jan burke
jan burke



8th Irene Kelly Book

The year is 1958. O'Connor, a young reporter with the Las Piernas News Express, is desperate to discover who has perpetrated a savage attack on his mentor, Jack Corrigan. In and out of consciousness, Corrigan claims to have witnessed the burial of a bloodstained car on a farm, but his reputation as a heavy drinker calls his strange story into question. In a seemingly unrelated mystery, five members of the wealthy Ducane family disappear on that same night, including Max Ducane, an infant who would be the heir to two family fortunes.

Twenty years later, in her days as a novice reporter, Irene Kelly covers the groundbreaking ceremony for a shopping center—which unexpectedly yields the unearthing of a buried car. In the trunk are human remains. Are those of the infant heir among them? If so, who is the young man who has recently changed his name to Max Ducane? Again, the trail goes maddeningly, perhaps suspiciously, cold.

Until today. Irene, now married to homicide detective Frank Harriman, is a veteran reporter facing the impending closure of the Las Piernas News Express. With circulation down and young reporters fresh out of journalism school replacing long-time staffers, Irene can't help but wish for the good old days with O'Connor. So when the baffling kidnap-burial case resurfaces, Irene's tenacious love for her mentor and journalistic integrity far outweighs any fears or trepidation. Determined to make a final splash for her longtime paper and solve the mystery that plagued O'Connor to the end, Irene pursues a story that reunites her with her past and may end her career—and her life.

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"Divided into three parts with 20-year intervals in between, Burke's superb new Irene Kelly novel is a literary triumph....The sweep of events over such a long time span imparts a certain majesty.... With its multiple rich story lines, dead-on newsroom atmosphere and friendships that deepen through the decades, this is an extremely satisfying work."
   —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"This book is so incredibly complex, it's almost impossible to summarize. There are really three stories here with a common thread that holds them together over three generations. It is truly a master work—a book that could only be written by an author at the top of her game. And that is precisely where Jan Burke is. The depth of the characters, the intricacy of the story, the subtlety of the prose and the connections between them would all be lost in the hands of a less skilled writer. It's only after the book had a chance to settle on my mind for a few days that I became aware of what a spectacular achievement this is. Looking back, there is a feeling of grace about the book—redemption....If you've not read this series, I urge you to do it soon."
   —Mystery News (five raven quills—highest rating!)

"...everything fits perfectly. Burke has a great way with description, and keeps the narrative rolling with just the right twang of nerves for suspense."
   —Margaret Cannon, The Globe and Mail

"Burke's storytelling skills reach a zenith with Bloodlines, the 10th in this series.... Burke doesn't miss a beat as she realistically explores this sweeping, long-reaching plot.... 2005 has barely begun, but Burke's rich storytelling will prove Bloodlines to be among the best when this new year grows old."
   —Oline Cogdill, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

"Houston native Jan Burke has reprised salty-tongued reporter Irene Kelly for the first time since 1999 in Bloodlines, an ambitious thriller that spans decades to deliver a sprawling tale of murder, missing persons, and mistaken identity. The elaborate plot kicks off on one eventful night in 1958.... The intervening years are rich with subplot and a lifetime's worth of charmingly flawed characters-and the denouement is worth the wait. Burke has birthed a purebred addition to the American mystery canon."
   —Texas Monthly

"When conversation turns to evaluating the best female crime writers, Jan Burke's name is too often omitted. It's an unjust fate, as she has steadily improved with each novel since introducing intrepid California journalist Irene Kelly to the landscape back in 1994. But Bloodlines, with its meticulous plotting and epic tale spanning six decades, is unlike anything Burke has attempted before; the novel's success lies in its grounding in history—both real and created. Told in three parts, the story hinges on a 1950s-era cold case starring the Ducanes, a wealthy society family presumably lost at sea while their young son Max simultaneously turns up missing, possibly murdered. The investigation (and the changing face of forensic evidence) is a focal point, but more important is the nature of loyalty and mentorship in all forms, from the professional to the personal, altruistic or evil. It's a pleasure to meet Kelly as a young journalist, struggling to prove herself in a sexist newsroom and learning lessons that she will impart to young upstarts several decades later. Bloodlines is a brilliant exhibition of what the crime genre can offer, and should be a front-runner for major awards."
   —The Baltimore Sun

"This is a truly excellent book.... Since the reader meets the characters so early, each event in their lives is invested with true emotion, whether good or bad. The fact that the mysteries are 'cold' cases in no way diminishes their impact, since the reader knows the characters so well. Newcomers to this series will have no problems jumping in here, since the story begins so far in the past. This was my first book by this author, but it certainly won't be the last. Very highly recommended."
   —Deborah Hern, The Romance Reader's Connection (read the full review)

"Most distinctive... are the wonderfully wrought characters found in the three very different reporters whose unrelenting love for their profession goes heartrendingly deep. That each is unique in their own way, yet somehow all connected by some sort of innate integrity and unspoken bond, make this tale go from merely interesting to enchanting and emotionally satisfying. Save this one for when time is aplenty, you'll need it, keeping in mind, it's entirely worth it."
   —Stephanie Padilla, New Mystery Reader (read the full review)

"Jan Burke is one of my favorite mystery writers, and I am thrilled that her newest book, Bloodlines once again features Irene Kelly, the curious reporter. If you do not know about Kelly then stop what you are doing right now and go read Goodnight Irene, Burke's first novel which was published in 1993. I guarantee that you, too, will become hooked. Her series is the best since Sue Grafton introduced us to Kinsey Millhone in A is for Alibi (Pocket Books)."
   —Saralee Woods, Nashville City Paper