Blood Count by Robert Goddard

Blood Count by Robert Goddard

Robert Goddard is no stranger to writing, his latest novel “Blood Count” – to be published by Bantam Press on the 31st March in the UK – marks his twenty second novel in what has become a highly distinguished and successful career.

First published in 1986 with the bestselling “Past Caring”, Goddard is no stranger to the Sunday Times bestseller list with his last eight novels all appearing on the list. In his latest novel “Blood Count” a surgeon fights to protect everything and everyone he holds dear as he comes face to face with a Serbian warlord.

Blood Count” is my first introduction to the author’s work and if this gripping title is anything to go by then I for one will have to cast my beady eye on his back catalogue when time allows. The novel takes us on an intriguing journey of discovery, revenge and guile following the protagonist in and around a number of countries that include Argentina, Serbia, Switzerland and Italy.

The narrative is powerful and well thought out – Goddard wrapping up the book in an intelligent and plausible manner leaving no stone unturned – with hardly a sedentary moment in the book, Goddard writes at a frenetic pace that doesn’t let up until its dénouement.

“There’s no such thing as easy money. As surgeon Edward Hammond is about to find out. Thirteen years ago he performed a life saving operation on a Serbian gangster, Dragan Gazi. Gazi is now standing trial for war crimes in the international court in The Hague. After his life was saved, his men went on to slaughter thousands in the Balkan civil wars.

Now Gazi’s family want more from him: in exchange for keeping Hammond’s dirty little secret, they want him to find for them the man who holds the key to all the money Gazi squirreled away before he was locked up. But Italian financier, Marco Piravani, doesn’t want to be found, not by Hammond, not by anyone. No sooner has Hammond tracked him down, than Piravani has disappeared again.

His pursuit will take him first to the Hague, and then to Milan to find the Italian, and then finally back to the scene of his crime, Belgrade, where he must confront the decisions he once so easily took. Only then will he be able to lay the past to rest…”

Characterisation is strong. Edward Hammond is a likeable protagonist and I came away from the book wanting to discover more about him, his career and family – always a good sign. When we first meet Hammond he begins the journey as a confident and assured professional but following an unlikely meeting, that confidence quickly evaporates as he comes to terms with the predicament he faces.

Despite this confidence, I felt the liver surgeon came across as naïve – however the naivety certainly gives his character somewhere to grow and develop and Goddard certainly does that – not only with Hammond but the entire supporting cast. Forced to think on his feet and make life and death decisions, sometimes at the drop of a hat, Hammond visibly matures. It was this character development that interested me and kept me hooked throughout.

Along the way Goddard introduces a variety of characters to support Hammond’s main role and I never once felt he added a character for the sake of it – no unnecessary filling in this race against the clock thriller! They all have a story to tell, some more powerful than others and despite his imposing personality Dragan Gazi silently officiates from the side-lines.

Twists and unexpected turns are a given in the thriller genre and “Blood Count” is certainly no exception delivering a veritable feast of shocks from start to finish. Goddard never lets you settle and you never quite know who to trust and who to believe – nothing is ever black and white.

A taut and exciting thriller, “Blood Count” is an examination in morality, revenge and sheer doggedness. Very well thought out and delivered, the novel is an example of masterful thriller writing from a seasoned professional. One not to miss.

Published by Bantam Press, “Blood Count” is available from Amazon

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13 Responses to “Blood Count by Robert Goddard – Book Review”

  1. McDroll says:

    Your usual extremely well written review! I’ve not come across this author either so yet someone else to add to my ‘to read’ list!

  2. […] Check out the “Blood Count” book review here […]

  3. “A taut and exciting thriller, “Blood Count” is an examination in morality, revenge and sheer doggedness.” thus a perfect summation from a splendid review! One often peruses a review, scanning for a bits of this or that, it is a rare that a review is as much literature as the book critiqued. This review, while containing no “spoilers” leaves the reader with a “mind-thirst” that can be quenched, only by reading BLOOD COUNT. Milo has, in a several well chosen paragraphed caught the essense of what appears to be quite a complex book. No easy feat- but one accomplished with the skill of a seasoned writer, himself. Well Done!
    Rick Friedman

  4. Trish says:

    Goddard is one of my favorite authors. I have all the books of his I could find. I don’t even bother to read the cover copy. I just buy them and save them for that day when I owe myself a treat (a re-treat)or find myself soured by mediocre mysteries. There is no doubt the man is skilled: each mystery unfolds it’s own sweet terrors slowly and the language pours like syrup.

  5. Great review! I haven’t come across Robert Goddard before but will definately look out for it now! :-)

  6. Great review (as usual).
    If you ever get the chance to hear Robert Goddard speak at an event, do! – He’s a lovely guy and very very entertaining.
    Like all the other posters, I too have a lot of catching up to do with this author’s books.

  7. Jason Bull says:

    Play To The End is my favourite novel so far – set in my home city of Brighton. Very much looking forward to reading Blood Count.

  8. Lisa Rowsell says:

    Having never read any of his books this review has certainly inspired me to do so.

  9. Jo Bryan says:

    Fascinating and thoroughly tempting review, I just have to read Blood Count now, I like that you say the characters are well thought out and all have a place in the tale.
    None of those extra people that can waste a reader’s time as they are surplus to requirement of the plot. I like tense thrillers and will definitley be reading soon hopefully.


  10. Milo says:

    Congratulations to Jason Bull and the two twitter winners. Emails have been sent.

  11. Yes, another superb thriller !
    I have read the lot, and must say say that Blood Count
    ranks as once of the best. Characterisation.plotline,
    narrative and overall development zing along at a frenetic pace. This is one of Goddard’s finest achievements, equal, in my opinion, to Past Caring and
    Painting the Darkness.

  12. paul hollis says:

    great review! I want to read this now!

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