Precious Blood, Jonathan Hayes

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Ah, the serial killer.  That sociopathic individual that gives Americans such a delicious thrill.  I'm not sure what it says about us as a people that we are so fascinated with sick, twisted, violent death, but given the number of books, movies, and true crime shows on the subject, we seem to have a never-ending curiosity.

I will admit to this morbid fascination in myself.  I like to think that my interest is as a result of my profound desire to understand the human mind, but I suspect there is a fair amount of of rubbernecker syndrome as well.  It's almost as though we (I) want to be shocked and horrified.  Well, if revulsion and horror is what you are looking for, then you could do worse than to pick up a copy of Jonathan Hayes book, Precious Blood.

The book centers around Dr. Edward Jenner, a former pathologist with the New York City police who had to retire after the daily horror of trying to identify 9-11 victims caused him to have a breakdown.  Now living off his savings, he agrees to take a job as an independent pathologist in the murder of the daughter of a friend-of-a-friend.  The murder scene is obviously staged, the victim nailed upside down on the wall.  Her roommate, Ana, managed to get away, but not before seeing the killer-and him seeing her.  Afraid for her safety, Jenner takes her in until his friend, Ana's uncle, could return.  It soon become apparent that this was not the first time this killer has struck, and they soon have new cases to investigate as well.  Jenner, while not having any real authority in the case, continues to investigate, his investigation gaining more urgency once he begins having feelings for Ana.

As thrillers go, this one was pretty good.  The killer's religious motivation is not exactly original, but it did have a different twist on the theme than most books.  Jenner's character is fairly well-developed, though his relationship with Ana does not really feel entirely authentic.  The final show-down is suspenseful, and the ending satisfying.  While there is nothing earth-shattering about Precious Blood, as popcorn books go it does its job admirably.

1 comment:

Penny for your thoughts...