Sunday 19 May 2024



'Despite whatever the National Rifle Association had to say about man's inherent right to bear arms and to go romping in the woods in search of game, Carella (and every other cop in the city) would have liked nothing better than a law forbidding private citizens to own or carry a gun of any kind for any purpose whatever. But police officers did not have a powerful lobby in Washington, even though they were the ones who daily reaped the whirlwind while the gun manufacturers reaped in the profits.'

Patricia staggers along to the police station, hands and face slashed by a blade. Not too far away, her cousin lies dead in a pool of her own blood. 

Because Patricia survives, there's an eye witness to the murder and a line up is arranged. Because of the outcome of the line up, Patricia creates a new story which offers a truth that her family find impossible to digest, given that it names her brother as the killer. 

Not only is the brother fingered for the crime, he's also accused of sexual acts unbecoming Blood Relations

This one was an interesting read for me. 

First of all, I read it in a day. I can't remember the last time I completed a novel in such a short time. Maybe that's because I have time on my hands just now or perhaps it's due to the page-turning nature of the story. Both are probably true. 

It's also unusual in that I managed to identify the killer by page 30. It's not like me to be so sharp in this respect and I couldn't wait to find out if I'd correctly cracked the case. 

Blood Relatives tells an intriguing story. It's laden with sexual intrigue and language and delves deep into the darkness when required. It's also heavy in terms of the procedural references and explanations. I always appreciate McBain's legal asides as they often add authenticity to the police work. In the case of this novel, I feel he's taken a step too far in that department. It's as if the publisher asked him to throw in extra facts for the readership. This doesn't spoil the story significantly and, on occasions adds a smile, but it was a little much for me as it slowed the pace down just when I didn't want it to. 

That said, it's an excellent story and Steve Carella is in excellent form, dolling out justice in his own way and wishing he could deal out more for crimes yet to be commited. 

A healthy 7 out of 10. 

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