Book Review: Blood Type X, J.L. Delozier

Book Review: Blood Type X, Persephone Smith series, J.L. Delozier

Blood Type X, J.L. Delozier

Thriller: Blood Type X, J.L. Delozier

Dr. Persephone “Seph” Smith, FBI profiler, has a box of photos. The pictures are of William Blaine, the most wanted criminal in the world, responsible for the pathogen that killed nearly 50% of the world’s population. She caught him, once, but he escaped, and someone has now sent her a box of photos of him. The clues lead her and her partner first to France, then to the Basque region of Spain, once again on the trail of the evil genius.

 

Author and doctor J.L. Delozier has created a fierce and wonderful heroine in her trilogy of books about Seph Smith. We first met Smith in Storm Shelter, then saw her confront Blaine for the first time in Type and Cross. Now, her battle with Blaine sometimes takes second place to her battle with her own demons. Too many losses, too many bodies, have sent Smith to seek refuge in alcohol. It may numb the nightmares, but it does not remove either the pain that haunts her or the criminal that awaits her. Seph has a heightened sense of empathy. She is able to sense the emotions of others–which in a time of catastrophic death is an almost crippling challenge. This gives her an advantage in developing a profile of criminals, but can make it difficult living her daily life.

 

Delozier’s medical experience informs her writing without making it overly technical or dry. She never forgets her plot or her characters when dropping in details about the reactions to chemo drugs and other medical details. I will admit to wondering at one point whether she had either witnessed a taser or possibly experienced one herself (no doubt in the desire to get the details correct and not from any unfortunate interactions with the police).

 

Her descriptions of the settings are also vivid. Whether she has actually visited the areas in her books or has successfully used her research to picture the locations in her mind, she effectively lets the reader see France and Spain through her writing.

 

Delozier is a local author and one of the leaders of the Nittany Valley Writers Network (State College, Pennsylvania). She is also a friend of ours. That being said, we only review books we like–even when friends write them. We like this book.

 

A flawed but triumphant heroine. A brilliant and psychopathic enemy. The beauty of Europe. J.L. Delozier’s latest thriller has it all. Read all three of the books to get Seph Smith’s full story, and enjoy.

 

J.L. Delozier will be at State College’s 2019 PA Bookfest on Saturday, July 13, 2019. This week we are featuring authors who will be part of the bookfest, part of an annual tradition we started last year celebrating authors who are from our local area.

 

Also see:

Book Review: Type and Cross, Persephone Smith series, J.L. Delozier

Book Review: Storm Shelter, Persephone Smith seriesJ.L. Delozier

 

Blood Type X, J.L. Delozier

Book Review: Blood Type X, J.L. Delozier

Book Review: Storm Shelter, J.L. Delozier

Book Review: Storm Shelter, Persephone Smith seriesJ.L. Delozier

Storm Shelter, J. Delozier

Mystery & Thriller: Storm ShelterJ.L. Delozier

Storm Shelter is a prequel novel to J.L. Delozier’s debut thriller, Type and Cross. Protagonist Persephone “Seph” Smith is a psychologist with the V.A. She also gets deployed during emergencies to crisis areas. A pending hurricane sends her from her home in Philadelphia to a shelter in Texas, but she quickly finds that the hurricane is the least of the problems facing the team and the evacuees.

 

Soon after the storm arrives, strange things begin happening. A volunteer with diabetes has a blood sugar crisis, despite wearing his insulin pump. At first this seems like a normal deviation for someone under stress, but the behaviors and emotions of both staff and evacuees seem off, more than can be explained by just the storm. Then, a cook is viciously murdered. As Seph and the other staff look for the murderer, they realize it is only the beginning. Something terrible is happening inside the shelter, and no one is safe.

 

Seph finds that it is difficult to know who to trust and who is affected by the mysterious problems. The team leader is a doctor with a hair-trigger temper. The head of security is a Bronx native without a lot of experience. The priest is a little too fascinated with women’s feet. With these allies, confronting the challenges posed by the evacuees is hard enough. The evacuees include two half-brother gangsters with Aryan leanings, a vietnam veteran with mental issues, a pedophile cowboy, and a hooker with a fondness for yellow. As you can tell by the descriptions, Delozier brings in a wonderful collection of secondary characters to add flavor to the story.

 

Storm Shelter is Delozier’s (and Seph Smith’s) second book, but it’s easy to see why the author recommends reading this one first. It takes place about a decade before the events in Type and Cross. Smith is younger, in a different place in her career, and in a different place in her life. She is less sure of herself, less experienced in trusting her gut, and less able to lead others to follow her. In Storm Shelter, though, she begins to find the toughness we see more fully developed in Type and Cross. Throughout the book we see her grow, become willing to step up when she is needed, and by the end take charge and become the leader her team needs.

 

Delozier’s own experience as a doctor helping in emergency situations shows in her writing. Storm Shelter  is full of small details that make the situation more real. The team suffers from exhaustion as the week progresses. The coffee is awful, the food is bad, and they can’t get clean. Their appearance suffers as their tiredness increases. People make poor decisions, tempers are frayed, and the characters reveal more about themselves in their exhaustion than they do when they are more in control of themselves. I suspect that this is reflective of reality in those situations–though hopefully without a similar body count!

 

Storm Shelter is not a long book, but it is a tight thriller with a dramatic conclusion. Seph Smith is a heroine worth following. I hope that Dr. Delozier has many more sequels–or prequels–to come.

 

Also see:

Book Review: Type and Cross, Persephone Smith series, J.L. Delozier

 

Storm Shelter, J. Delozier

 

Book Review: Storm ShelterJ.L. Delozier

Book Review: Type and Cross, J.L. Delozier

Book Review: Type and Cross, Persephone Smith series, J.L. Delozier

 

Type and Cross, J.L. Delozier

Thriller: Type and CrossJ.L. Delozier

Persephone “Seph” Smith is a profiler. Her acute empathy allows her to get into the minds of criminals, understanding the way they see the world and sometimes anticipating their next moves. When a killer executes a plot to release a deadly virus into the world, one with the potential to kill well over half the population, Seph is called to join the team pursuing him. What follows is a globe-trotting chase matching Seph’s wits against those of a killer who seems just as capable of seeing through her as she is of seeing through him.

 

J.L. Delozier is a doctor with years experience in both community medicine and in treating people during the worst of emergencies. Her clinical expertise shows in the details of the book, but does not overwhelm the story. This may say something about me, given that the book is about a mass murderer using biological weapons to cull the population, but I found the book to be a very enjoyable read. Seph is a thoughtful protagonist, capable of using her intelligence to track and capture the criminal, but also one who considers seriously the ramifications of life and death when confronted with the reality of plague in a modern era.

 

Type and Cross raises some interesting questions. What would people do when they knew they had a month to live? Delozier poses some intriguing possibilities. Some would turn to religion. Some would see an opportunity to strip off the veneer of civilization and give in to much baser instincts: rape and pedophilia, for example. Some would withdraw their savings and take that “bucket list” trip. Others would huddle close to loved ones. These possibilities are not dwelt upon. They are listed as observations Seph makes as the world confronts mass mortality, but they show the depth of the author and the character. We are mortal creatures who never fully accept our mortality. Each of us tends to live as though we have all the time in the world. Curiously, though, that refusal to bow to the inevitable might make us powerful enough to live beyond our years.

 

Seph realizes she will die. (Spoiler, though, she doesn’t.) The disease will kill almost everyone. This gives her an element of freedom to pursue a hurried relationship that, if they had more than a month to live, might not have developed. It pushes her to appreciate and welcome her family roles as a sister and an aunt. But it also focuses and motivates her to complete her task and find the killer. If she dies, when she dies, she will die doing what she is supposed to do. Ultimately, that may be all any of us can live for.

 

I am looking forward to finishing the prequel book, Storm Shelter. Although Type and Cross was published first, it should be regarded as the second book in the series according to the author. Regardless of the order you read them, J.L. Delozier has given us a delightful protagonist who may have to save the world again someday. I am glad she is up to the task.

 

Also see:

Book Review: Storm Shelter, Persephone Smith seriesJ.L. Delozier

 

Type and Cross, J.L. Delozier

Book Review: Type and CrossJ.L. Delozier