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51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Michael Connelly at his Best
Terry McCaleb, ex-FBI profiler and serial killer point man in Los Angeles, is spending his days recuperating after a heart transplant by restoring the boat he lives on. Life consists of long daily walks, checking vital signs and taking anti-rejection medications. That is, until he looks up one day to see Graciela Rivers coming aboard with a request. She's read about...
Published on February 8, 2001 by Roz Levine

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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not my favorite Connelly book
I started reading Michael Connelly about 3 months ago and have made my way chronologically through his books to Blood Work. This is my least favorite book of the 7 Connelly books I've read so far. He introduces a new main character, Terry McCaleb, who is a former FBI agent that specialized in serial killings. McCaleb is on permanent hiatus due to a recent heart...
Published on December 26, 2009 by T. Anderson


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51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Michael Connelly at his Best, February 8, 2001
This review is from: Blood Work (Mass Market Paperback)
Terry McCaleb, ex-FBI profiler and serial killer point man in Los Angeles, is spending his days recuperating after a heart transplant by restoring the boat he lives on. Life consists of long daily walks, checking vital signs and taking anti-rejection medications. That is, until he looks up one day to see Graciela Rivers coming aboard with a request. She's read about his career and new heart in the paper and wants him to privately take on the murder case of her sister, Glory, who was shot in the head and killed during a convenience store robbery. At first, McCaleb says no, he's not in the business anymore, doesn't need the stress and has to take care of himself. But when she reveals that his new heart belonged to Glory, she was an organ donor, he rethinks his answer and decides to look into the case. As he starts to look at the LAPD paperwork and crime scene tape, one thing becomes very clear, things are not as they seem. The detectives working the case, missed some important clues and it appears that Glory wasn't just at the wrong place at the wrong time, but the actual target. And as McCaleb digs deeper, he knows his new heart will never rest easy, unless he solves the crime and finds the killer..... Michael Connelly has done it again. He's written a great mystery/thriller with enough twists, turns and false starts to keep you turning pages to the very end. This is a book that has it all...a great, fast paced, suspenseful plot, well drawn, original characters and riveting scenes that come alive on the page. This is a novel you'll definitely want to read in one sitting. So turn off the phone and lock the door, Blood Work is about to keep you up all night!
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It doesn't get much better..., July 18, 2006
This review is from: Blood Work (Mass Market Paperback)
I have enjoyed all the Michael Connelly books I've read lately, and Blood Work is even better than I have come to expect. While this isn't part of Connelly's Harry Bosch series, the protagonist, Terry McCaleb, has appeared in other books (including a Bosch).

Terry McCaleb is a retired FBI agent whose specialty was criminal profiling. His retirement was brought on when his heart was attacked by a virus, and he eventually had a heart transplant two years later. McCaleb is a mere two months past surgery and still recovering when a beautiful woman shows up on his boat. Graciela Rivers is seeking his help. Her sister was brutally murdered in a convenience store robbery. The LAPD are not much interested and think it was a random shooting. He begs off, saying that he can't physically perform an investigation. He can't even drive for another seven months. But then Graciela plays her trump card: McCaleb received her sister's heart. McCaleb reluctantly decides to look into the case, and finds himself pitted against the LAPD and the FBI. McCaleb also discovers that this isn't a random shooting and that the killer is in fact a serial killer.

In solving the crime, McCaleb also learns a lot about himself. He discovers that he misses the chase and the work. He's still got it despite his physical limitations. This case also helps to heal more than his heart.

Connelly is so convincing because he writes like a cop (thanks to his years as a crime reporter). Suspects are "in the wind" (they have disappeared without a trace). Or McCaleb does the "hard tango" with other officers to get information (when they aren't willing to share). Last summer I was on a James Lee Burke kick (Dave Robicheaux) and Connelly is also a fan. It was fun to find McCaleb wearing a Robicheaux Dock and Baitshop t-shirt in one chapter.

For any Connelly fan or even a lover of mysteries, it doesn't get much better than Blood Work.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging, April 6, 2001
By 
Eimear Coffey (Dublin, Ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Blood Work (Mass Market Paperback)
This was the first Michael Connolly book I read, and because of it I have since bought five others. The plot is engaging from the very start. Ex-FBI agent Terry McCaleb, whose speciality was profiling serial killers, has retired from the Bureau after a heart transplant and is living on his boat in LA harbour. Having turned his back on fighting crime, he has no intentions of helping Graciela Rivers, a woman whose sister has been murdered, until he finds out that the transplanted heart that saved his life belonged to her. With this knowledge, he feels obliged to investigate Gloria's death, against the express wishes of his doctor and knowing it could have serious consequences for his health.
All McCaleb has to go on is a video tape from a convenience store showing a masked man hold up the owner and then shoot the two witnesses. Add to this the hostility he receives from the two LAPD detectives assigned the case, and it seems like McCaleb isn't going to get far. However, it soon becomes clear that the crime is not as random as it seems, and McCaleb is on the trail of someone a lot more sinister than an opportunistic thief.
Connolly writes "Blood Work" with an unrelenting pace and a real flair for knowing exactly how to string the reader along. You'll be as hooked as one of the fish in the harbour!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Among the very best, September 29, 2005
By 
Timothy Blankenhorn (Villanova, PA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Blood Work (Mass Market Paperback)
I don't write these reviews often, but this book impressed me so much that I had to put in a few good words for it.

I have read several of Connelly's Harry Bosch novels and had enjoyed them very much, but this one stands out from the rest.

Why? First of all, Terry McCaleb is the hero of this. An ex-FBI serial killer specialist, he has a newly transplanted heart in him as the book opens. He isn't the classic pulp hero, and it makes life interesting.

Second, and I won't ruin the plot by saying anything, this is extremely intelligent, a creation of lots of good reporting and crafting of a great plot. Connelly, a former LA Times reporter, shows his background when he weavees together a plot that is fascinating, believable, and full of surprises. This is among the best constructed mysteries I've ever read.

So do yourself a favor and spend the few bucks -- or few cents -- it takes to purchase this book. You'll be intrigued and amazed by it.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not my favorite Connelly book, December 26, 2009
This review is from: Blood Work (Paperback)
I started reading Michael Connelly about 3 months ago and have made my way chronologically through his books to Blood Work. This is my least favorite book of the 7 Connelly books I've read so far. He introduces a new main character, Terry McCaleb, who is a former FBI agent that specialized in serial killings. McCaleb is on permanent hiatus due to a recent heart transplant. The sister of his heart donor discovers his identity (and prior profession) and asks for his help in solving her sister's murder. McCaleb takes on the challenge much to his doctor's displeasure.

Blood Works starts out a little slow and then picks up nicely about midway at which point I had trouble putting it down. It only rates 3 stars with me because Connelly never really made McCaleb feel like a real person...not the way he does with Harry Bosch (the main character in the majority of his books). Also, the romantic angle was a little too unbelievable. And, although the plot had its share of twists and turns, things worked out just a little too easily. Plus, there were some loose ends left behind...not typical of Connelly.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CHILLINGLY PLOTTED BY A CRACKERJACK AUTHOR, March 7, 2001
This review is from: Blood Work (Mass Market Paperback)
Michael Collins is a crackerjack author who conjures up chilling plots. A former Los Angeles Times police reporter and Pulitzer Prize finalist he knows of what he writes, as is evidence in his six previous novels featuring rebellious LAPD detective Harry Bosch. Now, in Blood Work, his latest get-a-grip-on-your-armchair thriller Mr. Connelly introduces us to Terry McCaleb, a tough, vengeance driven FBI agent whose stress induced heart condition forces him into early retirement.
While still active McCaleb captained investigations of serial murders in the Los Angeles area, he "carried with him a bottomless reservoir of rage for the men he hunted....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.'"
But after being sidelined by a heart transplant, this seems to be all in his past. He spends his days recuperating, living quietly on a fishing boat in Los Angeles harbor, hoping some day to return to his hometown on Catalina Island.
His hitherto unknown placid existence is interrupted by an unexpected visit from Graciela Rivers, an attractive nurse who informs him that her sister has been wantonly murdered and he is the recipient of the slain woman's heart. Graciela asks McCaleb to help solve the case.
Again believing that debts must be paid, McCaleb ignores doctor's orders and his own better judgment to track someone he initially concludes is a random killer. Far from being a random shooter, the murderer is a crafty psychopath. McCaleb first connects the woman's murder to another slaying, and then follows a danger strewn path to an astounding conclusion that pits him against the ultimate atrocity: "He now knew that the evil of these two killings came together in the form of a person who killed not for money, not out of fear and not for revenge against his victims. This evil went far beyond that. This person killed for pleasure and to fulfill a fantasy that burned like a virus inside his brain."
Mr. Connelly is not only a careful, clever plot master, he is also a classy writer, lifting the thriller genre to new levels. No stretches of the imagination here - everything falls neatly into place as the pace accelerates, finally rushing to explode in a shocking finish. While Mr. Connelly already has a healthy coterie of devoted fans, he's bound to win more with this masterful tale of suspense, a story so real that it brings heinous crime shiveringly close to home.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, excellent read!, March 7, 2001
This review is from: Blood Work (Mass Market Paperback)
Blood work by Michael Connelly Little Brown 1998
Retired FBI profiler Terry McCaleb has just received a heart transplant and is slowly recovering when Graciela Rivers steps onto his boat and asks him to find her sister's murderer. Only when Terry discovers that Graciela's sister is Gloria Torres, the donor of his new heart, does he find himself inexorably drawn in to the search for Gloria's murderer. The investigation is at a standstill until Terry ties Gloria's murder to another local murder and through meticulous searching to a third murder committed with the same gun. Puzzled by the coincidences in these three cases McCaleb again goes over the police reports and videos again and again until he stumbles on the thread that ties all three murders together and also staggeringly, to him.
Meanwhile Terry finds himself drawn to Graciela and her dead sister's son, 6 year-old Raymond and feels himself opening up to feelings that he have been dormant for many years. When Graciela and Raymond are kidnaped and held hostage Terry's search leads him to abandon all reasonable care for himself and his new heart and finally track down this cold blooded murder.
This is and amazingly well written book chock full of information on heart transplant care and the psychological abyss facing the transplant recipient. Terry McCaleb is a very sympathetic protagonist and the characters of Graciela and Jaye Winston, his policewoman accomplice are well drawn with a good sense of reality. This is the first mystery I have read in quite a while that leaves me with a sense of satisfaction and enjoyment. I recommend it to all mystery fans.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favorite Novel of 2001, December 19, 2001
This review is from: Blood Work (Mass Market Paperback)
Terry McCaleb is a retired FBI Agent. His departure from the Bureau was forced. He needed a heart transplant. Having given up any hope of being saved because of his rare blood type, he has resigned himself to dying. Then, at the last moment, a heart became available. All of this happens before "Blood Work" begins.
Having become a minor celebrity due to a pair of newspaper articles, Terry has turned down several requests by people to solve crimes on their behalf. Then Graciella Rivers tells him he has to solve the murder of her sister, Gloria. When he asks why, she tells him that he has Gloria's heart.
"Blood Work" provides a fascinating study into how a professional works a murder case. Picking up where the police left off, and incurring their wrath in the process, Terry develops new leads, makes use of old evidence, and soon is on the trail of Gloria's killer. However, in a strange plot twist, Terry realizes that someone killed Gloria for one of her organs, making him a prime suspect.
At this point, the plot could have turned in on itself and lost its way. Other writers would have left us with a very smart Terry up against a very stupid everyone else. However, Connelly provides plot twist after plot twist until the surprise revelation of the killer's identity. Even then, he's not finished with the story or Terry's search for justice.
As a former resident of Los Angeles, I enjoyed reliving visits to various places around that city. As a reader of fiction, I appreciated a well-written, intelligent thriller.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulously plotted until the very end, May 21, 2001
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This review is from: Blood Work (Mass Market Paperback)
NO ONE crafts hard-boiled crime novels as masterfully as Michael Connelly. Considering the hundreds of mystery writers out there toiling at this very moment over their word processors, that's quite an extravagant statement--but it's true all the same. He has mastered the art of weaving mysteries that are superbly complex and which keep readers on the edge of their seats. A seemingly unimportant utterance or action early in the novel can later on become magnified into an all-important clue as more is revealed about the crimes and the their perpetrator. Connelly's ability to lead his readers in one direction only to have a sudden revelation change the entire complexion of the story is nothing short of breathtaking at times.
*Blood Work* is a particularly fine mystery in terms of these kinds of "twists and turns." It's also refreshing to see Connelly take a vacation from the Harry Bosch series through his creation of a new protagonist, retired FBI man Terrell McCaleb. Interestingly, McCaleb AND Harry Bosch are featured in a subsequent Connelly novel, *A Darkness More Than Night*.
Is the book perfect? It's close, but no. The ending is somewhat Hollywood theatrical, almost as though Connelly grew tired of brainstorming further subtleties and unexpected revelations. Also, although Connelly is very attentive to empirical details in his descriptions of places and institutions, he slips up in chapter ten when he describes a character's employment as an engineer in charge of inspecting an aqueduct with a "Lone Pine segment." He writes, "He was an engineer with a private firm contracted by the state..." The Los Angeles Aqueduct is, of course, operated and maintained by the City of Los Angeles' Department of Water and Power. This is a trivial error, of course, but those who know California water resources cannot help but raise their eyebrows upon reading this passage.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BLOOD WORK, March 27, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Blood Work (Hardcover)
REALLY enjoyed this book after seeing it as a runner-up for the 1999 Edgar award.... It had suspense, a great read on psychological profiling, enough clues to keep me ALMOST up to the hero. But then comes the little twists and turns that can make a good book into a much better read. The author reminded me quite a bit of Richard Thomas (Silence of the lambs(, without as much gore. Can hardly wait to buy more of Michael Connely to see if this was a one time thing.
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Blood Work
Blood Work by Michael Connelly (Mass Market Paperback - October 1, 1998)
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