14 December 2010

Review: BLOOD ATONEMENT, Dan Waddell

 Edition: Large print edition published by W F Howes Ltd
2009
ISBN 978-1-40745-171-1
392 pages

Amazon Product Description
Katie Drake was an affluent single mother living in Queen’s Park – until someone cut her throat and tore out her tongue. Worse still, the killer has abducted her fourteen-year-old daughter, Naomi. Detective Chief Inspector Grant Foster quickly sees chilling parallels with the disappearance of teenager Leonie Stamey three years earlier. With hopes fading of finding Naomi alive, he calls on genealogist Nigel Barnes to piece together the links between the families of the two girls. The trail leads Nigel back to 1890 ..... A husband and wife fleeing a terrible crime in their past, and harbouring a secret that's now having bloody repercussions in the present …

My take
Dan Waddell is one of my "finds" for 2010. I reviewed his first novel in the Nigel Barnes series THE BLOOD DETECTIVE  just over 5 weeks ago and remarked then what a great read it was. BLOOD ATONEMENT uses a similar plot device, a crime in the past that inspires crimes in the present, and perhaps that is a weakness, despite the fact that this is not really copy-cat killing. The sleuthing trio are an interesting combination: genealogist Nigel Barnes, and detectives DCI Grant Foster, and DS Heather Jenkins. Foster was quite severely injured in THE BLOOD DETECTIVE, and it helps in understanding the relationship between Barnes and Jenkins if you have read the first novel, I think.

One of the satisfying elements of this story is the way Waddell lays information before the reader, allows you to draw your own conclusion, just ahead of one of the sleuths voicing the same idea. I found it compelling reading. I'm hoping there is a third in the series. The final pages of the book seem to imply that there is.

An interesting feature of this edition of the novel is that the "voice from the past" and current investigation are given different font styles. This may be just a feature of the large print edition. If you click on the cover image that will take you to Amazon where you can read an extract from the first few pages, and, rather oddly, the complete Epilogue. You'll note that in that extract the "voice from the past" is in italics.

My rating: 4.6

I couldn't help wondering what inspired Waddell to explore this plot.
Dan Waddell explains here.
Check what Blood Atonement is at Wikipedia.

3 comments:

Bernadette in Australia said...

This one's not yet on my TBR so I shouldn't even be thinking about it - but it is on my wishlist

Margot Kinberg said...

Kerrie - Oh, this does sound compelling. I can see why you liked it very much. And I have to say I'm intrigued at the idea of a genealogist sleuth. Thanks for this review.

Anonymous said...

Beth Gering
I read this description before reading the book and I've got to say it's a really great way to get a glimspe of what is awaiting for you.

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