Review

Bloodstream

by Tess Gerritsen



In BLOODSTREAM, her third medical thriller following HARVEST and
LIFE SUPPORT, Tess Gerritsen has penned her best yet. Everything
about this book --- from characters to plot to setting to the
medical mystery at its heart --- shows Gerritsen's continuing
development as a writer.  

Claire Eliot is a young widow with a teenage son named Noah; she is
also a doctor, a GP in the field of family medicine. BLOODSTREAM
begins when Claire and Noah have been living for eight months in a
small lakeside town in Maine, called Tranquility. Claire has bought
the practice of the old town doc and has thus acquired all the
problems one might expect in such a situation --- plus a few nobody
could ever expect. It is the month of November, in a year of
strange weather, marked by an unusually wet spring and an unusually
hot summer (sound familiar, anyone?). Odd, violent things begin to
happen in the town of Tranquility with its population of 900
souls.  

After a while, people begin to remember that these same odd things
happened before, a long time ago. Some old bones are found along
the banks of a stream that feeds the lake --- these bones test out
to be even older than anyone living can remember, and they bear
markings of similar violence. Finally there are the Indian legends
--- and all this adds up to a tantalizing, if horrifying,
puzzle.

What is particularly gripping, wrenching, about this book is that
the odd things and violence involve the town's teenagers.
Throughout BLOODSTREAM there are parallels to headlines that have
been occurring in our newspapers in 1998 --- to such a degree that
it's almost eerie, considering Gerritsen has to have written the
book at least a year "before" our current epidemic of teenage
violence broke out --- not to mention the strangeness of El Nino's
effect on our weather.

The claustrophobic atmosphere of the small Maine town is
convincingly portrayed, along with the townspeople's stubborn
denial of their violent past. Claire is an appealing character ---
most of the story is told from her point of view --- and along with
her we feel the frustrations that inevitably occur when the one who
can see most clearly is the outsider, the person "from away." She
has an affecting relationship with another appealing character, the
town police chief, Lincoln Kelly. Noah, her son, has a touching
teenage first love in Amelia, whose brothers are one heap of
trouble. We become as involved with these characters as we are with
the puzzle of what is happening, what is the medical mystery to be
unravelled here.

The ending does not disappoint, except that for me it came too
soon. I wanted to read on, to know more about Lincoln and Claire
and Noah and Amelia. I did not want to say goodbye to them. I
wanted to stay in Tranquility until the spring came and I could be
sure that the evil really did go away with the darkness of the long
Maine winter.  

BLOODSTREAM is an absorbing and rewarding read.

Reviewed by Dianne Day on January 21, 2011

Bloodstream
by Tess Gerritsen

  • Publication Date: August 1, 1999
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Mass Market Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket
  • ISBN-10: 0671016768
  • ISBN-13: 9780671016760