In The Blood by Lisa Unger – Book Review

[Categories: Books, Reading]

[No spoilers alert!   I think the LESS you know about this book the more you will appreciate it.]


Clever.  Clever, clever, clever.  And dark.  Very dark.

A fictional murder mystery, but not ‘just’ a murder mystery.

This is one of the most carefully, cleverly structured plots I’ve read.  Twists and turns that don’t lose you but keep you second-guessing the whodunits until the very very end. Absolutely superb.  Readers and writers who appreciate a well-crafted story will LOVE this.  (And what writers are not readers?)

Psychopaths.  Sociopaths.  Socio-psycho-, oh, I’m confused as to just what they are, but so are they.  Very confused and disturbed.  Brooding, introspective.  Ever so slightly very crazy.  The infrequent violence is not graphic but you get the point.  Lusters for blood porn need not apply.  It’s not adrenalin suspense either, IMO.  It’s thinking suspense.  Who, what, why, when, where.  Why, why?

A fellow blogger’s review at this site (you’ll have to search) inspired me to read the book but tells just a little bit of the story.

‘Blood’ author Unger sprinkles thought-provoking comments throughout the story (copyright 2014).  What is our plugged-in technology doing to us?  What about this hug for a greeting all the time?  I wonder about that.  Not a big deal but I grew up shaking hands with strangers, acquaintances, and friends.  Hugs were for family.  Now it seems we hug almost everyone.  Are we more intimate as a result, or less?

“…the psychopath is a mimic.  he learns to display emotions he doesn’t feel.  he seeks to blend into his group, whatever that is.  He will shape-shift and mold himself into whatever he needs to be to survive and thrive.  The United States is excellent at breeding psychopaths–a country where we reward the individual with a hyper focus on success at any cost.  We reward narcissism–with our social networks and hideous reality television programs. … In other cultures, where the individual subordinates himself more freely to the needs of family and society, we see fewer psychopaths.”  (p. 277)

Am I a psychopath for taking care of self?  Am I my brother’s keeper first?  Should I sacrifice?  Altruism?  Hmm.  Not sure I agree with ‘individual subordinates himself’, but it is just the kind of food for thought the author leaves here and there, giving you something smart to think about while inhaling this superb mystery.

I have a lot of reading already in my queue, but are Lisa Unger’s other books as well written as this?  I may have to see.

5 thoughts on “In The Blood by Lisa Unger – Book Review

  1. Thanks for the mention! Glad you enjoyed it so much. I have a friend who is a big Lisa Unger fan. She says that all her books are great, and she recommended Beautiful Lies as her very favorite. I think I’m going to give that one a shot soon.


  2. I see Beautiful Lies mentioned often. That may be my next Unger book also. This one absorbed me so that I MUST get some other things done. (Shouldn’t I? Hmm. I waited on this one to be available at my local library as I don’t want to own every book I read. Perhaps I’ll look at that queue.) I wanted to expound on plots more than I did in this review. I often wonder how writers of books, TV, and movies keep coming up with something different. Flashbacks, flash forward, multiple converging character stories. This one was so darn clever. I love figuring whodunits. This one I figured some bits but not a whole lot of other bits. I wonder if there is a book of plots somewhere. (OK, I’ll google.) Or some game or wallboard setup where you take cards of various plot pieces and chart them. Some TV is so predictable you can practically quote the dialog as it occurs. Plots, plots, plots. Perhaps there was some real life event that inspired Unger. She was just so good at diving deep into their psyche. And she’s apparently ‘normal’! Has a husband and daughter. Well, writers all are mostly, aren’t they? Grisham, a favorite, et al, diving into the dark side of humanity. Life is the weirdest plot of all, which is why I avoid the reality TV crime shows like 20/20 or 48 Hours. EW! as Jimmy Fallon would say. Wayyy too weird.


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