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A Matter Of Blood by Sarah Pinborough

The Blurb On The Back:

The recession that grips the world has left it exhausted. Crime is rising in every major city. Financial institutions across the world have collapsed, and most governments are now in debt to The Bank, a company created by the world’s wealthiest men.

But Detective Inspector Cass Jones has enough on his plate without worrying about the world at large. His marriage is crumbling, he’s haunted by the deed of his past, and he’s got the high-profile shooting of two schoolboys to solve – not to mention tracking down a serial killer who calls himself the Man of Flies.

Then Cass Jones’ personal world is thrown into disarray when his brother shoots his own wife and child before committing suicide – leaving Cass implicated in their deaths. And when he starts seeing silent visions of his dead brother, it’s time for the suspended DI to go on the hunt himself – only to discover that all three cases are linked ...

As Jones is forced to examine his own family history, three questions keep reappearing: what disturbed his brother so badly in his final few weeks? Who are the shadowy people behind the Bank? And, most importantly, what do they want with DI Cass Jones?

It’s the near-future. When the financial crisis didn’t end, the world’s wealthiest men clubbed together to form The Bank in a bid to save the global economy. The Bank now owns most of the world’s assets.

DI Cass Jones works out of Paddington station in a police force where most officers have a cosy relationship with criminals, taking bribes to look the other way as a supplement to their poor pay. While investigating a serial killer called the Man of Flies thanks to his habit of leaving the insects over the body of his victims, Jones becomes involved in investigating the mistaken shooting of two schoolboys. As he becomes aware of an apparent connection between the cases, his estranged brother, Christian, phones him, saying that he can give him a chance of redemption. Shortly afterwards, Christian is found dead together with his wife and son and Cass finds himself implicated and threatened with suspension. As Cass works to clear his name, he discovers that the answers he needs can be found in the family history he’s tried to forget.

Pinborough’s novel, the first of a trilogy, is a dark and compelling read the mingles police procedural, urban fantasy and outright horror to great effect. Cass Jones is a complex hero, tortured by a terrible choice he was forced to make while undercover that’s blighted his life since. A compulsive womaniser, his relationship with wife Kate is on the skids yet neither can make the break and he’s not close to his brother, who works for the Bank. Yet for all his moral greyness he believes in doing his job, as does his sergeant, Claire May and they make a determined team.

There are enough twists and turns within the story to keep it interesting, albeit some of the surprises are easier to guess than others. What works particularly well is the way Pinborough ekes out the back story, which works to flesh out both characters and situation and also contributes to the set up for the next book in the trilogy.

The only thing that doesn’t quite work is the Bank. Although linking its establishment to the financial crisis is clever, the way in which it then evolves into an all-powerful economic entity doesn’t convince and is the only contrived note in the book.

Nevertheless, it’s a thoroughly entertaining read and I await the sequel with anticipation.

The Verdict:

A dark and compelling fusion of urban fantasy, horror and police procedural, this is a very promising start to a trilogy that has an interesting over-riding mystery to carry it through. I greatly look forward to reading the sequel.

A MATTER OF BLOOD was released in the UK on 25th March. Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the ARC.

I am giving away a copy of both the ARC for A MATTER OF BLOOD by Sarah Pinborough and UNHOLY GHOSTS by Stacia Kane on my RL LJ here.

Cross-posted to books, bookworming, fantasywithbite, horror_novels and urbanfantasyfan.

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