Thursday 10 March 2011

REVIEW: Bloodstream, by Tess Gerritsen (4.5*)

(HarperCollinsPublishers, 2004)

This was my first Tess Gerritsen and one of my first forays into crime writing – and wow, I was impressed! Gerritsen delivers a taut medical thriller that had me glued to the pages from the start. When the teenagers of the ironically-named lakeside town of Tranquility, Maine, are gripped by a wave of murderous violence, new town GP Claire is determined to find out what’s behind the almost superhuman levels of aggression in the seemingly possessed adolescents. Casting aside the arguments of the locals, who seem to be more intent on holding onto their town’s image as a haven for tourists than saving their children, Claire must do everything in her power to find a medical cause for the crazed killing and mindless fighting - particularly since her fourteen year-old son Noah is at risk too. Is it drugs? Some local pathogen? A chemical spillage of some kind? And could it be linked to the spate of similar violence that the town has been trying to forget for nearly fifty years? Whatever it is, the race is on to put a stop to it before it’s too late…

I found the novel haunting, chilling and utterly compelling from start to finish. Every time I had to set it down to do something else, I found myself thinking about the terrible events that had happened so far, and trying to piece together all the clues to work out what was happening. It is a testament to the book’s strength that it pervaded every waking moment so thoroughly, and I found myself completely caught up in the excitement as the pages flew by, gasping with shock one moment and welling up with tears the next. At the same time, Gerritsen balances the horror of the town’s predicament with a dry humour, which was very refreshing and helped keep the story feeling grounded and human; it stopped it – and the reader – from getting too swept up in its own darkness. Highly recommended!

Source: I borrowed this book from our bookshop shelves.