St. Martin's, Sept 2001, 24.95, 352 pp.
From the very first page there is a foreshadowing of blood and tragedy, but thirty-five years old Norrie is the happiest she's been in her life. She is thrilled to have been awarded the Larkin Fellowship at Radcliff where they pay her for one year to paint in a studio of her own and relocate her to an apartment in Harvard Housing where she intends to do the brunt of her painting.
Her lover, Michael, an accomplished writer, is married but he seems ready to leave his wife and children for her. Having her own apartment, (her last one she shared with a roommate) allows Norrie and Michael to spend a lot of quality time together there. The only fly in the ointment is Clara, Norrie's next door neighbor, whose possessiveness turns Norrie against her. When one of the Larkies who happens to be Norrie's best friend is murdered, everyone on campus thinks Clara did it even though there is no evidence linking her to the crime.
BLOOD is an erotic, dark and foreboding work that is more about different relationships than a typical murder mystery. The first person narrative makes the action up close and personal while allowing the audience an insightful view into Norrie's thought processes. The action, though there's not a lot of it, is pivotal to the story line. Patricia Traxler is a very talented writer who exposes the dark side of the human psyche to the audience.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner