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Life Sentencesby Alice Blanchard
Synopses & Reviews
Research scientist Daisy Hubbard has one driving purpose in life: to find a cure for the rare disease that killed her brother. A rising star in a prestigious Boston laboratory, Daisy is more comfortable with the mice who are the subjects of her endless rounds of experiments than with any human being outside the facility's walls. Still, her single-minded pursuit of scientific knowledge is just about to pay off: she is closing in on a therapeutic breakthrough when her sister Anna mysteriously vanishes from her Los Angeles apartment. Daisy must reluctantly tear herself from the security of her lab to track down her troubled sister.
The turbulent streets of L.A. are all the more disorienting after the quiet precision of Daisy's lab, and Daisy must turn for help to Jack Makowski, an enigmatic, hard-drinking LAPD detective with his own personal demons. Together, they follow a string of clues to a sinister and manipulative killer who claims to know where Anna Hubbard is. But how does he know so much about Daisy's scientific research? Can a single word of his be trusted?
When the killer's revelations lead to unexpected victims, Daisy's reliance on logic and predictability must end. And when Jack's unconventional crime-fighting techniques fall short, it is up to Daisy to convert her scientific knowledge, strength, and instincts into a successful defense against a killer who threatens to turn Daisy's hard-won research into a weapon deadlier than the disease it was meant to combat.
"Blanchard (The Breathtaker) again proves how research enriches detective fiction in this engrossing novel about a Boston scientist on the trail of a psychopath. Neurogeneticist Daisy Hubbard has a personal interest in her research on gene therapy for brain disorders: her brother died of Stier-Zellar's disease; her mother suffers from diabetes and depression, her sister, Anna, from schizophrenia. When Anna vanishes, handsome LAPD Det. Jack Makowski persuades Daisy to come to De Campo Beach, the Pacific coast town where Anna was last seen, with news that the disappearance may be linked to a serial killer as well as Daisy's research. Joining forces, Jack and Daisy find themselves suspicious about the behavior of Anna's associates, Anna's mom and even Anna herself, while Daisy deals with childhood memories, concerns about her research and research supervisor, encounters with a manipulative killer and a growing romance with thrice-married Jack. Blanchard contrasts snowy New England memories with sunny California landscapes, intimate tenderness with violent obsession. Carefully plotted, the novel reveals much of the author's hand racing to the conclusion, but by then the reader is too enrapt to protest, captivated by Blanchard's lucid descriptions, compelling takes on the challenges and heartache of degenerative disease, schizophrenia and abuse, action-packed drama and believable, believably conflicted, characters." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[C]ould be Blanchard's breakout....Blanchard is just a bit long-winded in two or three scenes, but [her] characters are exceptionally strong and [her] plotting is sure-footed." Kirkus Reviews
Boston-based scientist Daisy Hubbard is driven to find a cure for the rare genetic disease that claimed the life of her brother. But her progress is interrupted when she learns her unstable sister Anna has gone missing from her California home. Once there, the situation gets worse; she is informed by the LAPD that a known serial killer has confessed to Anna's murder and insists upon showing her his handiwork himself. But is Anna dead? Teaming up with detective Jack Makowski, Daisy follows the killer's twisted logic, while trying to unravel the past 10 months of her sister's troubled life. Now, Daisy realizes her sister has become a pawn in a game with much higher stakes and Daisy must summon all her resolve to stop the killer in his tracks, and to uncover his obsession with the disease she's been trying her entire life to cure.
Daisy Hubbard, a genetic researcher in a prestigious Boston lab, is driven to find a cure for the rare genetic disease that claimed the life of her younger brother. Her progress is halted, however, when her mentally unstable sister Anna is discovered missing from her California home. Daisy, fearing the worst, drops everything and flies across the country to find Anna. Once there, she is informed by the LAPD that known serial killer Roy Gaines has confessed to Anna's murder, but he will only reveal where he has hidden the body if he can lead Daisy to it himself. Daisy, teaming up with a handsome detective named Jack Makowski, follows Roy to a number of dead bodies, but none of them are Anna's. As Daisy realizes that Roy knows too much about her research, she begins to fear that Anna is a pawn in a game with much larger stakes. It will take all of Daisy's cunning and resolve to stop the killer in his tracks and to uncover his obsession with the disease she has been trying to unravel for her entire life.
About the Author
Alice Blanchard has received a PEN Syndicated Fiction Award, a New Letters Literary Award and a Centrum Artists in Residence fellowship. Her short stories have appeared in such literary quarterlies as Turnstile, William & Mary Review and Alaska Quarterly, and her work has been broadcast on National Public Radio's The Sound of Writing series. Her second suspense thriller, The Breathtaker, was optioned by Warner Brothers-based John Wells Productions. She is currently working on her next suspense novel. Alice Blanchard lives in Los Angeles, California.
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