Thursday, August 9, 2018

WOW! In our Blood By William J. Goyette

They’ll never see it coming. A lazy finger brushed across a blurred photo of an attractive couple hurrying across a hectic urban street. Not in a million years. He studied their eyes, imagined himself peeling back the eyelids, crawling through. Really digging inside their heads. Not even after the last drop of blood has drained from their bodies. The man in the photo was attentive, purpose in his frozen stride. The woman appeared distant, oblivious to the traffic buzzing around her. She gripped her companion’s arm more out of necessity than affection. 
His eyes flicked across more images of the couple. Split-second glimpses of their lives–together, alone, or with a young boy and girl. His attention shifted to a narrow slit of a window, the only source of light in an otherwise bleak space. Rain slammed the weathered panes at an impossible angle, painting an angry ripple effect on the bed beneath. 
The woman sprawled across it stared blankly at him. “What are you looking at?” His gaze slid back to the photographs, to the woman frozen in time, His Fair Maiden, each snapshot an open window to her soul. 
She was a doting yet ferociously protective mother. As a wife she was efficient, dutiful, if somewhat apathetic. She was kind and respectful as a rule, but had no patience for fools, and made little effort to hide it. She took painstaking care of herself. Not, he sensed, for her husband or anyone else, but out of a selfish need to preserve the beauty she’d always known, yet also knew was on temporary loan. 
He riffled through the photos. Ah, there you are. His favorite. Caught in close-up. Apprehension, bordering on fear, chiseled into the subtle lines book-ending her mouth that only made her more real, more potent.
What are you thinking, My Fair Maiden? A leisurely finger massaged the contours of the face, circled the full lips, caressed the silken hair. He stood abruptly, moved to the bedside, shoved the photo into the face of the woman twisted among the covers. “Why don’t you take care of yourself like this?” he said. He got no response. Not that he expected one. After all, she was dead. He was lulled by the tap-tap on the window above the ghastly corpse, the diminishing rain the only witness to his crime. Tears slid down the slick panes, mourning the woman because nobody else would. But they’ll all care about you, won’t they? He positioned the photo of His Fair Maiden so it shielded the blanched face of the woman on the bed. I’ve got a big surprise in store for you. You’ll never see it coming.

From the Prologue until the last climatic pages of William Goyette's novel, In Our Blood, I was hooked! In many ways, the suspense is subtle--the author has grabbed the reader, but has not told us anything that can help us know what will be happening--no, what IS happening!
Carla Mendez was a wilted flower that has hung on long past its season. White-with-specks-of-gray hair was pulled back so severely, her eyes seemed to stretch halfway around her head. A neatly pressed housecoat worked overtime to fill out the skeletal frame it dripped from. 
“Mrs. Mendez,” Jake said, “you said that Miss Thomas had a guest staying with her. A man. Can you remember what he looked like?” 
The tiny woman let out a puff of air, deflating her fragile body even more. “I’m sorry I haven’t been much help. It’s just, after seeing Donna that way…” 
“It’s okay, Mrs. Mendez,” Henderson said. “Take your time.” Women melted when Kyle flashed those pearly whites. Even old coots in housecoats. Carla Mendez returned the smile, smoothed her dress. “Thank you, Detective.” 
Jake stifled a groan. Carla turned to Jake. “Yes, I think I can remember what he looked like.” 
Jake nodded. “Great. If you wouldn’t mind coming down to the station…” “Beg your pardon?” Carla crowed. “What for?” Her wrinkled face wrinkled up even more, if that were possible. Thin parched lips folded into one another. 
“It would be a tremendous help, Mrs. Mendez,” Jake’s partner said. “If you’d feel more comfortable, I can accompany you.” The wrinkles smoothed, her lips unfolded and curled up. “Then I’d be delighted,” she said. “Shall I get my purse?”

And, of course, in order to learn, we will need to become acquainted with our main character, Jake Hawksworth. It is Jake who describes himself to readers, and I kept coming back to "Columbo" as I learned more about our main investigator. In fact, I enjoyed the POV coming from him as he worked to discover what was going on...but also as he worked and thought about his partner, enjoying, his sense of humor...or lack thereof.  For me, it lightened up a somewhat gruesome murder mystery/thriller...

The murder in the Prologue set the tone for what was to come, but, interesting, one clue came out of it as Jack and Kyle surveyed the room... In the midst of a variety of books on a shelf, a complete set of those written by a well-known author... Jake surveyed a snap-together wall unit that housed a jumble of tattered books. Tawdry romance novels. Obscure detective pulp. A perfectly aligned row of shiny hardcovers caught his eye. The same author’s name ran up each of their glossy spines. Every book written by the guy. Jake knew this because he had the same collection on a shelf in his house. 
“She must’ve been a fan of McCauley’s,” an ID officer said. “How about you,” he added. “A fan, I mean?” 
“Who isn’t?” Jake said. He winked at his partner. “Let’s go meet your girl Sally.”

It begins around the third chapter when readers meet Drew McCauley on a plane heading home, as he is working on his latest book... And we meet Chance...Is he just a character? An  intriguing overlay of activities within the book begins...Is McCauley writing a book...or is what is happening only concepts for McCauley's story... Close attention is mandatory for readers at this point! My only warning...

While Jack and Kyle are working on the murder of the woman who had been found dead in her bed, readers move on to meet new characters in the book... Chance and Lynette are meeting with Bud to consider having Bud help kidnapping the son of author, Drew McCauley... Bud is hesitant, very hesitant, but needs money badly, and asks why Chance thinks he can get to the kid... Chance answered, but Bud didn't understand, when the answer was, "Because I know him better than he (McCauley) knows himself..."

And, indeed, when Drew arrived home, he was surprised, and then concerned that Paige and his children had not met him at the door, as usual when he returned. Though Chance and Bud thought they were not observed, they had been, so the family had prior warning that somebody was watching their home... But they still succeeded in taking Ben...

Jake was having one of his nightmares, which had become routine since his wife had been murdered, and Nikki, his daughter was having a tough time awaking him...They were planning to go out and eat and she was going to share about her new boyfriend... Even then, Jake had a hunch about the young man he had not yet met....

But that had to wait, because Jake, who had worked for them before, was called in by the McCauley family to find their son!

Intense, provocative, and somewhat spellbinding, this book is well worth reading if you are a suspense thriller fan. This first in series is a must-read if you enjoy a main character and series that grabs you right from the beginning and leaves you wanting more. The climax is well worth waiting for and surprising enough to leave you a bit stunned... wondering what Jake is going to get into in his next case.... Highly recommended.


I've been a "word nerd" for as long as I can remember. My mind is always in the "on" position, with new stories and characters constantly brewing. Right now, I have about a half dozen ideas for future novels banging around in my head.

In Our Blood is the first in a series of detective thrillers featuring Detective Jake Hawksworth. Jake isn't superhuman. He can't take on five guys at once, can't scale buildings, can't save the world from weapons of mass destruction. Jake is every man. 

I'm currently immersed in the second Jake installment, a murder mystery set at a remote writers' retreat, called Little Red Herrings.

When I'm not lost in my fictional world, I'm traveling the real world with my wife, spending quality time with my two daughters, or rolling around on the ground with my dogs.

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