A Line of Blood Paperback – 23 March 2015
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- Publisher : HarperCollins - GB (23 March 2015)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 416 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0007569572
- ISBN-13 : 978-0007569571
- Dimensions : 15.3 x 3.1 x 23.4 cm
- Customer Reviews:
‘I read this in one sitting, gripped from the opening page by the twisty plot and a family so damaged I couldn't bear to leave them’ Clare Mackintosh, author of I LET YOU GO
‘Ben McPherson has a very distinctive voice, and A LINE OF BLOOD is cleverly put together’ Val McDermid
‘McPherson displays a rare skill for creating characters with depth in a world that is splintering around them’ Daily Mail
‘A chilling and compelling read, beautifully written…’
Renee Knight, bestselling author of DISCLAIMER
‘Gripping from the get-go, A LINE OF BLOOD will have readers wondering what they might be capable of in the face of the terrible isolation of self within a family running off the rails’ Tami Hoag #1 New York Times bestselling author of COLD COLD HEART
‘It is both an extraordinary novel and thriller, and brilliantly written’ Claire Kendal, bestselling author of THE BOOK OF YOU
‘A beautifully-written psychological thriller’ Mark Edwards
‘A tense, touching, smartly written thriller with a very clever twist. McPherson is an impressive new voice’ Tim Lott
‘A hugely impressive debut, well written and psychologically acute; a devastating depiction of a family tearing itself apart’ Paul Johnston
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Top review from Australia
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Alex Mercer and his eleven year old son Max are trying to retrieve their cat when it runs into a neighbour's yard and then through his backdoor. Hesitating, Alex calls out. When there's no answer he enters and chases the cat upstairs. Mistake. The neighbour is home and in the bathtub. But - he's dead - an apparent suicide.
However, the police have questions and decide to open an investigation. And as they question Alex, his wife Millicent and even Max, it appears that each member of the Mercer family is keeping secrets.
There is a unsettling tone in the dialogue and actions of the main characters. Something is decidedly 'off' with this family. The reader is kept off kilter as pieces of the past are revealed. McPherson uses foreshadowing to great effect. The current story is just as unpredictable and well, jarring. I was caught up in the uncertainty of what had really happened to the neighbour. I had my suspicions.....
This is the kind of book I love - twisty, turny psychological thrillers. But....I (really) didn't like the characters at all. Now, I know this is not a prerequisite to enjoying a novel. But as the story progressed, I truly questioned whether a couple would tolerate each other's behavior in order to preserve 'their little tribe.' And if they should even be allowed to keep their child. That being said, the publisher's blurb includes the following - "A Line of Blood explores what it means to be a family—the ties that bind us, and the lies that can destroy us if we're not careful." Still, I thought it stretched credulity.
But I never considered putting the book down. That off kilter uncertainty kept me turning pages to the end reveal. My suspicions on 'whodunit' were proven correct - it's fairly well telegraphed. But I was left with my own uncertainty - I enjoyed the book, but not as much as I wanted to. I think I went in expecting more suspense, less character study. Still, I would pick up McPherson's next book.
Top reviews from other countries
However, this is more than a detective story: it covers themes of natural justice, redemption, love and forgiveness and may encourage the reader to reflect on the nature of some of the 'certainties' of life in 21st century Britain. And I can't wait for the second book from this author.
Still don't know why it's called "A Line Of Blood" though - the Dutch version is called "What He Saw" which I think is better. Anyway Highly recommended.
It is a dark and uncomfortable look into the dynamics of what appears on the surface to be a normal family living in North London whose world is shaken by the sudden death of their next door neighbour.
I genuinely didn't like any of the main characters, I warmed to none of them and my dislike of them grew as the book progressed - however I am completely comfortable with disliking characters in a book - so this didn't phase me at all - in fact it probably lent itself well to the storyline.
The reason I rated this 3 stars and not 4 is that I found it quite slow to read, it is probably not the type of book that I personally would go for - however it was well written, thought out and extremely dark.
I think it would appeal to those who like their thrillers a little quirky, have an interest in family relationships and the darker side of life. It was just too quirky for my personal taste
If Amazon allowed it I would have rated it 3.5 stars as it is an interesting debut novel
The book makes you have more than an uncomfortable feeling as it touches on many moral situations. There aren't any heros in the story, just a couple wanting the best of both worlds, children and careers. The writing pace is quite steady but intriguing too with suspense spiking at different times throughout the book. The characters are quite ordinary which makes this more chilling with the conclusion of the story not a total suprise but the revelation will make you think about it for days.
As the story involves a child I wouldn't recommend this book for everyone but if you like dark psychological thrillers you will love it.
I really hope another book is in the making as I really liked Ben Mcpherson's style of writing.