“A Matter Of Blood” is a well written serial-killer book with a supernatural twist. The characters are deftly drawn. The scenes are delivered with cinematic clarity. The dialogue works and the plot unfolds at a confidently slow pace that increases the tension.
I stopped reading about halfway through. I just couldn’t take the world Sarah Pinborough was describing.
The main character is a broken man who seems to have betrayed himself, his wife, and his brother and who continues his work as Detective in the MET as a form of atonement. He sees himself as beyond redemption and, after being in his head for half the book, I tend to agree with him.
The shadowy, potentially supernatural, killer is a well-conceived, life-denying entity that truly believes nothing is sacred.
The violence is graphic, extensive and ultimately pointless. The sex is tortured by guilt and failure. Even the strongest relationships are tainted by doubt. The economy is failing, creating the kind of grinding poverty that destroys hope.
I didn’t find any of this incredible. It seemed very real and very plausible to me. I just didn’t want it in my head.
There was a time when I had to finish every book I started. It was an unexamined rule that I’d had since childhood. Stopping would be a failure to finish. Failure was bad. So I would read on.
Perhaps I’ve just become more accustomed to the inevitability of failing from time to time, or perhaps I’m more aware that I will never have enough time to read all the books out there that will delight me, or scare ,me or teach me something, or make me laugh, or love, or cry, but I now understand that stopping reading a book before I’ve finished it is a valid choice. It’s just not one I make lightly.
Right now, I want reading that gives me hope, not reading that strips it away by fueling the plot with violent, pointless death and pitting people so deeply flawed they could shatter at any moment, against a powerful evil that sees life as worthless and love as self-delusion.
Perhaps I’ll go back to Sarah Pinborough when I’m in a more positive frame of mind, but “A Matter Of Blood” will be staying in my “Did Not Finish” pile.