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Splinter in the blood - review

We all like to read things we recognise, it either points out what we do or actually don't know, it's sort of a game isn't it.
We all know a little about certain things, whether they be Police procedure, how characters act/talk or we also think we know things about 'things'. 
Ashley Dyer proves that she or rather they know things much better than we do.

'They' are a new dream team, one of the countries longest established CWA writers in Margaret Murphy, she's delved in dark and detective things for about 20 years and is always fresh, here she is working with a real expert, Helen Pepper, a senior lecturer in Policing.

What works best is that Margaret must be about the best researcher for detail there is, she has an incredible skill to store and use details about minutiae that on the surface may appear irrelevant, but, the more you read and the deeper into the minds of the characters you go, the more you realise those very small words and observations were crucial, they could be life or death.

I also really like theta although the book is set in Liverpool, it is not a Liverpool book, that's been done, what they do here is use Liverpool and just, again place seeds of interest, enough to say, well, come and see yourself sometime, after all it is a great city.

So, we have a very nasty serial killer, he is something of a thorn in the side, or rather a thorn into and under the skin of the police, they also have a problem, their chief investigating officer is in a mess, his marriage is failing, he's downing bottles of scotch and he's actually maybe dead, just as we start to chase the Thorn Killer. So, he's left his main associate, Ruth Lake loose and she has problems of her own too, she has for reasons we don't know (now) tampered with a crime scene and she knows she maybe in trouble. Greg Carver was slumped in a chair with an empty bottle of whiskey and a gun smoking at his side, he's the main 'tec... She removes his notes and the gun and seems to be on the run from her own force, all the time still actually working within... this is very clever and seriously well done.

The detail is the devil of this book, there is much to be amazed by, akin to classics like Christie you have to pay attention to what is said and what is seen and yet, you spend most of your time not wanting to and effectively just watching bad things happen to seemingly nice people.

One little character here and there really stands out, Peggy is a key bit part and Youtube and a theatrical rant is another, the rush to solve things seemingly about the two cases which we know are linked, is the thing Ruth has to do almost on her own, because she knows... If she does or says the wrong thing she is cooked and so is Greg.

The detail of the botany and forensics and guns and theatre and local area and relationships and much more is sensational.

The Thorn killer abducts and holds his victims, all are female and all are covered in at first crude tattoos, but ongoing ones that become more intricate and revealing, if you know what they mean... There is philosophy and psychology aplenty and we meet some superb characters along the way, Psychics who may or not know things, a small gain is in finding out about Lyall Gaines, he is a real enigma, he seeds doubts and offers tantalising insights, but why is he so close to Ruth all the time...

As with all mystery books, we need to not know until the right time, the scene in the posh offices for one is a fantastic swerve. The wandering around a posh house in leafy suburbs apparently seeing clues and yet not knowing if they are real or plants, that's a slight pun  by the way, is another. Maybe a new police detective called Ivey was too?

The depth of menace in the book is maniacal, we find out about poisons, guns, dodgy deals and what is hidden from each other in many ways.

It is a brutally readable and absorbing book, you really do need to pay attention, it is not a skim and smile at the clues read, they are there, always there, you sense some of them, but you jump as we always should to conclusions and as always ... well..read it and see.

Ashley is chairing the event in Bolton on Weds 27th Feb 1pm at the Library with Harriet Tyce and Alex Michaelides.
You can as always ask for books to be signed beforehand via Paypal to tonythebook@live.co.uk or after we may have a few left, although this time I do doubt it, Mel the main event organiser has just been recognised as the best in the country for her work at the library with book events, she's striving to keep the best coming for her readers and we who support her are just lucky to be part of it. You can be too by a few follows on Eventbrite or Twitter and also Facebook.

Harriet and Alex are £10 each Ashley is £7 you can get all three for just £25 and that includes free delivery....