Book Review – The Blood Test


Psychologist Alex Delaware is called in to counsel the family of young Woody Swopes, who has just been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  His dysfunctional parents are rejecting the treatment options. Suddenly the family disappears, including little Woody and his nubile older sister, Nona. 

Alex, and his best friend policeman Milo Sturgis, try to locate the Swopes family so Woody can begin medical care.  The book is set in southern California, with Alex and Milo traveling from LA to the Mexican border in their search.

Along the way, Alex encounters many odd characters. Dr. Raul Melendez-Lynch, an atypical cancer specialist in charge of Woody’s care, is a volatile and unpredictable man.  Lawyer turned cult leader, Noble Matthias, still demonstrates his shrewdness under the mask of peace.  Doug Carmichael, a trim surfer and male prostitute is something of an enigma, and Sheriff Houten of the tiny town where the cult has its base sends out “weird” signals, too.

Alex also has a number of unusual adventures.  What may be out of the ordinary for many people, though, is all in a day’s work for Alex Delaware.  He is beaten by a crazy man who disapproves of Alex’s diagnosis, is given the special gift of a dead rat on his doorstep, there are numerous death threats, the murders of several key characters, Molotov cocktails that threaten Alex’s home and others, strange mutant plants, greed, drugs and incest.

Jonathan Kellerman is a master at action-packed, suspenseful novels and The Blood Test is no exception.  He utilizes humor, cunning plot twists and creativity to lead readers on an emotional journey and its surprising conclusion. 

As with all of Kellerman’s books, I loved this one.  I was surprised but pleased to find this novel published in 1986 that I had never read before.  If you love mysteries as I do, I encourage you to read The Blood Test.  You won’t be disappointed.

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