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BOOK
CSI: New York
Blood on the Sun

Author: Stuart M. Kaminsky
Pocket Books
RRP: 6.99
ISBN 1 416 106 7
Available 03 April 2006


A modest home in a suburban Queens neighbourhood is the unlikely site of a grisly crime scene: a married couple and their daughter are found brutally murdered. Missing from the scene is the couple's young son, and Mac Taylor and Danny Messer soon uncover signs of a possible kidnapping. Can they find him before it's too late? In a heavily Orthodox Jewish neighbourhood in Brooklyn, the body of a devoutly religious man is found ritually displayed on the floor of his synagogue. Stella Bonasera and Aiden Burn initially suspect a fringe fundamentalist group that has had run-ins with the victim's congregation, but the group is led by a charismatic and antagonistic man who does everything he can to stonewall the team's investigation. Two very different crimes, with one thing in common: CSI investigators who won't stop until they uncover the truth...

Blood on the Sun is the latest book based on the work of the CSI: New York forensic team. Detective Mac Taylor is a dedicated crime scene investigator who believes that everything is connected and everyone has a story. He and Detective Stella Bonasera lead a team of crack forensic experts through the gritty and kinetic world of New York City as they piece together clues and eliminate doubt to ultimately crack their cases.

This release, like the TV series examines two crimes that come under the jurisdiction of the CSI: New York team. The first crime is the brutal slaughter of three members of one family (and possible rape of one member) and the second revolves around what appears to be a serial killer who is killing men of God. There is also a third crime... of sorts - the impending death of Bonasera. The book opens with a stalker watching her apartment and it soon becomes apparent that he is planning on murdering her.

Author Stuart M. Kaminsky certainly knows his subject matter. It's always refreshing to read a book like this where the author's writing flows as easily as one of the TV episodes. It's also great to actually be able to hear the characters talking as the words come off the page. Kaminsky has certainly done his homework where it counts.

I did have a few issues, be they minor, with this book though. Firstly I was a little unsure of the accuracy of the computer technology that was described briefly in this book. There is a scene where the CSI team is trying to piece together how a number of murders were committed in one room. A computer simulation is used, and altered on the fly. This software allows the user to input certain information and see how the murders may have happened. Firstly the software seemed to perform a little too quickly to be believable, and secondly I couldn't understand what the point of the description of the computer generated face of one of the characters in the programme was all about. Surely software used for that sort of application would not be so detailed (it would slow the running speed down) and secondly wouldn't the programmer have to input that sort of information?

I also had a slight, but only very slight, problem keeping up with all the new names introduced as the stories unfolded. That's a general problem with books of this type, and to be honest wasn't something that was overly problematic.

The conclusion to both crimes was interesting. While you'll probably work out the true account of the family slaying before the final reveal, it's doubtful that you'll be able to work out the killer behind the religious murders - there are so many red herrings along the way.

On the whole this is an almost faultless execution of a gripping CSI: NY tale.

Nick Smithson

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