H. Terrell Griffin,
Blood Island
(Oceanview, 2008)

Blood Island is a sort of contradiction -- in a nice way.

The novel harkens back to the old days of the hard-man private eye as personified by Chandler and the like. But author H. Terrell Griffin brings the characters right up to the 21st century. Even in this modern age, Griffin writes at the pace and dedication of the people who weaned us on to the maverick who does more than the authorities ever seem able to do.

Matt Royal is of course not a private eye in the usual sense. Unlike those guys who managed to trawl the "mean streets" -- seldom getting paid but always with gas money, a car and a few bucks for some bourbon -- Royal is plausible, and we know where his money came from. The money allows him take on the job for that perennial "old sweetheart" who broke his heart but for whom he still carries that torch.

From that first request to find the missing daughter, Griffin has us on a rollercoaster ride. He takes us through familiar territory and then drives us sideways into new areas, but the tension never eases.

One nice touch in this book is that the hero is actually friendly with most of the authority figures, which is a nice change from the constant barrage of "me against authority" yarns. This works to great advantage in making the story more believable. This helps us accept the plot twists, and that in turn makes us care for the characters.

As with all thrillers, I cannot say too much about the outcome for fear of spoiling the story. Suffice to say that you will enjoy the ride and be satisfied with the tie up of loose ends. One word of warning to the bad guys, when Royal threatens to shoot you he does -- and that, too, is a nice change.

review by
Nicky Rossiter

16 May 2009

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