By NANCY GRAPE
For his second novel, Maine writer Jerry Genesio of Bridgton takes readers back to the 1970s to explore the interwoven violence of international power politics and the U.S. commercial blood trade. It’s a fascinating topic and, in Genesio’s hands, it unfolds in a frightening world.
“Lamb’s Blood” exudes a strong sense of authenticity. Genesio draws on hard-won personal experience as he takes readers into a hidden world they’re not likely to have traveled before. Genesio provides a strong but vulnerable guide in seasoned journalist Mark Marino.
Marino lives up to the role of hero. He has been an international correspondent for a long time, but he is a correspondent who, like so many, is well aware of his vulnerability in the treacherous world he covers. Years before, we’re told, Marino had allowed officials to lie to him in Vietnam, and he carries a heavy burden for some of the destruction that ensued.
Yet he has not given up on integrity, and he clings to it at the time of this story, 10 years later, when he sees a chance to clear his personal slate and affirm his faith in the power of honest information.
While traveling, he witnesses an assassination attempt and a murder at Washington National Airport and resolves to bring the suspect to justice. It is a quest that puts him in peril and exposes him to greater danger facing the world.
But Marino cannot do it alone. He needs help. Marino heads first for Boston and a trusted colleague, Tony Rosati, who joins him, along with his daughter Rina. From there, “Lamb’s Blood” shapes itself into a still complex but more bluntly powerful chase story as Marino realizes his quarry is a Green Beret veteran of Vietnam who has successfully run off to Nicaragua.
Marino heads off in pursuit. And this brings us to some of the best parts of the book. Genesio knows Nicaragua from personal experience and he draws on that experience to lend his book the authenticity that distinguishes it.
Pick up “Lamb’s Blood.” Give it a read. You’ll know a good bit more about exploitation and abuse as well as the shrouded international worlds of commerce, domination and power when you put it down.
Nancy Grape writes book reviews for The Maine Sunday Telegram.