One off the shelf: A Matter of Blood

CoverFor some reason, I have let my reserve list numbers drop dangerously low, and I am waking in a cold sweat most mornings worried that I will run out of books to read. In a normal city this would be of mild concern at most, but in a town infested with short sharp shocks, temporary closures, engineering reports, and even snow days, this could be disastrous.

It was with some trepidation, therefore, that I approached the shelves last week and prepared to BROWSE.  I don’t know about you guys, but for some reason this often doesn’t work for me. Why not? Too much choice? Open space? Alphabet issues? Whatever the cause, I frequently fail at browsing.  Last week, however, I struck gold.  Or, as it turns out, red.

A Matter of Blood is the first in a series by Sarah Pinborough, with book 2 also available in the library.  It looked promising on the shelf – great cover (can’t go past a good pinned fly), great colour, intriguing subtitle, and a mysteriously interesting blurb.

Inside turned out to be just as much a winner – I always like a good crime novel, and A Matter of Blood is certainly good – sinning police detective with a heart of gold, devastating personal tragedies and chequered past; serial killer with odd fly-related tendencies; mysteriously shadowy powerful figures (Mr Bright! Mr Solomon!); and a tangle of near-future London streets all add up to a mesmerising read.

There are overtones of some of my favourite authors, too – Neil Gaiman’s American Gods and Neverwhere, and China Mieville’s Kraken were often in my head as I was reading, as well as Kate Atkinson, and some of the best of the gritty crime writers.  It may seem odd to some to blend magical realism, horror and police procedural, but I loved it, and am eagerly looking forward to sitting down with Book 2 tonight, and hoping like crazy that Book 3 is well on the way from the publishers.