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One Drop of Blood

One Drop of Blood

A Novel

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.
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  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 352 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743289115 | 
  • May 2006
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The Pentagon brass make the designations: AWOL. MIA. KIA. Every soldier with a designation, and no man left behind. And Dr. Kel McKelvey is the man to bring those soldiers home -- from battlefields around the world. When a soldier's remains are found in the Catholic cemetery of Thanh Lay Hamlet outside of the rechristened Ho Chi Minh City, a reluctant Vietnamese government agrees to the repatriation of the body believed to be Master Sergeant Jimmy Lee Tenkiller. Tenkiller was a Native American...
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About the Author

Thomas Holland
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Thomas Holland

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.

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