A Message in Blood – Catherine Maiorisi

Rating: 5 out of 5.
This is the latest part in the Chiara Corelli Mystery series and as far as I’m concerned the best one yet. I should say upfront, this book won’t be for everyone, it deals with the very difficult topic of child sex-trafficking and discusses this in graphic detail at times, however the uncomfortable nature of the topic is outweighed by the underlying relationships that thrive in this book.

Chiara is now beginning to gain public awareness for her work in a good light again after her previous battles due to her undercover work. Chiara is more aware of her own issues, especially with her PTSD and is more open to confronting her feelings and behaviours towards others. This growth from book one is one of my favourite parts of this book.

There is a general awareness throughout the book of how people interact with each other in all of the horrible ways. It discusses racism, cops, politicians, the military, family and many other things with an honesty that I found refreshing and at times profound. The way Maiorisi weaves these concepts through the narrative, giving each its moment and relevance to the overall narrative is masterfully done.

The complicated elements of love and loss and moving on are looked from many different perspectives. Chiara is opening her heart to the possibility of a relationship with Brett, and I especially love how Brett approaches this with her. P.J. has her own battles to fight with her past, and I love how she has grown and fits together with Chiara and her family.

Family is at the heart of much of the narrative, both in positive and negative ways. Chiara’s sister and her story arc in this book actually made me cry.

The mystery element of the book was done really well. As I mentioned it revolves around the very difficult topic of child sex trafficking and is graphic at times, so I had to take a break at times, but I think it’s done in a realistic and non-gratuitous manner. We’re kept in suspense until the very end as to the perpetrator and I enjoyed the twists that came with this storyline.

Whilst the book covers many hard topics, I find that upon reflection the feeling I was left with when I finished reading was warmth. Maiorisi finishes this book in a way that would neatly tie up the series should this be her choice, but I have to say I would love for her to continue to tell Chiara and P.J’s stories, especially at this high standard.

If you haven’t started this series yet, do.

I received an e-ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

A Matter of Blood – Catherine Maiorisi

Rating: 4 out of 5.
In anticipation of part 3 in this series coming out in January I wanted to read this series as it seemed like it would be right in my wheelhouse and I’m really happy to say it is.

When I first started reading I thought I’d started the wrong book, and that I was actually reading the second one, because you’re dropped into a storyline that feels like the middle of something, but once it gets going it all starts to make sense and whether intentional or not really gives you the same discombobulated feeling the main character – Chiara Corelli – would have been feeling at the same point.

Corelli is a Detective for the NYPD, but has also served in the Army. When she came back from her latest tour in Afghanistan training Afghani policemen, she was asked to undertake an undercover operation to route out cops in the NYPD who were ‘on the take’. Her actions and discoveries have left her extremely unpopular with the rest of the force, with her facing the ‘blue wall’, and it is at this point we meet her.

Newly promoted Detective P.J. Parker is asked to be Corelli’s bodyguard. She has her own history with the force, with her father being a senator. She has to decide whether to team up with the most hated person on the force.

This is an interesting murder mystery, with a victim that inspires many emotions. The long list of suspects keeps things interesting and gives a lot of opportunities to learn about both Corelli and Parker. The family dynamics of both MCs and the victim are also really interesting.

I really enjoyed this book. Maiorsisi doesn’t try to pretend law enforcement is perfect and she certainly hasn’t written Corelli as the perfect character that can do no wrong. I would definitely recommend to anyone who likes this kind of thing.