Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Dan Kalla's "Blood Lies"

Born, reared, and still residing in Vancouver, Dan Kalla spends his days (and sometimes nights) working as an Emergency Room physician at an urban teaching hospital. He writes novels, too.

Kalla applied the "Page 99 Test" to his new thriller, Blood Lies, and reported the following:
My fourth novel, Blood Lies, is a Fugitive-style suspense thriller flavored with the science of forensic DNA evidence, the Pacific Northwest cross-border drug trade, and my ‘behind-the-curtains’ view of the ER (as a still practicing Emergency physician).

The hero, Dr. Ben Dafoe, is desperate to find out how his blood wound up caked on the walls at the savage murder scene of his former fiancĂ©e, Emily. Going on the run from Seattle to Vancouver, the young ER doctor assumes he is looking for his missing-and-presumed-dead identical twin who, like Emily, was another casualty of drug addiction. But Ben’s frantic journey takes him through the underworld of the drug trade on both sides of the international border and deep into a deceitful web where he eventually learns that, figuratively and literally, sometime blood lies.

By page 99, Ben is feeling the noose of suspicion tighten. He is stalked by an anonymous whisperer calling from Canada to warn him that the police already know that his blood has been found at the crime scene. Ben is beginning to wonder if his identical twin, Aaron, might be still alive, and therefore responsible for an indistinguishable DNA blood sample on the wall. The scene on page 99 takes place in the plush office of his high-powered defense attorney, Michael Prince. By this point, Ben’s life is in such upheaval that he doesn’t know whom to trust … including his own attorney.

Page 99:

When I finished, Prince viewed me poker-faced. “And you’re certain the calls originated in Canada?”

“According to my call display,” I said.

“Why Canada?”

“There could be a connection. Aaron had moved to Vancouver about a year before he died.”

Prince’s lips broke into a slight smile. “You mean before he disappeared.”

“I keep forgetting.”

His smile faded. “I won’t let you.”

Michael, I don’t think I can sit back and wait. The cops aren’t looking for any other suspects. They’re building the case against me.”

“Which may or may not be enough to even lead to charges,” Prince said, relaxing back in his seat. “We can’t stop them from investigating you. What we need to do is to focus on preparing your defense should it become necessary.”

I wasn’t ready to let it go. “Michael, didn’t you once defend the second victim, Jason DiAngelo, on charges of drug possession?”

The skin around his eyes tightened slightly. “And how is that relevant to you?”

“I’m not sure it is, but I’d heard that Philip Maglio hired you.”

“Which of course I can’t comment on,” Prince said dismissively. “Where are you going with this, Ben?”

“JD was a drug dealer who sold Emily black market HIV drugs. He worked for a supposed Seattle mob boss. A few days ago, I saw another drug dealer die in the Emergency Room of the same knife wound that killed JD. Maybe it’s all tied in somehow.”

Prince smiled reassuringly, but warning lurked behind the benign countenance. “Ben, we don’t have to produce alternate suspects. We don’t even have to prove your innocence. All we have to establish is reasonable doubt. And I think your missing brother will offer us that.”
Visit Dan Kalla's website and read an excerpt from Blood Lies.

--Marshal Zeringue