Kathleen Hagen's Reviews > Bloodlines

Bloodlines by Jan Burke
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's review
Jan 03, 2009

bookshelves: 2008-mysteries-suspense, 2008-audio-books
Read in February, 2008

Bloodlines, by Jan Burke, A-minus. Borrowed from the National Library Service for the Blind.

This is my first Irene Kelly mystery, and I understand it to be pretty late in the series. But, knowing nothing about the series, it could stand alone pretty well. The book is in three parts. The first part occurs in the 1930’s. Con O’Connor, who is eight years old, sells papers on the corner. He meets his favorite reporter, Jack Corrigan, and Corrigan becomes his mentor. Eight-year-old Con sees some possible jury tampering going on, and tells Corrigan who covers it as a reporter. But Mitch goes free and carries a grudge against Con and many others as well. The big event of Con’s early life was that, in his teens, his sister, Maureen, went missing. Five years later she was found murdered in a grave with two other missing girls from that same period of time. Then, in 1958, Jack Corrigan, attending the birthday party of his god-daughter, Katie, is kidnapped, beaten and left to die. Con, now an adult reporter, finds him and brings him back. Jack claims that he saw a car buried, but he doesn’t remember where and no one can find such a car.

That same night, Katie, her husband, and his parents all disappear and are never seen again. But Katie’s baby is not with them. He seems to have been kidnapped from his crib at home and his nurse was murdered.

The second part begins in 1978. Jack Corrigan is dead now and Con, a famous reporter himself, grieves for him. Irene Kelly comes on board as a new reporter. Initially Con is contemptuous of her, but eventually takes her under his wing, just as Jack had done for him, and teaches her to be a crack reporter. Irene through investigative journalism, finds out what happened to Katie, her husband, and his parents. But the kidnapped baby is not found.

The third part begins and ends in about 1998. By now, Con also is dead. Irene is a crack reporter and is training two young reporters. She is married to Frank, a police officer. Con’s son turns over his papers and journals to Irene, and as she goes through them, she begins to piece together all the things Mitch may be responsible for in the last 50 years. This book is actioned packed, particularly the last part. Burke is a very good writer, very good on police procedures. I will certainly seek out the rest of this series.


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