Plano Reads: Blood Relations
4 mins read

Plano Reads: Blood Relations

Mystery Book Club’s pick for April is Blood Relations by Jonathan Moore. Please join us for our discussion on Thursday, April 18 at 7 p.m. at Haggard Library or through Zoom. If you would like to attend the meeting virtually, please register here

Available in Print | eBook | eAudio

Who is Claire Gravesend?

So wonders PI Lee Crowe when he finds her dead, in a fine cocktail dress, on top of a Rolls Royce, in the most dangerous neighborhood in San Francisco. Claire’s mother, Olivia, is one of the richest people in California. She doesn’t believe the coroner: her daughter did not kill herself. Olivia hires Crowe, who – having just foiled a federal case against a cartel kingpin – is eager for distraction. But the questions about the Gravesend family pile up fast.

First, the autopsy reveals round scars running down Claire’s spine, old marks Olivia won’t explain. Then, Crowe visits Claire’s Boston townhouse and has to fend off an armed intruder. Is it the Feds out for revenge? Or is this connected to the Gravesends? He leaves Boston afraid, but finds his way to Claire’s secret San Francisco pied-à-terre. It’s there that his questions come to a head. Sleeping in an upstairs bedroom, he finds Claire – her face, her hair, her scars – and as far as he can tell, she’s alive. And Crowe’s back at the start:

Who is Claire Gravesend?

– Provided by the publisher

A San Francisco PI gets much more than he bargains for when he’s asked to investigate the suspicious death of a wealthy young woman. Ex-attorney-turned-private investigator Lee Crowe hasn’t lacked for jobs in the six years since he was disbarred for beating the stuffing out of his now ex-wife’s lover, a California Supreme Court associate justice. In fact, most of his jobs in his early days as a PI came from his ex-boss attorney Jim Gardner, who likely has a finger in plenty of the city’s dirtiest deeds. When Crowe happens upon the body of a beautiful young woman on the caved-in roof of a Rolls Royce Wraith parked in front of the decidedly down-market Refugio Apartments, he can’t resist snapping photos for a quick tabloid sale. Jim spots the photo and offers Crowe another job. The dead woman is 20-year-old Claire Gravesend, and her mother, the wealthy and influential Olivia Gravesend, doesn’t believe Claire committed suicide. Crowe has Olivia’s considerable resources to back up his investigation, and he’ll need them. He flies to Boston to examine Claire’s home, where he has a violent encounter with a knife- wielding intruder. Shaken, he returns to San Francisco, where he discovers that Claire’s secret pied-Ã -terre is hiding something even stranger: a woman in Claire’s bed who looks just like Claire and shares the strange circular scars on her spine that appeared on Claire’s autopsy photos. Shocked but undeterred and not afraid to get his hands dirty, Crowe seeks answers from Olivia’s mother and Claire’s doppelgänger in a case that’s shaping up to be stranger than fiction.

Moore’s rough-and-tumble PI operates firmly in varying shades of gray; the author delivers enough action and atmosphere to satisfy readers who like their gumshoes old-school while having a lot to say about humankind’s hubris and preoccupation with eternal youth. The mastermind behind Claire’s death is truly vile, and the disturbing finale will linger. Luckily, Moore sets things up for a sequel. Gritty neo-noir with an all-too-plausible speculative twist.

– Copyright Kirkus Reviews

Jonathan Moore lives in Hawaii, with his wife, Maria. When he’s not writing, or fixing his boat, Jonathan is an attorney at a Honolulu firm. Before completing law school in New Orleans, he was an English teacher, a white-water raft guide on the Rio Grande, a counselor at a Texas wilderness camp for juvenile delinquents, and an investigator for a criminal defense attorney in Washington, D.C. His first novel, Redheads, was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award. 

– from the publisher’s website

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