It took me far too long to finish Precious Blood, the debut novel of real-life NYC medical examiner Jonathan Hayes, and frankly, it wasn’t worth the time. Retired NYC ME Edward Jenner (is that the name of the real-life guy who discovered the smallpox vaccine? A quick Google search confirms this. Oh, how cute. Gag), who fell apart after 9/11, is retained to consult on the murder of the his friend’s niece’s roommate. She has been brutally murdered, but her roommate, Ana de Jong, escapes and finds he way to Jenner’s apartment (plausible?) where she takes up residence. It becomes evident that a serial killer is on the loose, and soon we are treated to the killer’s point of view, Jenner inserting himself into the case and flouting the authorities, and the weird relationship between him and Ana while he races to solve the case.
Bless Hayes’ heart. He tried. He tried hard for several hundred pages, but it just didn’t work. Jenner was cold, emotionless and under-developed. Ana was weird and a distraction. The “man” is against Jenner, refusing his involvement with the case even though his stunning finds are the only leads they have and apparently they can’t solve anything without him. The serial killer is stereotypical and cliche. Oh, and let’s throw in a little Catholic priest involvement in the killer’s development for a dash of spice and seal up everything and shake vigorously. What emerges? A mess. It looks good from the outside. It reads well…the forensic parts especially…but it’s a mess. And the ending! It just ends! All that attempt at a build-up and then…the day is saved, the end. Ugh.