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5.0 out of 5 starsI liked this book - a lot!
Reviewed in the United States on March 1, 2018
I liked this book - a lot. The lead character is a true crime author and cop who authored a book describing a serial killer case. Fans of Chicago will like this book. The author is himself Chicago PD and well-known police procedural writer. The investigation draws in a female cop from Toronto. They do it a little differently in Canada and the contrast is well-drawn. The background of the current case is high-tech genetics and you're in for some surprises. Black keeps the plot moving along and I liked the finish. Recommended.
5.0 out of 5 starsA Great Crime Drama from a Master of Detective Fiction
Reviewed in the United States on April 28, 2018
BLOOD TRAILS by Michael A. Black is a wonderful page turner! It will make your summer reading a joy. Both my husband and I fought over who would read the book first. It is even better than Black's WINDY CITY KNIGHTS and KILLING FROST. As in those great crime stories, the characters jump off the page. I couldn't read it fast enough trying to figure out about the serial murders. Great detective, mystery stories seem to be Black's middle name. Now I have to hope that Michael Black writes another one that I can read as summer approaches. You should not miss this novel!
Detective Colby is a champion worth rooting for! The tale starts off in his younger days when he and his partner Dicks have serial killer Morgan Lairds tracked down and on the run. The action grabbed me right away, pulling me into the story and never letting go.
The bulk of the story takes place years later in present-day Chicago. Colby and Dicks are still police detectives but Lairds has just been paroled. A new set of killings happen, looking just like Lairds’ work. This hits close to home for Colby and immediately he starts narrowing down the list of people who had access to the original files and photos on Lairds.
Meanwhile, us readers know who is behind the killings. There’s a medical laboratory that has been doing some interesting and cutting edge experiments with human cloning. This aspect gave the story a scifi thriller subplot which I quite enjoyed. The bad guys are little stereotypical but it was easy to hate on them and root for our hero, Colby.
There were few female characters, which I felt was a weak spot in tale. Leslie, a detective from Canada where one of the murders occurred, is in Chicago to work with the police in solving the murder. I forget her last name because she’s so often referred to by her first and her good looks and sexiness is the first thing always described. Unfortunately her main role in the tale is as a romantic interest and not as a detective. Bummer. The ladies could have added more to this story.
I liked that we readers know from the beginning who is behind the killings and why, yet we have to watch Colby figure everything out. He’s got so much stacked against him! A reporter (another lady who is mostly a sexy love interest) has some behind-the-scenes info on the old Laird murders and Colby’s bosses think he himself might be the leak. Then there’s trying to work out who would copycat Laird and why. Toss in a few more snags in the investigation and Colby has his hands full! This case could end his career!
The cat-and-mouse action kept me glued to the book. I really wanted Colby to win out but I wasn’t sure he would and I also worried that someone close to him would pay a hefty price for victory. The pacing was great and the ending was satisfying. 4/5 stars.
The Narration: James Romick gave a great performance. He had distinct voices for all the characters and his female voices were feminine. I especially liked his ability to portray the emotions of the various characters. His pacing was perfect and there were no technical issues with this recording. 5/5 stars.
Michael A. Black’s Blood Trails grabs the reader and never let’s go. CPD Detective Roger Colby discovers that a series of murders are the product of a deranged copycat killer. Detailed to a Federal task force, the Chicago detective finds himself an outsider looking in. Aided by a visiting Canadian law enforcement officer, and nearly derailed by a retired, former partner, Colby follows a blood trail eerily reminiscent of series of killings he’d worked nearly thirty years ago. Black knows cops. Black knows Chicago. Black knows tension. Connelly, Crais, look out.
David E. Knop - Animal Parts, a Southwestern thriller. Animal Parts: A Peter Romero Mystery (Peter Romero Mysteries Book 3)
I was given a signed paper copy of this book as a gift, but I wasn't sure if I would like. Title indicated a story that was a little scary for my taste. But I'm leaving this review because to the contrary, I thought it was so good, and others might enjoy because it's a really good book. The story line is non stop from the very beginning, the action and dialogue is fast paced all the way from beginning to end, tightly written, and the plot is intriguing and not what I expected. What I like in fiction is a book that takes me there setting wise, has characters I can like and root for, an interesting story-line, and a satisfying end. This Police tale of intrigue had all of those elements, and more. As a native of Chicago (in my youth), Mike Black easily took me back there--I could see the places, streets--feel the Windy-City ambiance. I read in one day because I wanted to know what happened! Definitely recommend.
5.0 out of 5 starsAnother Fine Police Procedural from Michael Black
Reviewed in the United States on March 23, 2018
Michael A. Black has created a suspenseful and clever novel with a number of twists along the way. Told from various points of view, the story allows the reader to see the inner workings of both the dedicated cops and the psycho killer. But where Black excels is in the portrayal of his police characters. He is a former police officer in the Chicago suburbs and knows how cops think and act – and he brings it all home in a tightly written (under 250 pages) tale that rings true from the first chapter right through to the violent conclusion. Along the way Black mixes in some dark humor, romance, and tension between the city police and the federal task force. From the bright lights and skyscrapers of downtown to Lake Michigan to the train yards and refineries filled with the smells of oil and sulfur, Black makes excellent use of his Chicago setting as Colby pursues a killer apparently from his past. Tough, intense, and always engaging, this is another fine procedural thriller from Michael Black.