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BLOODMAN
Author: Robert Pobi
Published by Thomas & Mercer
Paperback:  $14.95  Digital: $9.99

Ex-cop Jake Cole is the son of famous artist (painter) Jacob Coleridge and now an independent
contractor to the FBI. In Bloodman he arrives back in his home town to find that his father, now
suffering from Alzheimers,is in hospital having set himself on fire in an apparent drunken state. Jake
has eidetic (total recall) memory like the Carrie Wells character in the television show "Unforgettable"
and thus he can look at a crime scene, take it all in, and then remember important minute details at a
later time. This has helped build his reputation in the Bureau.

The local law enforcement officer, Sheriff Mike Hauser, asks Jake to help out on a strange and violent
case of murder where two people, a young mother and her son, have been killed in a most barbaric
manner, skinned alive. The mother forced to watch her son being killed and skinned with the same 
fate awaiting her. This is quite graphically described, as are all the deaths and crime details throughout
the 400+ pages and they do induce the grotesque shock the author intended.

Jake discovers that the dead woman and her child have a connection to his family and then as the murders
continue, including his wife and child, it becomes apparent that all the dead people are similarly connected.
The story evolves and revolves around Jake coming to terms with his life, his father, his family in general.
His eidetic memory is as much of a curse as a boon and he often has problems determining memory from
the present. We see many sides of Jake as he searches for the killer and we are led on many goose chases
as the clues to the killer switch between the characters, keeping the reader not exactly on a knife edge but
with enough food for thought.

The author plays mind games with us throughout, sometimes being obvious and other times obtuse in the
amount of detail given, keeping just enough back so as not to tip his hand too soon. I "knew" who the killer
was after a couple of hundred pages and a few pages later I "knew" I was wrong in my assumption. I like
to be honest in my written thoughts on books and games and thus I always attempt to prevent myself  saying
"to be honest" or "if i am to be honest" so if you can imagine one of those introductions preceeding this next bit
... while reading I had the feeling of deja vu. Not sure if I had seen some of it before, such as in the movie Sixth
Sense, or read it in a James Patterson thriller. However I will admit  to not seeing the Agatha Christie moment
coming until it arrived, and then I kicked myself for not expecting it.

It's not a by the numbers or run of the mill thriller and although there are resemblances to other such books and films
it is not a direct copy, to my knowledge, of any other tale. This book held my interest enough for me to read it through
in just a few sessions. It isn't a Patterson easy-readand it isn't a Le Carre mystery, in many ways it's a throw back to
the old style of Agatha Christie and Ngaio Marsh where the reader is fed tidbits and half truths so that the identity of
the main protagonist can be withheld until the last few pages and the reader shocked at the sudden discovery - the
Agatha Christie moment I mentioned earlier.

BLOODMAN would probably make a good movie but it would all depend on how it was directed. It would need to
be filmed like the Stieg Larsson movies, virtually scene by scene from the book, to have the best impact.

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015