One Drop of Blood

A Novel

About The Book

As the director of the Department of the Army's Central Identification Laboratory, Robert Dean "Kel" McKelvey has made a career solving some of the country's most complex identification cases. The CIL is responsible for identifying all U.S. war dead from battlefields old and new around the world. The caseload is endless, the endgame invaluable. Kel's work -- the examination of a bone or bone fragment -- may bring blessed closure to thousands of military families and loved ones left behind. But after fifteen years at the CIL, Kel is fast approaching emotional meltdown. And that's when he encounters his thorniest case yet: the recovery of Jimmie Carl Trimble, a soldier from Arkansas who died a hero's death during the Vietnam War. When a rare DNA sequence turns up at both the Army and FBI labs, it points to the unthinkable: a link between Trimble and a forty-year-old unsolved racial killing in the Arkansas delta. Partnered uneasily with the volatile FBI Special Agent Michael Levine, Kel must peel back decades of silence to reveal a complex web of stolen identity, betrayal, patriotism, collusion, and lies.

Taking readers deep inside the fascinating world of military and civilian forensic science, One Drop of Blood is a pitch-perfect thriller by a talented new author who knows the terrain better than anyone.

About The Author

Photo Credit:

Thomas Holland is presently the Scientific Director of the Department of Defense's Central Identification Laboratory, the largest skeletal identification laboratory in the world. In this position he has led forensic recoveries around the world, from the barren deserts of Iraq to the steamy jungles of Vietnam to the snow-covered mountains of North Korea. In 1993, while conducting a recovery near the Killing Fields of Cambodia, his team came under a Khmer Rouge rocket attack and was forced to withdraw from its base camp under fire.

In the relative quiet of the Central Identification Laboratory, Holland holds the awesome responsibility for approving the identifications of all U.S. military personnel from past military conflicts. During his tenure this has included over 1000 soldiers from World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War, and the Vietnam War -- including the Vietnam Unknown Soldier from Arlington National Cemetery.

Holland received a bachelor's degree in fine art from the University of Missouri and a Master's degree and a Doctorate degree in anthropology from the same institution. He worked as an archaeologist and museum curator before taking a position with the Department of Defense. He is one of less than 80 Diplomates of the American Board of Forensic Anthropology, is a Fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, a member of the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors, a member of the Council of Federal Forensic Laboratory Directors, and a consultant to the New York State Police. He routinely briefs high-ranking military and government officials including the secretaries of State and Defense, and has served in scientific advisory roles to the National Institute of Justice and the International Commission on Missing Persons.

Holland and his laboratory are frequently featured on such programs as Discovery, Nightline, 60 Minutes, National Public Radio, and Nova.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (May 9, 2006)
  • Length: 352 pages
  • ISBN13: 9780743289115

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Raves and Reviews

"Forensic investigators don't get more real than Thomas Holland. One Drop of Blood is the first thriller in an exciting new series that looks at cold cases with lightning heat and speed -- a fascinating read." -- Linda Fairstein, New York Times bestselling author of Death Dance

"Holland's debut novel is a riveting read -- filled with duplicity, cover-up, mystery and the realities (and frustrations) of forensic science. This is an engrossing thriller that immerses the reader in an historical injustice that only One Drop of Blood can resolve." -- Dr. Michael Baden and Linda Kenney, authors of Remains Silent

"This is the best first novel I've read in years. Thomas Holland has solid forensic science credentials -- he's a leading expert in his field. That might get you to pick up this book, but block out some time -- you won't want to put it down. Engaging characters, high-octane suspense, and Holland's remarkable storytelling skills combine with a voice that's fresh, strong and true to provide a terrific read." -- Jan Burke, author of Bloodlines and Bones

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