Blood For Blood

Written by J. M. Smyth

Review written by Karen Boyle

Karen spent 30+ years as a Civil Servant, mostly in Revenue which is where she developed my absolute hatred of poor writing skills! Her favourite genre is now crime/thriller/police procedural/legal genre with the occasional foray into chick-lit and general fiction.


Blood For Blood
Black and White Publishing
RRP: PBK £7.99 eBook £0.98
Released: July 14 2016
PBK & eBook

This is about a man brought up in care in Ireland and how he exacts revenge on those he holds responsible for his twin brother’s death.

The narrative is told entirely in the first person, mainly from the perspective of the protagonist but with occasional chapters from the perspective of two other central characters. It is quite a short novel and a fast read, although if you read it fast you may very well end up confused as it is one of the most convoluted stories I have ever read.

The protagonist speaks conversationally but changes the subject constantly, goes off on tangents, rants and eventually comes back to the original subject by which time I had forgotten what he was talking about to begin with.  If I had not read the back cover and cheated by reading the end before going back to the middle of the book I really would not have understood any of the story. I know as readers we do like it when authors keep us guessing, however, this protagonist didn’t just leave us guessing he says “If you knew the one overriding reason I had for doing this, you might understand.  But since I don’t give a fuck whether you understand me or not, my reasons are my own.”  That is just one example of many where the author antagonised me as a reader.

I did not feel that the characters were well developed, I could not feel sympathy for the protagonist despite his harsh upbringing in the Irish care system and I felt that the ending was wrong for the way the character had been portrayed, the kidnapped daughter did not engender any sympathy either, and the serial killer was entertaining.

He has devoted paragraphs to totally unnecessary detail, indeed an entire page gives a step by step account of how silage is made! As for the storyline it was, for me, completely unbelievable; I know violence and evil exist, it is a fact that there was a cruel regime in Irish care homes and that coincidences happen, however, so many things went wrong, it was like a comedy and it was just too far-fetched.

This is a book for readers who don’t mind gratuitous violence or ridiculous storylines and who want a fast read which will not overtax their brain.

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