Tuesday, June 5, 2007

'Blood Evidence' by Mel Odom

ISBN: 1414303076
ISBN-13: 9781414303079
Format: Paperback, 448pp
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Price: $13.99

Blood Evidence is the second book in the Military NCIS novels. I have to admit that from time to time I have tuned into the TV show and while the mystery is a draw, the characters are what really make the show for me. The same can be said for Mel Odom’s series.

Commander Will Coburn and his NCIS team are called to investigate the kidnapping of a Marine Captain’s daughter. When a simple kidnapping turns into a gang fight we get a chance to see the situation from each character's perspective, as well as what drives each of them.

When the body of a Marine is found while Commander Coburn and his team are tracking down the gang members, it only complicates matters. The body turns out to be a Marine who has been missing for 17 years. While processing the body the NCIS unit finds a link to the murder of a Naval Officer’s daughter that took place around the time the Marine went missing.

While the NCIS agents are trying to solve the links between the cold cases, weapons smuggling, and a potential serial killer, their personal lives are changing. Commander Coburn is struggling to balance his personal and professional life; Nita the medical examiner is struggling with her marriage and the responsibilities that kind of commitment entails; Estrella still coming to terms with the suicide of her husband; Maggie has her past and present family issues; and Remy and Shel provide some great action while dealing with their own demons.

Will Coburn’s character, a Navy Commander whose marriage has ended in divorce, really stands out in the novel. He struggles to keep a relationship going with his son and daughter. Will thinks back on his career, the time he spent deployed, and wonders if things had been different could his marriage have survived, not to mention the relationship with his children?

Being a Navy brat myself, I know how hard it can be and it really touched me.

In the end Blood Evidence is not just about the crime but the people involved in all the aspects of it. Their personal struggles bring drama and depth to the action and adventure that propels the book forward.

I also have to mention the way the book is presented: it comes across as being carefully thought out, with "NCIS Crime Scene" tape crossing across the new chapter pages and time and place headings at the start of each new scene. Over all this is a great book, well written, and more than enjoyable.

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