Mystery/Thriller Book ReviewsThe Internet Writing Journal, October 1999
Page Two of Four
Bloodstream by Tess GerritsenPocket Books, August 1999.
Paperback, 464 pages.
In the small town of Tranquility, Maine, a new doctor, Claire Elliot, and her son, Noah, have just moved in. Dr. Claire Elliot finds it difficult to get patients as the small town folks are hard on new faces and slow to accept her. Likewise, Noah has trouble fitting as the local high school. However, before Claire and Noah can even begin to get settled, a strange outbreak of violent behavior occurs in the town's youth. Noah's biology teacher is shot during class by a fellow student and boys and girls alike begin to fight frequently both during and after school. Claire, who wants desperately to find out what's going on, despite some reluctance by townspeople, begins to hear whispers about some unspeakable violence in the town many years ago that may be related. However, no one wants to talk about it because any talk of an outbreak of violence in Tranquility that hit the local papers could ruin the upcoming tourist season. And soon Claire has her own son's recent violence streak to worry about. Has Noah been affected by the mysterious violent affliction too, or is it just teen angst? She must find out what's happening in the town and causing the kids to become violent before it is too late for the town and her own son.
Bloodstream is an exciting thriller with a theme consistent with current news headlines -- teenage shootings and child killers. Both the characterizations and the science in the book are excellent, and readers will find themselves quickly turning the pages to see how Dr. Claire Elliot finds a solution to the mysterious outbreak and vindicates herself from the position of being the new "outsider" doctor in the small town. Tess Gerritsen's latest novel is fast-paced, frightening and will please readers of both horror and thriller novels.
Blue Lonesome by Bill PronziniWalker & Co., 1999.
Paperback, 207 pages.
Bill Messenger is totally bored with his life. A lonely CPA with a boring job, he notices a woman who eats dinner every night in the same café he does. He approaches her one evening, but she rebuffs him with the odd words, "it won't do you any good." When the woman fails to show one night, Messenger does a little detective work to find out where she lives. It turns out that the woman, Janet Mitchell, has slit her wrists. In the grip of a fierce obsession, Messenger resolves to find out more about this mysterious woman, with a false name (Janet Mitchell is not her real name) that nobody seems to know. Armed with only an overdue library book he found in her apartment, Messenger sets out on a journey to Beulah, Nevada to find out who the woman was. His journey will have unexpected results, both for the dead woman's family and for himself.
Bill Pronzini knows lonesome, and his stunning psychological portrait of a desperately lonely man looking for some answers is truly gripping. The little town of Beulah, Nevada rivals Peyton Place for buried secrets and passions, and Messenger stirs up a world of trouble when he shows up looking for Janet Mitchell's (really, Ann Burgess Roebuck's) family. A tidy little mystery surrounded by a first-rate character portrait, Blue Lonesome is an excellent piece of fiction.
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