I have been reading Iris Johansen's novels for some time. I never thought the day would come when I'd rate one below 4 stars. To say that I found "Blood Game" a disappointment is a bit of an understatement. Other than the fact that it includes Eve Duncan, it really shouldn't be labeled an "Eve Duncan Forensics Thriller". It didn't involve any forensics and certainly wasn't a thriller. My overall impression of this book was that it was (1) a foray into a different genre for Ms. Johansen and (2) a mechanism to flesh out the character of Seth Caleb for use in "Eight Days To Live". Although I don't rate books on their length, one look at the font size and layout bears this out. Had it been done in the same format as "Eight Days...", (which was published single-spaced and in a smaller font), the hardcover version of "Blood Game" would have been no more than 100 pages.
after seeing the success other authors have had writing in the heavy supernatural, I suspect that Ms. Johansen decided to try her hand at delving deeper into the supernatural from the mildly paranormal story-lines of previous Eve Duncan novels. I honestly think that she needs to leave that genre to others who do it better. I can buy into Eve seeing/dreaming Bonnie. And, I think that Jane MacGuire's dreams in a previous story arc worked perfectly. I can even stretch things to include Megan Blair's abilities. But, now we have Joe turning psychic and there's a sometimes-evil maybe-vampire that the firmly rooted in reality Jane is now lusting after? What's next... werewolves? Demons?
My feeling has always been that Johansen's strongest character has been Eve Duncan. In the past, with Eve's unresolved psychic/not-psychic connection to Bonnie, Ms. Johansen has brought just the right amount of the paranormal to her novels. IMO, that made a perfect counter-point to the reality-based world view of Joe Quinn. By changing an underlaying facet in the dynamic between them, Ms. Johansen is asking us to also change how we relate to the relationship. This is a mainstay of what makes the whole Eve Duncan-Joe Quinn-Jane MacGuire trilogy work.
I was also bothered by the fact that Eve left the sculpting of a lost child unresolved, something unheard of in other books. Anyone who has read any two other Eve Duncan novels knows that just is something she would never do.
I cannot in good conscience recommend this book to anyone except a die-hard Eve Duncan fan. It is a necessary component in the multi-book arc starting here, and extending through "Eight Days To Live" and "Chasing The Night". Where Ms. Johansen takes Seth Caleb (and Jane MacGuire) and how she deals with integrating Joe's new-found abilities remains to be seen. I'm not yet ready to give up on it al just yet.
Lastly, I pretty much feel that if Ms. Johansen wanted to experiment in the world of vampires and the supernatural, she should have developed an entirely new world with new characters that didn't include the Eve Duncan set.
Iris Johansen is one of the very few authors who can not only hold a story line throughout a book--but for over 14 books is simply phenominal! Her incorporation of Bonnie, Eve, Joe, Jane and then Catherine in the different stories keeps us begging for more! In "Blood Game" a new character, Nancy Jo is woven intricantly into the story line, drawing Joe even further into Eve and Bonnie's world as well as being a significant part in the solving of horrific crimes. Not just another book in a series, but a continuation of a phenominal story-line! bogie
When young people and children die, do they go directly to heaven or become a figment of our imagination, a hallucination, a ghost or a dream? This is what Joe and Eve have to deal with in this book along with a wanna-be vampire. Not one of her better books, but keeps you waiting for the finale' in the live of Eve Duncan. Must read her books in succession to know the entire story.