Wednesday, May 15, 2019


Title: Bloodstream
Author: Tess Gerritsen
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Pages: 376
My GoodReads Rating: ⭐⭐

Bloodstream was my first book by Tess Gerritsen. I had no idea she had written so many thrillers, and that she was so popular.

Dr Claire Elliott moves into the small town of Tranquility, Maine, hoping the move will help her teenage son, Noah, to get over the trauma of his father’s death and escape the temptations of the big city. The last thing she needs is for Noah to get into trouble at his new school. Turns out that the town is misnamed.

She hopes that she and her son will be able to blend in and be a part of this town. She has bought the bustling practice of her predecessor, and she hopes to make good in this town. Most importantly, she has come to this town seeking peace, but what she does not know is that every 50 years or so, the town is beset with brutal violence.

When a student goes berserk at school, killing a teacher and injuring his classmates, it marks the first incidence of a spate of acts of teenage violence. The student is Claire’s patient, and Claire is convinced that the violence is drug induced. But the boy’s father refuses to let her continue his treatment and shifts his son’s care to another doctor. Meanwhile, one of the local residents finds a gnawed bit of human bone and the town becomes aware of the ramifications of the horror they are up against.

Claire becomes convinced that the cause of the violence is not supernatural and that there is a reason why these things are happening. As she struggles to find evidence to support her claim, the town residents turn on her, rejecting her allegations and holding her and her son responsible for the trouble.

Will the town accept her and her son? And will she be able to resolve the mystery of what is driving teenagers to violence before the body count mounts?

The story is set around winter, and the author has used the snow and the bitter cold to great effect. As Claire and her son struggle to cope with the cold, they also face the ingrained hostility of the residents, who are unhappy with her unwillingness to let things be.

Close on the heels of Claire, we meet Police Chief Lincoln Kelly. He is another harried man, hemmed in by the troubles facing the town and the trouble in which his ex-wife keeps getting into.

There are far too many characters thrown at us, right at the beginning of this book, with not much to help us understand how they relate to one another or even to the plot at hand. It becomes hard to feel invested in all of them.

For a long time, the story stays with Claire, and we feel some measure of comfort in knowing that we don’t have to juggle around multiple character names. And then suddenly, all the characters come rushing right back into the thick of things. Also, there is no reason why the town residents should be so hostile towards Claire and why they should reject her theory with so much vehemence.

In the Prologue, we meet the unnamed teenage narrator, back in 1946, whose parents are murdered and she herself is attacked. This prologue was very well written, and rather chilling. And I felt that the rest of the book tried but didn’t quite manage to capture the tension in the prologue.

The explanation for the violence seemed plausible and fit well within the context of a small town, and I appreciated the doggedness with which Claire conducted her investigation. The fact that her own son is at risk was her motive.

What I didn’t like was Claire’s growing attraction to Lincoln. It seemed forced and not the unintentional deepening of friendship it should have been. I found myself rushing through this part and hoping Claire would get on with the main investigation.

Lincoln is the long-suffering husband of the town drunk. Great at his job, but suffering miserably at the home front. I had zero regard for him.

Bloodstream was a good read, but I would have liked it better without the love angle.


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