Published by Bantam Press on 28/04/2022
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It's been seventeen months since the Bloodsmith butchered his first victim and Operation Maypole is still no nearer to catching him. The media is whipping up a storm, the top brass are demanding results, but the investigation is sinking fast.
Now isn't the time to get distracted with other cases, but Detective Sergeant Lucy McVeigh doesn't have much choice. When Benedict Strachan was just eleven, he hunted down and killed a homeless man. No one's ever figured out why Benedict did it, but now, after sixteen years, he's back on the streets again - battered, frightened, convinced a shadowy 'They' are out to get him, and begging Lucy for help.
It sounds like paranoia, but what if he's right? What if he really is caught up in something bigger and darker than Lucy's ever dealt with before? What if the Bloodsmith isn't the only monster out there? And what's going to happen when Lucy goes after them?
I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
For my birthday last year my daughter bought me The Coffin Makers Garden, my first Stuart MacBride book, and I absolutely loved it. Since then I’ve started to work through his back list so when I saw he had a new novel available I was really excited. This excitement continued for the first 3/4 of the book. I absolutely love MacBride’s dry sarcastic wit. I usually listen to his books on Audio as the inclusion of the songs from the radio is pure comedy genius – it has caused me to laugh out loud while wandering the food aisle of M&S, meaning I have received a number of strange looks (especially since my earbuds are usually hidden by my hair.
Anyway, back to the book. My first disappointment was that this is an Oldcastle novel but it doesn’t follow on from the other Oldcastle books, there is no Ash Henderson and no Alice McDonald – Dr McFruitloop (one of my most favourite characters EVER).
We have a few threads going on here – crazy posh kids murdering homeless dude, the Bloodsmith murdering people, removing organs and writing in their blood, DS Lucy McVeigh being terrorised by a stalker while struggling with PTSD plus there is a recently released child killer who is convinced that someone “they” is out to get him and so he needs protection. It was sometimes difficult to keep up with all of the different threads that were going on and I did need to concentrate.
And then we hit the twist. We all know that with any good thriller there’ll be a twist, and this was no exception, I didn’t see this one coming – and I didn’t like it. I felt like the ending kind of let down the rest of the book.
It kind of reminds me of Stephen King’s The Stand, it’s a really long book and then you get to the end and go WTF just happened. I’m not happy with that. Now granted, the hand of God didn’t come down and wipe out Oldcastle but still, it would have got 4.5 or 5 stars with a stronger ending.