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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another fine book.
I have read all of Connolly's books up to his latest release "City of Bones" and I can say that "Blood Work" is yet another fine piece of work. In this book we meet a new character, Terry Mccaleb. A retired FBI profiler who, after suffering a heart attack, seeks to hunt down the one person who saved his life! The book is typically Connelly: A steady pace through-out...
Published on 16 May 2002

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's a twister!
The twists and turns in the plot keep the reader on their toes (if not edge of their seat). Most of the enjoyment of reading this novel was attempting to guess what his next 'clue' would lead to - and a psycic couldn't fortell the conclusion of this detective story. A little far-fetched in places it is nonetheless fun to read.
Published on 16 May 2000


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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another fine book., 16 May 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: BLOOD WORK (Paperback)
I have read all of Connolly's books up to his latest release "City of Bones" and I can say that "Blood Work" is yet another fine piece of work. In this book we meet a new character, Terry Mccaleb. A retired FBI profiler who, after suffering a heart attack, seeks to hunt down the one person who saved his life! The book is typically Connelly: A steady pace through-out the novel with twists and turns until the final chapters where it erupts into fast paced action! I recommend to anyone that enjoys Crime fiction to read the entire works of Michael Connolly. Just as a tip, start reading the novels in the order that they were published; you will learn more about the characters and get the chance to follow them as they develop through his works.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The complete mystery thriller, 31 Dec. 2007
By 
O E J - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Blood Work (Paperback)
BLOOD WORK features retired FBI agent Terry McCaleb, and it's a mystery thriller about a serial killer whose latest victim was the organ donor responsible for McCaleb's recent heart transplant. When the victim's attractive sister Graciela delivers this strange news to him and asks for his help, he has no choice but to answer her call, very much against his cardiologist's wishes. While LAPD officers try to keep McCaleb away because his top-notch profiling skills make their efforts seem careless and amateurish, and McCaleb's physical strength and stamina are limited more than ever before, it seems as if the case is destined to go unsolved. But McCaleb's conscience weighs too heavily upon him to let the murderer go free, and the only way to clear his mind and find peace is to throw his full energy into the investigation. McCaleb lives on a boat and is well-acquainted with a lazy, drunken young man called Buddy who lives on another boat in a nearby berth, so he enlists Buddy as his driver and assistant. What ensues is an excellent police drama that leads McCaleb through an extensive process of analysing evidence, questioning people related to the crimes, and breaking codes, and results in a chilling and totally unexpected climax.

This is a novel that is meticulous in its detail and will challenge the most ardent enthusiast of the genre to spot the errors McCaleb makes in his investigation. When you find out, you'll go "Of course - how could I have missed that!" but I doubt that you'll notice the oversights before McCaleb does. It's long drawn out but the journey is worth it; for once we have a thriller with a fitting and satisfying ending, and that doesn't happen with every piece of crime fiction writing, does it? In fact, this novel includes a most unexpected twist near the end and not only does it make for a more credible explanation for the murders than all of the others I had been weighing up, but it made me realise that I should have been paying more attention to McCaleb's history and the work he had been involved in long before this story started. There are brief mentions of characters in other Connelly novels (such as The Poet and Mickey Haller) but this is a standalone novel of high quality and if you're new to this particular writer then you are in luck: he writes like this pretty much all the time and with his 20th novel due in 2008 you have a veritable Aladdin's cave in store if you make the wise investment of buying his entire portfolio. He's right up there with the best.

By the way, this book was converted to the big screen in 2002 and starred Clint Eastwood in the leading role - he directed it too. The title is unchanged.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's a twister!, 16 May 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Blood Work (Paperback)
The twists and turns in the plot keep the reader on their toes (if not edge of their seat). Most of the enjoyment of reading this novel was attempting to guess what his next 'clue' would lead to - and a psycic couldn't fortell the conclusion of this detective story. A little far-fetched in places it is nonetheless fun to read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No bad blood here, 30 Nov. 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Blood Work (Paperback)
Great stuff. Connelly manages to create a plot that frequently has you wondering where exactly it is going, but enjoying it none the less. He then begins to feed you snippets of information that start to build a picture, before introducing a cracking twist and wrapping it all up nicely. I don't read crime thrillers very much, but I'll read more of Michael Connelly's.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Connelly does it again..............., 20 Mar. 2011
By 
Saturnicus "Saturnicus" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Blood Work (Paperback)
Over the last year or two, Michael Connelly has become my favourits crime writer. I have read most of his books, unfortunately not in any specific order, but it has made no difference. In Blood Work, we meet ex FBI Agent, Terry McCaleb. He has had a heart transplant. His new heart came from a murder victim and he feels somehow obliged to look into the case after being approached by her sister.
It is a super story and never lets up for a moment. Fast moving with lots of interesting characters, it is a must for all of Mr Connelly's fans and I am sure there must be plenty of them around.
I must admit that I was tense all the way through in case McCaleb over did it and keeled over!
A great read........
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Standard Connelly Fare. Entertaining and Suitably complex, 17 Jan. 2007
By 
Matthew Thorbes "Pads" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Blood Work (Paperback)
An interesting premise that gives way to a fairly standard Connelly outing featuring Terry McCaleb (of The Poet, A Darkness More Than Night and - sort of - The Narrows fame) and his intriguing investigation into the death of the donor of his transplanted heart.

This premise and the seemingly random nature of the killing seems to be taking you down a road less travelled by Mr Connelly, but soon the familiar snaking plots, interconnected characters and thrilling twists sneak in and drag you back into what you expect from one of the genres foremost talents.

Having read all of the later books featuring McCaleb, (as well as his earlier appearance in The Poet) I found this book supremely entertaining as it gives a real insight into why he acts the way he does in later books. Those who see him as a weak hero beside the likes of Harry Bosch should bear in mind, the guy has just undergone major heart surgery, we can surely forgive him for feeling a little ropey?

With a lot more exposure for the excellent Buddy Lockridge - McCaleb's beach bum neighbour - this book also has traces of humour amid its dark subject (Long time Connelly fan's might also spot the nod to Mickey Haller, the Lincoln Lawyer), and all in all its a thoroughly enjoyable read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best of Connelly's non- Bosch stories, 17 Jun. 2008
By 
Fergal Woods "Axe Victim" (Leitrim, Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Blood Work (Paperback)
I'm new to reviewing books but don't think reviewers should give away the entire plot as many appear to do. This story has a hugely original plot which isn't revealed until the investigator starts closing in, after a painstaking building of the case from an apparently random homicide and robbery.
Connelly's pacing is superb so there is always momentum, but without the dramatic and cliched set-pieces so many writers employ.The hero is Terry McCaleb who had to retire as an FBI profiler after a heart op.He's hired to find the killer of the woman who's heart he received.Fighting against the odds(and the unhelpful local cops) McCaleb slowly links 2 other similar cases and tries to work out a motive from their commonalities.The tables are turned when he becomes number 1 suspect and then it's a race to clear himself by finding the killer.
A totally engrossing read even better than "The Poet", and much more entertaining than the movie it spawned !
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4.0 out of 5 stars Take Heart, 14 Jan. 2014
By 
John M. Ford "johnDC" (near DC, MD USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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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5.0 out of 5 stars You Must Pay Attention to the Following Sea, 26 Jan. 2011
By 
Stephanie De Pue (Wilmington, NC USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Blood Work (Paperback)
"Blood Work" (1998), is, I believe, the seventh novel published by the bestselling, outstanding American mystery author Michael Connelly. It is a standalone mystery, of superior quality, that follows six of his earliest and greatest, including his other riveting standalone, The Poet. Connelly is, of course, widely known for his bestselling Harry Bosch series of mystery novels. That series, Los Angeles-set police procedurals, looks at life on the "noir" side; Connelly is a former journalist, a crime beat writer for the Los Angeles Times, who certainly earned his spurs in murder while earning his daily bread.

The book at hand, which is extraordinarily cunning and well-made, is, like most of the author's work, set in Los Angeles. Terrell (Terry) McCaleb, retired FBI agent, used to call his work with the agency "blood work." It consisted of heading all investigations of serial murders in the LA area. Then a heart condition forced him into early retirement. Now, post heart transplant, he is living quietly on his boat The Following Sea, moored in the LA harbor, doing a lot of fishing and slowly trying to fix it up so that he can bring it back to his hometown on Catalina Island. (The boat was inherited from his father, who also named it.) But the former detective's calm seas turn choppy when an LA Times story brings Graciela Rivers, a beautiful nurse, to his boat, to tell him the story of her sister's unsolved recent murder. And, before you know it, McCaleb agrees to take up the case, against doctor's orders and his own better judgment.

You will find some of Connelly's most beautiful, resonant writing in this book. He explains the meaning of The Following Sea thus:

"There is something known as the following sea, or a following sea....A sea is a wave. You know how you hear on surf reports that the seas are two to four feet or whatever?...Okay, well a following sea is the one you have to watch out for. It's the one that comes up behind a vessel. You don't see it coming. It hits you from behind and swamps you. Sinks you. The rule is that if you're running in following seas, you've just got to be moving faster than they are. Stay ahead of them. He named the boat that because it was like a reminder. You know, always watch over your shoulder. It was something he always said to me when I was growing up."

Or the writer tells us his dual meaning for "blood work." Most of us know; have been forced to know, that it means various tests done on blood withdrawn from our veins. But Connelly says:

"When he [McCaleb] was an agent, he had carried with him a bottomless reservoir of rage for the men he hunted. He had seen firsthand what they had done and he wanted them to pay for the horrible manifestations of their fantasies. Blood debts had to be paid in blood. That was why in the bureau's serial killer unit the agents called what they did `blood work.'"

The book also has Connelly's usual excellent narrative and descriptive writing, and snappy dialogue, and is informed by his deep, accurate knowledge of police work. The writer explicates his love of jazz as he goes. He writes with great knowledge of, and love for, Los Angeles, his adopted home town: You could pretty much use his works instead of a road map. And it, too, clearly follows in the footsteps of earlier outstanding hardboiled Los Angeles authors Raymond Chandler and Ross Macdonald, but add the further ingredients of a police procedural.

At one point, we are told that the protagonist detective is looking for the "telling detail," in order to figure out the gnarly plot with which he is presented: Connelly has repeatedly said, in his public appearances and non-fiction work, that he considers the nosing out of the telling detail to be the most important job of the journalist and the novelist.

In the book, we again meet some of Connelly's favorite characters: some we have met before; some we will surely meet again, and some we have both met before and will meet again. The author also sneaks some of the favorite ploys he used in his earlier books into its pages. He mentions the LA-famous father and son defense lawyers, Mickey Haller, Sr. and Jr. Keisha Russell, Crime Reporter at the Los Angeles Times. The Poet, malefactor of the book that bears the same name, THE POET. Connelly calls out Clint Eastwood, who, we will know, made a movie of this book, under the same title, Blood Work [2002] [DVD]. (A good film, though I'm not crazy about some of the changes Eastwood made). And, of course, the characters in this book discuss the possibilities of making a movie of this book. And then there is FBI Agent Rachel Walling. At one point, early in this book's pages, our protagonist tells a curious cab driver that he, the detective, is no one. This phrase will come back to haunt our former FBI agent. The writer even manages to sneak in an homage to James Lee Burke: at one point, his protagonist, is wearing a "Robicheaux Dock and Bait Shop" t-shirt.

Connelly is a wonderful writer, my favorite among American mystery authors, and I've read all his books save The Scarecrow, and his most recent,The Reversal. (Like many other readers, I imagine, I generally prefer his series works to his standalones: like many other writers, his mysteries seem more powerful if they are filtered through the sensibilities of his detective protagonist.) However, his recent standalones, SCARECROW, The Brass Verdict, and The Lincoln Lawyer, have all been #1 New York Times Bestsellers. Crime Beat: A Decade of Covering Cops and Killers, his collected non-fiction journalism, was also a New York Times bestseller, as most of his previous standalones have been, too. Obviously, a lot of readers go for his work in any shape or form, and the man always rewards the reading.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Plot-Driven Murder Mystery with an Unusual Premise, 26 Aug. 2008
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 127,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Blood Work (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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