cover image Blood World

Blood World

Chris Mooney. Berkley, $27 (448p) ISBN 978-0-593-19763-9

In this imaginative near-future crime novel from Mooney (the Darby McCormick series), some people have become carriers of an enzyme that produces “unbelievable amounts of energy.” Abductions of carriers by criminals who want to monetize their blood by selling transfusions to the affluent have become so widespread that the LAPD has formed a Blood Crimes Unit. Officer Ellie Batista wants to join the unit because her twin brother, a carrier, was kidnapped when they were six, and she hopes that access to the unit’s intel will enable her to find him. Batista gets a break when her patrol car strikes a dog wandering in the street whose tag bears bloodstains and the words “Help Us.” She and her partner trace the dog to a nearby house, where two carriers are being held captive. After the subsequent deadly encounter with the crooks holding the carriers, Batista is tapped by her commissioner to go undercover into the blood world. While Mooney’s worldbuilding is underdone, he maintains suspense throughout, and even engenders empathy for a bad guy. Those looking for an SF variant on a familiar thriller trope—the dedicated undercover cop taking on a vicious drug network—will be rewarded. Agent: Josh Getzler, HG Literary. (Aug.)