Bloodlines

Houston native JAN BURKE has reprised salty-tongued reporter Irene Kelly for the first time since 1999 in BLOODLINES (Simon & Schuster), an ambitious thriller that spans decades to deliver a sprawling tale of murder, missing persons, and mistaken identity. The elaborate plot kicks off on one eventful night in 1958, when a family of four disappears and a newspaperman, beaten nearly into a coma, swears that he witnessed a car being buried on a nearby farm. Forty years later, newshound Kelly and her detective husband, Frank Harriman, find themselves with boxfuls of stale clues, trying to sort out killers, kidnappers, heirs, and enemies. The intervening years are rich with subplot and a lifetime’s worth of charmingly flawed characters—and the denouement is worth the wait. Burke has birthed a purebred addition to the American mystery canon.

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