Vengeance in Blood – Lee Kelly

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vengeance in bloodSocialite Shelly Farnsworth Stevens shocks all of Atlanta when she shoots her husband. Her motive? She’s certain Todd had an affair and gave her AIDS. Imagine her horror when she finds out that he couldn’t have given her HIV—his blood was negative.

Because she’s rich and connected, Detective Lacy Fuller and her partner Chet Avery, the best Atlanta P.D. has to offer, are put on the case. What they find out rocks the nation. With the help of Dr. Sharon West and FBI Agent Margie Olsen, Detectives Fuller & Avery are able to crack the case.

“Vengeance in Blood” is a well paced, compelling medical mystery. The characters are interesting and well rounded. The killer’s motivation is clear. The story draws readers in, keeping their interest throughout.

Detective Lacy Fuller is focused, sarcastic, a brilliant officer and not too good at personal relationships. Though some would consider her chilly and withdrawn, she has a warmth and depth to her personality that finds an outlet in peculiar ways—fondness for a homeless man who gives most of his money to an animal shelter, a little girl whose brother is involved with a drug dealer, and a supercilious feline.

Her personal life not withstanding, she’s a hell of a police officer who manages to uncover more from home, using only her laptop and a phone, than some of her colleagues can with the full resources of the police department.

Dr. Sharon West has the unfortunate duty of pronouncing Todd Stevens dead on arrival at the hospital. As there is some fear that he is HIV positive, she runs a blood test to confirm so that the EMT’s who responded can be treated for exposure. She’s also the contact person for Detectives Fuller and Avery when they arrive. Her knowledge of the disease, paired with experience in a blood bank, make her an invaluable compatriot for Lacy.

During the investigation, the two women become close friends, working in sync with one another.

Sharon, whose family is close knit and loving, feels drawn to the lonely, isolated Lacy. Sharon is as warm and outgoing as Lacy is chilly and withdrawn. Her warmth and support help Lacy on a deep personal level.

Chet Avery is the opposite of Lacy in many ways but one, he’s also a hell of a police officer. He’s sloppy where she is meticulous. He’s paunchy and overeats where she is athletic and trim. He’s a family man while she has no one. However, they make the Dream Team of the Atlanta Homicide detectives, solving more cases than the other partners combined. Although he finds himself annoyed with his partner on more than one occasion, he still believes in her abilities.

FBI Agent Margie Olsen is a puzzler for both Lacy and Chet. She comes across as a space cadet, but shocks them both with her skills and focus when called upon to perform.

Homer Files is homeless. After the death of his wife, he lost their home and started living on the streets. Lacy met him while he was panhandling on the street. When she found out that he was giving his money to an animal shelter, she decided not to turn him in for begging. The two became fast friends and they look out for one another. Homer is a kind, loving man who treats Lacy like a daughter and she considers him like the gentle father she never had.

Throughout the book, the reader is surprised by the breadth of Lacy’s character. She appears hard as nails on the surface, but when she reveals aspects of her childhood to Sharon, her hard exterior is explained. She takes people she meets under her wing, building her own family unit around herself without even realizing she’s doing it.

I greatly enjoyed this book. It was well paced, easy to read and had an interesting and compelling plot that made me want to keep reading. The characters are well rounded, the dialogue adds to the novel and keeps it moving. I never felt that there was a point where the flow of the story bogged down. Everything drove the story forward. I can honestly say that this is one of the best books I’ve read this year.

I highly recommend “Vengeance in Blood” to anyone who loves a good mystery.

Five Golden Acorns
© Dellani Oakes

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