Sharon Long reviews Ben McPherson's book, A Line of Blood today...
A Line of Blood, Ben McPherson's first book will be released by Harper Collins in the U.S. on September 29th. It was released in the U.K. early this year. I was intrigued to read this book as I have read other Norwegian authors and have always enjoyed their books. However, it turns out Ben is the former Producer and Director of the BBC for 9 years and has only lived in Oslo since 2012.
It's the middle of the night and your 11 year old son, Max, is in the backyard. You hear him move the love seat over to the fence. You rush outside in time to see him climb over into the neighbor's garden. You try calling him back, but it's too late. You have no choice but to follow and once in the neighbor's yard, you realize Max is after the cat. You try urging both of them back home to but no avail because now the cat is walking through the partially open back door into your neighbor's house. Max of course follows as do you knowing this is wrong and none of you should be there. The cat goes into the living room and you follow. Max and you hear water running and look up at the ceiling which is starting to buckle and drip. At this point, the cat runs up the stairs with Max following and you last. When you reach the bathroom, you tell Max to get behind you because you see your neighbor. He is naked in the tub with an iron between his legs, dead.
This is just the beginning for Alex, Max's father. Alex goes home and calls the police, who come and question both of them. A few days pass and Alex is surprised as the police appear to still be investigating because in his mind it was a clear case of suicide. However the police think differently, they are thinking this could be murder. The investigation continues and probes more into Alex's life along with his American wife, Millicent. The drama starts to build as the reader learns more about this little family of 3. Alex, the Scottish stay at home producer, who is married to Millicent, the American who writes self help books and has a talk show, and their son, Max.
I really enjoyed this blending of cultures if you well - Scottish, American and British. The story is set in Crappy which in the author's words, "is the name given by North Londoners to the worst part of Finsbury Park. People start using the name ironically but it quickly sticks". As the story enfolds, Crappy is an adept name for what happens. I was immediately enthralled as I had to know if this was suicide or murder. And if murder, who did it. A Line of Blood is all told in first person by Alex which I thought was extremely effective. As a reader, what became apparent is this family of 3 had no idea who they were really living with. It made me think, do any of us really know the past or the thoughts of those around us? This is Ben McPherson's first book but is part of a 2 book deal he signed. I most definitely am looking forward to his next story.
This book was provided to Mystery Playground by the publisher. This review is fair and independent.