the serial killer cases I've worked have we been able to "understand" the killer's motivation for the very bizarre, specific ways they approach killing.

    As far as the relationship between Jenner and Ana, it's quite deliberately creepy - it's an unhealthy thing born of misery and desperation. Again, a question of balance; I hope to get better when I've written more books. One embarrassing thing: the Publishers Weekly reviewer seemed to think that I thought the relationship was romantic, or something!

    The funny thing is that every review I've read has had a different opinion - more forensics, less, forensics, more violence, less violence, more Ana, less Ana etc etc.

    Anyway, thanks for your thoughts - if your wife had to bludgeon you into writing a book review, I'm glad it was for mine!

    All the best,

    Jonathan Hayes

    PS The next Jenner book, A HARD DEATH, is out in April 2011. Jenner's moved on a bit, but the body count is higher; I'm not sure yet if that's a good or bad thing...


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