This week’s Mystery Month guest author is Jon McGoran. Jon has written a number of short stories and, as D. H. Dublin, a series of forensic crime thrillers in the C.S.U. Investigation series, including Body Trace and Freezer Burn. Blood Poison is the second novel in the series, but you need not have read the first novel to enjoy it.
The novel features Madison Cross, a medical doctor who quit her training before completing her residency and returned home to Philadelphia to take a position working for her Uncle Dave in the Crime Scene Unit. With only three months on the job, Madison is a relative newbie in the C.S.U. and is still not completely comfortable with all her colleagues, particularly Tommy Parker. While she’s had some success in solving difficult cases, Parker delights in reminding her that she still has a lot to learn, such as how to avoid becoming personally involved with the people connected to a case.
The C.S.U. is called in when the mostly decomposed remains of a woman are found under the bushes near the river. Although she itches to become involved in the investigation of this Jane Doe, Madison is stuck in a private residence waiting for the medical examiner’s office to pick up the body of a man, Derek Grant, who apparently died of natural causes. Because of the break-down of the M.E.’s vehicle, Madison is still at the house when the deceased’s wheelchair-bound father arrives home after angrily signing himself out of an assisted-care facility. Unable to leave the old man alone, Madison does what she can to help him. And continues to do so, against the advice of her uncle and her colleagues.
Madison, who does get a chance to work with the renowned forensic anthropologist who is called in to examine the remains, discovers an intra-ocular lens implant in Jane Doe’s eye socket that narrows down the search for her identity. As the team uncovers more information and gets closer to discovering Jane Doe’s real name, the results of Derek Grant’s autopsy show that he did not die of natural causes but from a medication overdose. Although the team finds a suicide note, the statements of some who knew Derek well make Madison wonder if the cause of death might be something more sinister — although no one seems to have a motive for killing him.
Her refusal to settle for the obvious answers and persistence in digging out the truth put Madison in danger — and confirm that she’s on the right track. Add in the problems she’s having with a gang of bullies in her own neighborhood and the reappearance of Derek’s ne’er-do-well brother Jack, and the tension ratchets higher and higher, making Blood Poison a book you don’t want to put down.
While Blood Poison looks at the forensic side of crime-solving and explains the details of the science involved in the investigation, the author also develops a complex main character and an engaging supporting cast. Madison is an intelligent, dedicated young woman who cares about the disabled old man who lost his son and the family of the nameless murdered woman. And because she cares so much about them, the reader cares about her and eagerly travels with her as she unravels the twisting trail of evidence to catch a murderer. Under the skillful hand of Jon McGoran, justice is served — and we thoroughly enjoy the ride.
From Pop Syndicate: “D.H. Dublin’s C.S.U. Investigation series is fresh, fast-paced and sure to grab readers and hold them tight until the end… Blood Poison is gripping, and offers up unique twists and characters that make you want to read more.”