A middle-of-the night phone call summons NYPD Detective Chiara Corelli and her partner, Detective P.J. Parker, to a politically sensitive murder scene. The victims—a U.S. Senator, the pastor of a mega church, and a self-made music industry billionaire—appear to have been killed during a sex orgy.
Pressure is mounting to cover up the circumstances. But Corelli and Parker are enraged by the words scrawled in blood on a mirror, and their hearts are broken by what they find hidden in a closet. Now the partners vow to find the killer and expose the unsavory lives of these men while seeking justice for the real victims in this case—the children..
A Message in Blood is book #3 in the Chiara Corelli Mystery Series.
FROM THE AUTHOR
"I started A Message in Blood, the third book in the NYPD Detective Chiara Corelli series, about ten years after I completed the second book and I was afraid I’d lost touch with the characters and wouldn’t be able to recreate the feeling of the books. But I was wrong. NYPD Detective Chiara Corelli and Detective P.J. Parker were alive and well in my head. And, I loved writing about them. The fun thing, and a big surprise, was seeing both characters evolve and grow in ways that I hadn’t envisioned. In this book, each begins to deal with issues in her past, each moves ahead romantically and Parker becomes more a full partner and a friend to Corelli.
When I started writing A Matter of Blood, the first book in the series, I was inspired by my favorite mystery author, Elizabeth George, to create two main characters. George’s books are set in England and she uses class to create conflict between her characters, Lord Thomas Lynley, a wealthy Earl, and Barbara Havers, a commoner with an anti-royal chip on her shoulder.
But Corelli and Parker turned out to be nothing like Lynley and Havers. And the conflict in the books is very different. Though Corelli is white and Parker is black, race isn’t a factor in their conflict. Nor is Corelli’s night school college education versus Parker’s Yale undergrad and Harvard Law credentials and her position as a former Assistant District Attorney.
Initially, it was being forced to work together that generated sparks between them. Corelli needed someone to watch her back and Parker wanted homicide so though Corelli didn’t want a babysitter and Parker didn’t want to work with the most hated detective in the NYPD, they ended up together.
But the main source of their conflict becomes Corelli’s PTSD. After multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, seeing her lover killed in Afghanistan, and three months undercover in a group of brutal rogue cops, some of them her friends, she has nightmares, flashbacks and a lot of rage which she dumps on Parker. More and more, Parker fights back and forces Corelli to take responsibility for her actions.
And, oh, Corelli’s feelings for the lovely Brett Cummings spur her on to deal with her guilt over her dead lover.
Another surprise for me was how much I enjoyed revisiting Corelli’s apartment, especially her bathtub. Corelli lives on the far west side of Manhattan in the Meat Packing District, a trendy commercial area of cobblestone streets adjacent to Greenwich Village that used to be home to hundreds of meatpacking plants and slaughterhouses. Many of the cavernous spaces once occupied by the meatpacking plants have been converted to apartments and are now filled with hip restaurants and clubs.
Corelli inherited one of these industrial buildings from her uncle. He had divided it into multiple rental units including her huge top-floor duplex apartment with Hudson River views. One of my favorite features of her apartment is her bathtub, a huge industrial vat too large to be removed in the renovation, where she often soaks with a glass of wine and stares out at the dark waters of the Hudson River and the lights of New Jersey.
A Message in Blood is written as a standalone so even if you haven’t read A Matter of Blood or The Blood Runs Cold, I hope you’ll take a chance and read it."
Betty H. - It’s been a while since I’ve read such an exciting mystery novel. The plot is complex and intriguing, with twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the end. The main characters are very well developed but the secondary characters, and especially the bad guys, are equally well done. The pace of the plot is perfect. It seemed like the story never slowed. There was always something new happening. Even with the heavy subject matter, there is also a positive, upbeat feeling to the story, especially toward the end, and not just about the investigation. A lot of this feeling is because of the characters themselves.
I’m very glad I read this novel. The mystery and investigation is complete and I never felt I was missing something I needed from the earlier books. Having said that, I definitely want to go back now and read the earlier books in this series. This novel has my highest recommendation, and if the earlier stories are anything like this one, they will also have the same recommendation.
Eh S. - Maoirisi delivers another excellent crime drama, this time touching on child trafficking and handles what could be a horrific scenario with a careful hand and a lot of compassion. Seeking justice for those involved shows us how well Corelli and Parker have grown as a team. Corelli has come a long way finding resources to help her manage her PTSD and we learn more about P.J.’s past which adds another level of depth to my new favourite crime fighting duo. This case had plenty of possible perps and it was fun working through the clues and motives. The secondary characters show their support and add warmth and humanity to these detectives and the crimes they solve.
I hope this isn't the last we see of this series and these detectives. I’d love to see more cases to solve and relationships to grow in Corelli and Parker’s future, even if they are with different women. A pleasure to read.
Lex Kent's Reviews - This is such an excellent mystery series! It’s really well done and each book is better than the last. This is the third and possibly final book in the series and I could not stop reading it.
The mystery is all contained in this one book so you could start the series here if you really wanted to. I would recommend starting at book one, A Matter of Blood or at least I would suggest reading book two, The Blood Runs Cold, first. The main character Corelli has had some incredible growth in this series. I like my detectives flawed and a bit moody so I always enjoyed her character but it’s still great seeing the new person she is becoming. Anyway, there is the growth in Corelli, the experience and backbone her partner grew, and just other relationships that you would miss out on if you didn’t start reading this series at book one.
The way this book ended had a nice wrap up for not only the case but the characters too. It had the feel that this might be the end. If it is the end, I will really miss this series. Maiorisi is so good at writing mysteries that I hope if this is the end, that she will write more crime/mystery or even intrigue/suspense-romance books. I think she was born to write these types of genres and I’d love to read more of them by her. If you could not guess by my glowing review, I would absolutely recommend this series to all mystery fans.
Skip S. - 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.
R. Swier - This was a very fast paced and well written mystery. There were many different characters involved within this storyline which added to the realistic feel of it. Since this is a series, reading the other two books will give you additional background information on the characters. However, the author does provide snippets of information to help with the understanding. But no matter what, this is the book to read.
Emma S. - A Message in Blood is brilliant! The depth and research that must have gone into this book must have been extensive. Due to the nature of the story, sexual abuse, and child trafficking, it is obviously a very hard subject to read about, so it's not for everyone. Hands down to the author again for tackling such a difficult subject to write about. The book itself is a page-turner...a gripping murder mystery with plenty of twists and turns.
Claire E. - I love a good lesbian detective novel and this one is an excellent example as to why, there is nothing more satisfying as reading about a network of strong women, mostly queer who work together to find justice for women and girls. Fantasy? Maybe but a good one. In this book the author wanted to shine a light on the horror of child sex trafficking and I think she did an excellent job. Called in to investigate the murder of three prominent men, Detective Chiara Corelli and P.J. Parker are horrified by the scene and what they find hidden in a closet upstairs, furious and determined that there will be no cover up, they are continually shocked by the extent and reach of the child sex trafficking they uncover.
This is the third book in a trilogy and I hadn't read the first two but was still able to follow the story, Corelli's ex-military cop is a familiar one and I would really like to see and hear more about Parker a Black police detective and ex-ADA. I enjoyed the way their working relationship developed and how they didn't shy away from exploring racism. Corelli is also healing from PTSD again, a familiar story line but one handled with sensitivity and with a view to healing which is different from the hard drinking broken person narrative. There is a lot in this book which really shows the power of a good crime novel especially with a network of kick-ass, mostly female, mostly queer people determined to do what they can in a corrupt society.