For the first time in nearly thirty years, FBI consultant Jake Cole returns to his childhood home in Long Island to look after his estranged and elderly father. But, within hours of being home, Jake is pulled into a double homicide investigation at the request of local sheriff, Mike Hauser. A mother and her young son have been brutally murdered and the local police need Jake – with his photographic memory and ability to recognize killers’ artistic signatures – to help them with this gruesome and baffling case. For Jake, though, this case is personal. He may not know the victims but he’s horrified to recognize the killer’s method and signature as that which was left behind on his own mother, brutally murdered when Jake was just a child and whose murder was never solved. In a race against time, Jake and Hauser are on the hunt to find this monster – a serial killer who skins his victims alive. Could the ‘bloodman’ of Jake’s nightmares be back?
Bloodman is one of those books, no matter how hard you think, no matter how much you analyse, you’ll never guess the ending!! Well, never say never for there are readers out there far shrewder than I but this is one ending that completely blew me away – talk about powerful, this book is off the scale with shock! I’ve been incredibly fortunate to read a lot of books over the last 18 months or so and I often find myself trying to guess how one character fits into a story or who will turn out to be the killer but I can hand on heart say I just didn’t guess this one. Not even a sniff, Bloodman bamboozled me – in a good way!
Although incredibly well written, it took a little while for me to find my feet with the book – 50 pages or so -but once I’d found a rhythm, acquainted myself with the numerous characters I couldn’t let go. The story begins on the fourth and final day with the arrival of a category five hurricane called Dylan, the biggest to hit the shoreline since 1938, and then quickly moves back in time to day one. Devastation is inevitable but when a number of grisly murders begin to surface, the local police do their best to hide the macabre murders from the prying eyes of the press corp. Fortunately Special Agent Cole is on hand to guide the local police and they manage to keep the press at bay.
Bloodman isn’t for the fainthearted, the murders are some of the most graphically terrifying I’ve come across in a crime novel, they leave very little to the imagination. Robert Pobi must still be in therapy – if he isn’t someone take him please! – after coming up with some of these murders, no one is safe, young or old, male or female, rich or poor – no one is off limits, the killer doesn’t discriminate. It’s as if Pobi sat down and thought of the worst possible way to kill someone, then magnified the brutality to end up with a product as terrifying and savage as this book. There were parts that made me squirm and put the book down, he certainly likes to shock does our Robert!
Characterisation is immense, the two main multi layered protagonists, Jake and his father Jacob – are incredibly powerful and fulfilling. There’s so much to discover from both characters, Jake playing more of a leading role as his father – a well-known artist – lies in hospital for the majority of the story recovering from an injury at home. Having said that there is a particular scene in the hospital that will have you holding your breath; your imagination runs riot thanks mainly to an incredibly graphic and atmospheric scene. I’m still recovering! Just think Rolf Harris and you are half way there!
Jake is a dark man, a recovering alcoholic and a drug user of old, he, together with his wife Kay – a fellow alcoholic – is determined to turn his life around and settle down with his young family. His father has played a big part in his makeup and he is an utterly compelling character. Insanely complex, he is one guy I wouldn’t want to share a pint with; he has a dark mind that sees the bad in people, rarely the good. Not only does he scare me he seems to scare everyone he comes into contact with, commanding a murder scene in his own special way fellow officers are quick to appreciate his imposing demeanour! Brilliantly written Jake is one of my favourite characters of 2012.
I’ve already mentioned the ending at the top of this review but one thing I didn’t relate was how the author ties all the loose ends up in an assured package, while at the same time leaving just a couple of un answered questions for the reader to debate long after the hurricane has blown away. The small town is unlikely to recover from the carnage.
A must read for 2012, this is an exceptional debut. Dark, resolute and uncompromising, Bloodman is a taut thriller that will tease and shock and may just cause you a few sleepless nights!
- ISBN-10: 0099570963
- ISBN-13: 978-0099570967