The year is 1958. O'Connor, a young reporter with the Las Piernas News Express, is desperate to discover who has perpetrated a savage attack on his mentor, Jack Corrigan. In and out of consciousness, Corrigan claims to have witnessed the burial of a bloodstained car on a farm, but his reputation as a heavy drinker calls his strange story into question. In a seemingly unrelated mystery, a yacht bearing four members of the wealthy Ducane family disappears during a storm off the coast. An investigation finds that the Ducane home has been broken into; a nursemaid has been killed; and Max, the infant heir, has gone missing. Corrigan recovers his health, but despite a police investigation and his own tireless inquiries, the mysteries of the buried car and the whereabouts of Maxwell Ducane haunt him until his death.
Twenty years after that fateful night, in her first days as a novice reporter working for managing editor O'Connor, Irene Kelly covers the groundbreaking ceremony for a shopping center -- which unexpectedly yields the unearthing of a buried car. In the trunk are human remains. Are those of the infant heir among them? If so, who is the young man who has recently changed his name to Max Ducane? Again the trail goes maddeningly, perhaps suspiciously, cold.
Until today. Irene, now married to homicide detective Frank Harriman, is a veteran reporter facing the impending closing of the Las Piernas News Express. With circulation down and young reporters fresh out of journalism school replacing longtime staffers, Irene can't help but wish for the good old days when she worked with O'Connor. So when the baffling kidnap-burial case resurfaces, Irene's tenacious love for her mentor and journalistic integrity far outweigh any fears or trepidation. Determined to make a final splash for her beloved paper and solve the mystery that plagued O'Connor until his death, Irene pursues a story that reunites her with her past and may end her career -- and her life.
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Simon & Schuster
January 09, 2005
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Excerpt from Bloodlines by Jan Burke
IF THE BLONDE HAD NOT PUT HER HAND ON JACK CORRIGAN'S THIGH, HE might have awakened in his own bed, rather than facedown on the side of a farm road in the middle of the night. Then he would have missed the burial.
Given his condition that night, he might have slept through everything that happened, but a cold wind cut through his clothing, rousing him. He rolled painfully onto his back and found himself looking up dizzily into the rustling, moonlit leaves of tall, thin trees. His perspective was marred by the alcohol in his veins, and the fact that his left eye was nearly swollen shut.
He closed his eyes and tried to recall how he had ended up here. He remembered the party and the blonde?
The blonde had smiled and said something to him, then she took another drag from her Lucky Strike.
Corrigan saw her heavily lipsticked red mouth form words, but he couldn't hear what they were. The rock-'n'-roll band was on a break, but someone had turned the radio up, and Jerry Lee Lewis's "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" was rattling the windowpanes. Conversation in the crowded room competed with the music by notching up the shouting level. An old injury kept him from joining the dancers. No, he admitted ?even if his ankle hadn't troubled him, this was not his kind of music. You old fogey, he told himself, and not yet out of your forties.
Not his kind of music, and not his kind of party, which was part of the problem with his mood tonight. He wouldn't have come, but Katy had sent him a note, specifically asking him to be here.
Despite the note, neither Katy nor her mother, Lillian Vanderveer Linworth, had seemed especially friendly when he arrived. That didn't surprise him. Harold Linworth, the birthday girl's father ?and Lillian's husband ?had politely despised him for years.
Katy's in-laws were there as well, Thelma and Barrett Ducane. Barrett was already hitting the sauce, but Thelma looked almost sober for once. Jack planned to catch up to Barrett as soon as possible.
Thelma let it drop that they had just talked Katy and their son Todd into coming along for an after-hours party on their yacht. A moonlight cruise on their new fifty-foot Chris-Craft Catalina.