A little of this, a little of that, mixing the right medicines with the blood of certain young people and voila, suddenly eternal youth is only a transfusion away. But it's costly and supplies are limited. Supplies being, of course, the humans who are kidnapped and held captive while tapped for the special gene in their blood.
In Blood World, author Chris Mooney has constructed a futuristic thriller set in Los Angeles — where better to place a quest for physical perfection — complete with an illegal industry along the lines of the drug trade. Dominated by cartels and to a lesser extent, boutique operations, the blood business attracts entrepreneurs chasing enormous profits by catering to the desire to be younger, trimmer and sexier.
Enter Ellie Batista, an LAPD patrol officer who desperately hopes to move up to the newly formed Blood Crimes Unit that investigates the illegal enterprise. She has a secret all her own — well several actually — that both explain why she wants to be in this special department and would endanger her prospects in that regard. In the meantime she spends extra hours at home gathering all available information on carriers who have disappeared into so-called "blood farms" and intelligence on the gangs who are known to be involved in the business.
At 7 p.m. Tuesday, best-selling author Mooney will celebrate the launch of his latest effort in a joint Facebook Live appearance with New York Times best-selling author Gregg Hurwitz hosted by Murder By The Book.
There's another quest in all this, a holy grail known as Pandora. As the perceived top-of-the-line version of the drug, customers want it as desperately as law enforcement officers want to find out who is making it. As it turns out, that would be Sebastian, a blood overlord who conducts his business like well, a business, albeit one shrouded in secrecy.
Racheting up the drama even further, a new player comes on the scene, with a supercharged drug that's like Pandora on steroids. The psychopath who heads this operation will kill anyone to achieve his ends and doesn't much care about the often lethal side effects of his new drug. Or what he does to the carriers he has collected and sometimes discarded.
As Batista goes undercover in this dangerous world, she leaves behind her boyfriend and her identity as a law enforcement officer. Aware that every move she makes is watched, monitored by electronic bugs and hidden cameras, she can't afford the slightest slip as she edges her way ever closer to the people in power.
Blood World hits all the marks for a good propulsive read with twists and turns right up to the end as we weigh who's going to live, who's going to die and whether anyone be left unscathed by science gone seriously astray in the hands of greedy people — greedy for youth, greedy for money, greedy for super powers at any cost to the innocents whose lives they destroy.
The Murder By the Book Facebook Live event on Tuesday, August 18 at 7 p.m. is free.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.