Harper, Nov 2007, $24.95
Following the 9/11 tragedy, Manhattan forensic pathologist Dr. Edward Jenner retires from the medical examiner’s office unable to cope after having witnessed for weeks afterward the results of the calamity. Edward conducts occasional consulting work.
The uncle of East Village resident Ana de Jong pleads with his close friend Edward to help her for she fears for her life. As she explains to him someone brutally murdered her roommate Andrea nailing the Hutchins College law student to a crucifix. Reluctantly Edward takes on the case even while he fears that a ritual serial killer is surfacing and that he mentally may not be able to deal with the horrific deaths that he expects to see. Still more for Ana’s sake than his morbid curiosity, he digs deeper into the investigation and realizes the killings follow a pattern with each new ritual homicide crueler than the previous ones occur.
Fans of serial killer investigations that emphasize forensic science will appreciate Jonathan Hayes’ fine entry as the whodunit inquiries dominate the tale. Jenner is a fabulous protagonist as he suffers from post traumatic fatigue syndrome caused by the 9/11 nightmare; however Mr. Hayes fails to dig deep into the demons eating at his soul. Still PRECIOUS BLOOD is a fine mystery that sub-genre readers will welcome.