Wednesday 5 June 2024



'"How do you deal with having all that in your head?" Carla asked. 

Titus put on his sunglasses. 

"I try not do dream," he said as he walked into the house.'

One of the things that can separate a wonderful read from just a good one is the quality of the ingredients. In All The Sinners Bleed, Cosby has gathered only elements of the finest grade and then only those that are absolutely necessary. Not only that, he adds each at precisely the right time and at the perfect temperature to produce a work that is served to us as a feast.

Titus Crown is at the heart of everything. An ex-FBI agent and now the first black sherrif in an overtly racist county, he's got his work cut out for him from the start when a popular white teacher is killed by a young black shooter in the high school. The shooter is killed by two of Crown's cops and when the dust begins to settle, a rift tears through the community and the weight of racist history bears down on Crown as he goes about solving the case.

What makes the plot so rich and thick is Crown's determination to do the right thing in the eyes of the law regardless of anything else. In order to do so, he meets conflicting attitudes all the way. There are the white supremacists fervently defending their beliefs and the civil rights movement who are ready to meet fire with fire. We have a town buried deep in religious passions that Crown has come to despise. The big cheese in town wants a quick resolution to the murder and is ready to pull the rug from under Crown's feet. His own officers need investigating because of the shooting and there are rumours that one of his colleagues is on the take. He's torn between realtionships with two women, one who is good for stability and another that offers excitement and danger. His own past haunts him constantly and there's pressure put upon him to surrender his case to those who may have the resources to bring the case to conclusion. And the depraved killer that the Crown exposes taunts him with new bodies, obscene murders and menacing threats that become increasingly dark as the story progresses. In short, the whole world seems to be working against Crown even, at times,Crown himself. 

It's a brilliant story. Cosby zooms in on personal elements and back out into the broader aspects of detection with genuine ease whilst always maintaining focus, rounding chapters with cliffhangers and gut punches born of simple turns of phrase that always hit the spot. It really is one of those reads that you just don't want to put down.

Loved this, as did the International Thriller Writers who very recenlty awarded it the Best Hardcover Novel prize. Definitely well-deserved. 


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