Saturday 12 February 2011

Bloodline - Mark Billingham

Andy Thorne is investigating a series of Murders. Each murder victim has been killed in the same way and discovered with a piece of X-ray film clutched in their hands. It is quickly revealed that the mother of each victim was murdered by Raymond Garvey. It becomes a race for the police to find the remaining offspring of the Garvey victims and to catch the killer. Meanwhile Thorne is undergoing his own personal issues.

I have said it many times before that I am not much of a crime reader but that's not why I didn't enjoy this book. I had just finished watching the latest series of Bones on DVD and I was in the mood to read some good crime which is why I picked it up from my very large 'to read' pile. When I first bought this book I had thought it was American. I also thought that the author had also written the film Copycat. That would normally have put me off but the plot looked interesting enough for me to want to buy it.

I should point out that I am not a lover of all things American over British. I do enjoy British authors and actually the crime books I have read my favourites have been Scottish. It's just that British and American authors have very different writing styles. Particularly when it comes to crime. It was American I was in the mood for thanks to the TV show that I had watched and so was disappointed when I realised that wasn't the case (the fact that the book mentions London early on was a big giveaway too).

I could have gotten over that but I also broke one of my rules. I normally like to start with an authors first book. Especially when all his books, although can be read as standalone, have the same main character. Crime authors are famous for this but I don't know why I didn't think this one would be any different. I hate reading a book and I am expected to already know the main character. This one delves in straight away to Thorne and his partner going through a horrible situation. Had I read the series from the start I am sure I would have had more of an emotional attachment to the characters. But as I didn't I found it uncomfortable and then boring.

The crime plot line was everything I expected it to be when I first picked it up over a year ago now. It was a little predictable though and I guessed most of it in the first fifty pages. There was another unexpected twist at the end but the rest, whilst meant to be predictable, was a little too much so. I got bored with it half way through to be honest. As I said before though, if I had an emotional attachment to the characters then maybe I would have enjoyed it more. Plus I think I could have gotten to like the characters had I read the series from book 1. A while back a friend loaned me a Linda Fairstein book. Again it was half way through a series and I was expected to know the characters. Unlike this book though I knew I wouldn't have liked them even from book 1.

I do think that if you enjoy crime books generally you will probably enjoy it. My mum reads almost exclusively crime these days and she loved it. It's also an easy read. I got through it quite quickly.

What did surprise me though was some things about the author. After realising he was a British author I had to look him up. Turns out Mark Billingham was an actor and a comedian before he became a writer. I wouldn't recognise him from most of the things he has acted in. He did, however, have a part in Maid Marion which I loved as a child. He was one of the Sheriff of Nottingham's guards.

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