Book Review: “Three Drops of Blood” Lacks Direction and Cohesion

Three Drops of Blood by author Gretchen McNeil has been described as “A Good Girls Guide to Murder meets Hitchcock” and while it possesses some qualities of a promising read, its lack of coherent direction and meaningless character information leaves the story not only dripping blood but gasping for air.  

What is Three Drops of Blood about?

Being an actress, Kate is no stranger to drama. And when her chance at a leading role gets cancelled, she is willing to do whatever it takes to get her acting career back on track even if that means getting a boring office job at her best friend's father's law firm so she can prove to her parents she can to support herself rather than go back to high school. Now, rather than living life on the big screen, she is stuck filing mundane contracts and watching the people in the office across from hers live their equally boring lives.

But when Kate sees things heat up between a woman and her assistant, her new source of entertainment takes a turn for the worse when she witnesses a double murder. Now, she must get anyone to believe her and find out who this mystery woman is to get answers. But as she learns more and more about the circumstances leading to the gruesome act, she begins to realize there is a bigger mystery under the surface…

Three Drops of Blood is two different stories that weakly and hardly come together

The first paragraph in the above description is essentially the first half of this story – and I thought, a rather promising half. Kate is a young, hardworking, plus-sized actress who made an exciting debut as one of the main characters in a hit television series. The show gets axed due to behind-the-scenes issues, so she’s now on the hunt for her next project, which is tricky to navigate anywhere, but especially in cutthroat, highly-competitive Hollywood. Kate is also competing with those seemingly picture-perfect actresses like Belle, with whom she worked on the series. This all reeled me in and made me want to know more about Kate’s goals, challenges and where it would take her.

However, in what seems like writer’s block in the middle of the story, the author changes gears completely and pursues a surprise voyeuristic thriller tale. There was no continuity and it made no real sense, leaving the setting of the first half of the book completely in the dust. A double murder and an old love interest was apparently enough to derail the direction of the beginning chapters. While a weak tie-in is provided at the end, the journey to get there is a painful one that does not pay off.

There was some potential for this story but the potential gets lost in the murder hijacking that takes center stage. I liked Kate’s character, and her struggles with her family regarding her dreams of pursuing acting versus her parents’ desire that she pursue a safer (perhaps more boring) career made for good, relatable reading and solid character development. I liked the fictional insight into Kate’s appointment with her agent and her musings on auditions and other opportunities. Even the work at the law firm provided a reasonable contrast from the glitz and glamor of Kate’s pursuits as she is forced to make ends meet. But the affair/double murder scenario was completely lost on me, and unfortunately, between that event and the end of the book, Three Drops of Blood never won me back.

Three Drops of Blood will be released on March 21, 2023.

Jess Salafia Ward
Jess Salafia Ward is an Aussie, an attorney and a die-hard Disney fan. She grew up in a city not too far from P. Sherman, 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney; and she still enjoys dancing around in Snow White pajamas and serenading her family members with Sleeping Beauty’s “Once Upon A Dream” (though, unlike Princess Aurora, she is not blessed with the gift of song). Jess is an Elvis-lover like Lilo, and when she doesn't have her nose stuck in a book, she delights in sharing with fellow fans all things Disney, books, movies and history.