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Life Sentences

In LIFE SENTENCES, 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. Teaming up with a handsome detective named Jack Makowski, Daisy follows Roy to a number of dead bodies, but none of them are Anna's. As Daisy realizes that Roy knows quite a bit 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.
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About the Author

Alice Blanchard grew up in Connecticut and studied in Boston and at Harvard. She is the author of a collection of short stories, The Stuntman's Daughter, which won the Katharine Anne Porter Prize, and of the novel, Darkness Peering. She has also receive


In Blanchard's (The Breathtaker) gripping but flawed novel, Daisy Hubbard works as a neurogenetics specialist, finding cures for fatal congenital brain disorders under the auspices of renowned Professor Truett at the country's top lab in Boston. Just as Daisy wins FDA approval for clinical trials on the cure for Stier-Zellar's disease, her schizophrenic sister Anna disappears. For the sake of her aging mother, Daisy goes to California to search for Anna with detective (soon to be lover) Jack Makowski. They uncover a series of murders linked to Anna's lover, Roy Hildreth, who confesses and fools them into thinking he's taking them to Anna's grave before escaping. Although the story unfolds in exciting sequences, implausible twists mar an otherwise good read. It's hard to believe that an ice-cold serial killer murders carriers of Stier-Zellar's disease because his daughter died of the illness and he wants to prevent its spreading or get even with it. Recommended with reservations for suspense collections.-Michelle Foyt, Russell Lib., Middletown, CT Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

'In truth, Blanchard writes so well that even her quiet descriptions of desolate towns and lonely people are good enough to rattle the rafters' New York Times Book Review 'A heart-pounding, highly literary novel full of stunning art and science. Blanchard's descriptions of what it feels and looks like to be inside a tornade at its full power are riveting and addictive' Dick Adler, Chicago Tribune

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. (Aug.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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