For years, Eve Duncan has searched for the monster who kidnapped
and murdered her seven-year-old daughter, Bonnie. Her lover, Joe
Quinn, entered her world first as the FBI agent who sought the
killer, then as the man who lives with and loves her. But
lately, Eve senses that Joe is emotionally slipping from her. Her
obsession with finding Bonnie’s killer has diminished their
relationship, and they have recently contacted a psychic named
Megan…with disturbing results.
Today, Joe’s distance from her increases, and it does not
improve when their foster daughter, Jane, arrives for a visit.
Following a solitary walk in the woods near their home, Joe --- a
local detective --- returns to his office. Eve, a forensic
sculptor, confides her anxiety to Jane over coffee. Reaching for a
creamer in the refrigerator, she pulls out an unfamiliar object: a
gold cup filled with coagulating blood.
Meanwhile, Joe’s calm demeanor has been shaken by a simple
act. While sitting on the porch swing, gazing toward the lake and
sorting through emotions, a presence speaks, knowing him
intimately. Bonnie is taking to him! Joe questions his own sanity
at this point, although a new murder case soon consumes his
attention. Nancy Jo Norris, daughter of a powerful local Senator,
has been brutally murdered, her body showing signs of a ritualistic
killing. In her hand is a gold goblet containing human blood that
forensics determines to be Type A; hers is Type B.
Iris Johansen produces chilling crime series novels with
regularity having published more than 30 suspense thrillers, and
BLOOD GAME is no exception. Through rapid-paced dialogue, she moves
the action forward, allowing the reader into the depths of her
characters’ dilemmas. Internal struggles surface in
conversations between major players. Megan’s psychic powers
come into play when she telephones Eve with distress over Joe.
Not only is Joe plagued by his fleeting glimpse from Bonnie, he
is met by deeper trouble when he investigates the crime scene area
by the lake where Nancy Jo’s body was found. Joe wanders into
a thicket of trees in hopes of locating a witness or securing
evidence. There, he is met by a young woman in a red sweatshirt who
speaks to him with familiarity, describing the murder and talking
about her father. Finally, she tells him who she is: Nancy Jo
Norris. Joe is convinced he’s ready for the loony bin, his
hallucinations overwhelming his normalcy.
Megan --- along with Luis Montalvo --- opens up suspicions
pointing to Bonnie’s abductor, a character named Kevin Jelak.
Their research unearths a diabolical scheme concocted to lure Eve
to the man. But proof is a long stretch for all the investigators.
Joe Quinn, Jane Maguire and possibly Megan all become pawns in a
complicated plot. Ritual killings, thirst for blood and a grasp of
sheer power motivate Johansen’s murderous villain. His lust
and greed stem from membership in an ancient game played solely for
blood power. Johansen’s raw presentation includes journeys
into the paranormal, intense emotional involvements, ghostly
encounters and dire consequences.
BLOOD GAME entraps readers because Johansen has compelled them
to seek answers to its puzzles. The novel tops a bestseller list
for this reviewer for its complexities and character
Reviewed by Judy Gigstad on December 22, 2010