I raced through this book, a hybrid mixture of crime and genealogy mystery. Author Dan Waddell is also a journalist and genealogist, having written The Genealogy Handbook [below] to accompany the Who Do You Think You Are? television series. So, he knows his stuff and it shows. Usually a crime novel features a lead detective and team, here we have two lead characters: Detective Chief Inspector Grant Foster, and genealogist Nigel Barnes.
Waddell’s plotting is ingenious. The past really does come back to haunt the present. There is a serial killer in West London who leaves a clue carved into the skin of his victims. This clue prompts DCI Foster to call on the specialist help of researcher Barnes. The murder hunt takes parallel paths: Foster chases living suspects, Barnes searches the archives for the true 1879 story of a serial killer, his victims and their descendants. What is the link? The final chapters are a thrilling race against time.
I really enjoyed this. The linking of historical and present-day crime was clever, and the characterization was convincing and not of the stereotypical detective form. An enjoyable mixture of fast-moving crime novel with genealogical research and historical gems about this particular part of London, its transformation from Victorian times to the 21st century, and its dark history of crime. There is a second novel featuring the same characters, Blood Atonement. If you like ‘The Blood Detective’, try these:-
‘In the Blood’ by Steve Robinson
‘Secrets, Spies and Spotted Dogs’ by Jane Eales
‘Seeking John Campbell’ by John Daffurn
‘The Blood Detective’ by Dan Waddell, #1 Nigel Barnes [UK: D Waddell] Buy here
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THE BLOOD DETECTIVE by @danwaddell #bookreview via @SandraDanby http://wp.me/p5gEM4-1Tp