A Matter of Blood by Sarah Pinborough

Published by Gollancz (Orion Books)

If you enjoy a good crime tale and you’re also on the lookout for something a bit supernatural and not of this world to put the fear of god up your central character and you, the reader, then seek out ‘A Matter of Blood’ by Sarah Pinborough.

I’m late to this, as book two is already on the shelves and it’s a trilogy by the author, who was one of several new names to me for seeking out after this year’s Harrogate Crime Writing Festival.

Set a few years in the future, but with economic problems and ‘The Bank’ as a central mysterious and villainous organisation, the book has a huge resonance in the here and now of 2011.

The streets are plagued with people falling foul of ‘Strain 2’ – an Aids-like disease with no working drugs, and trapped in the middle of more than one horrific case as well as all the horrors that his world has to offer him, is DI Cass Jones.  A great character, haunted by his work, his own dark past, and the ghost of his brother – Cass is on the search for the truth into his brother, sister-in-law, and son’s deaths in what appears to have been a murder suicide.

There’s also the small matter of a killer on the loose, victims with ‘Nothing is sacred’ written on them in blood and then skilfully outlined with the eggs of flies.

As the dark trio of plots that run throughout the equally dark book, they appear to be heading towards a collision, somehow linked and with Cass racing to discover some truths before he looks set to be destroyed when they smash together.

Dark fantasy, dark crime, or just a bloody good pre-Halloween read – ‘A Matter of Blood’ delivers, and the premise that ‘The Man of Flies is Among Us’ is a very scary thought indeed.



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