Bloodstains

Andrew Puckett, Author Doubleday Books $12.95 (185p) ISBN 978-0-385-24620-0
Things are never what they appear to be in this meandering and lethargic debut mystery set in an English blood bank. Former police detective sergeant Tom Jones, now an investigator for a government agency, recoils in panic when asked to look into the murder of a staff member and the theft of blood at the Tamar Blood Tranfusion Centre. Tom's panic is real: he faints at the sight of blood. Hiding his phobia, he poses as a computer expert and begins to study the personnel and their activities. Dr. Falkenham, the arrogant and willful director, is detested by virtually everybody. Dr. Chalgrove, his assistant, lusts after power. The other scientists and technicians bicker endlessly, propelled by old rivalries and hostilities. In short order Tom is given anonymous tips, lured to obscure locations, bludgeoned from behind, hurled from a roof and locked in a freezer. He perseveres, and follows leads based on his own intuitions, inspired and aided by senior staff member Holly Jordan. A subplot about Tom's hemophiliac brother (source of his fear of blood) who now has AIDS is poorly woven into the mystery, and the muddled plot is needlessly complicated by numerous red herrings. The book is fatally weakened by a large cast of busy, faceless characters. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
Paperback - 317 pages - 978-1-85389-410-7
Paperback - 252 pages - 978-1-84583-898-0
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