Blood Atonement
Dan Waddell
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Buy *Blood Atonement* by Dan Waddell online

Blood Atonement
Dan Waddell
Minotaur Books
352 pages
August 2009
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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When a divorced mother in London is found murdered in the backyard of her home and her fourteen-year-old daughter missing, the police can find no clue as to motive, let alone suspect. After suffering grievous wounds on his last case, Detective Chief Inspector Grant Foster has finally returned to work, only to be severely restricted by the bureaucratic “plan” carefully prescribed by the department’s health professionals.

Thrilled to have Foster back, Detective Inspector Heather Jenkins commiserates with her partner’s irritation. The two have always complemented one another’s abilities, especially on such challenging cases. Even worse, the daughter’s chances of rescue diminish with each passing day. But Waddell adds to the payoff, taking a shocking murder case and adding yet another layer to frustrate the detectives: a link to a crime committed generations earlier.

Somehow the past is intricately tied to the present through this murder. This unique twist is what makes Waddell’s thriller so unusual and seductive, the bridge to the past that threatens the present - and the lives of more innocent victims. What initially appears to be an isolated event proves to be a carefully wrought series of crimes, all under the radar of local law enforcement.

Besides an eclectic cast of characters - the detectives, their superiors, and a police profiler - genealogist Nigel Barnes becomes a critical player, a pivotal figure in unraveling the connections that lead Foster and Jenkins across the sea to Salt Lake City, Utah, and the massive genealogical archives of the Church of the Latter Day Saints.

The author pushes beyond standard fare, perfectly capturing the nuances of modern-day police work and the daily frustrations and endless layers of bureaucracy that hinder speedy resolution. Behind the murder is a more sinister agenda that defies the imagination and reveals a tangled web of family, religion and rebellion.

A crime of passion committed years before in a staunchly religious family leads to a string of murders, one person left on a death list - and that a rebellious boy in foster care. It is all here: the twisted motives, the vendetta of religiously supported blood atonement and the fate of a fourteen-year-old girl destined to pay for the impulsive actions of her forbear.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Luan Gaines, 2009

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