Thursday, May 13, 2021

Tess Gerritsen - Bloodstream

Lapped by the gentle waters of Locust Lake, the small resort town of Tranquility, Maine, seems like the perfect spot for Dr. Claire Elliot to shelter her adolescent son, Noah, from the distractions of the big city and the lingering memory of his father's death. But with the first snap of winter comes shocking news that puts her practice on the line: a teenage boy under her care has committed an appalling act of violence. And as Claire and all of Tranquility soon discover, it is just the start of a chain of lethal outbursts among the town's teenagers.
As the rash of disturbing behavior grows, Claire uncovers a horrifying secret: this is not the first time it has happened. Twice a century, the children of Tranquility lash out with deadly violence. Claire suspects that there is a biological cause for the epidemic, and she fears that the placid Locust Lake may conceal an insidious danger. As she races to save Tranquility—and her son—from harm, Claire discovers an even greater threat: a shocking conspiracy to manipulate nature and cause innocents to slaughter.

Comment: This is one of Tess Gerritsen's stand alone titles which I still had in the pile and I finally added it to my monthly plans.

In this book we have the story of dr Claire Elliot, who had moved with her teenage son Noah to a small town in Maine, after Noah had been in some trouble and she thought geographical distance from bad influences might help. However, the town's inhabitants are suspicious of strangers and not even having taken the place of the late doctor's practice fully made them trust Claire. Things change when suddenly, and for apparent no reason but teenage dramas, some of them start showing violent behavior and quick burst of anger. After collecting some information, Claire takes into her own hands the investigation of the cause in all this situation and how it relates to a very similar case fifty two years before, in the same small town... but will she succeed if other secrets are in the way of people knowing the truth?

The author can certainly think of ingenious plots. She also writes her novels with interesting characters, who face issues, who have a family life and all the little compromises that might involve. That means that, for me - and for the most part of her books - I'm ensnared not only by the thriller or mystery part but also by how the characters are developed, and that is a perfect mix we have here.

Claire is a great character, someone we can rely on to do the right thing but she is human and I liked how she wasn't seen as the perfect savior, she had flaws and that made it easier to identify with. I liked how focused she was in discovering the truth and the plot had some tense moments which made it difficult not to keep reading but I must say, in one way, the author picked too many things to exploit. I'm talking about the plot and the characters' plights, because although I do like these elements in the books I read, I think here there was just a little bit of too many things and then, in my opinion, some weren't dealt with enough detail as they deserved. Therefore, a great story but with some lacking of editing, perhaps, or a consistent evolution.

The plot itself is quite clever and the big mystery isn't so much what caused the violence but how of if it was intended. Let me just say that I have watched enough episodes of "monsters inside me" on TLC to be able to follow the suppositions made at some point because some things might seem too far fetched but nature has so many secrets, it's incredible. On one hand, I liked how things evolved in this regard, although the end could have been done much better, with a more solid development. On the other, I kind of wish the mystery about the teenagers' violence could be made even more weird so that the investigation could have been demanded by more people...some characters seemed too resigned to the problems...although there's an element the author used to explain this as well.

As a whole, this was a fascinating novel, I had a good time trying to see where things were going, the personal development of Claire's life, how she felt in the middle of all this and her own son's issues made for a stressful experience but of course all has some sort of reason. 

This was a good experience with a standalone by the author - I have loved the Rizzoli and Isles series but some stand alones weren't as bright - and I'll check some more of her books to see if more titles catch my eye but this one was definitely a good bet, even though there are things I feel weren't well achieved.
Grade: 8/10

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