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Bloodman    by Robert Pobi order for
by Robert Pobi
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Thomas & Mercer, 2012 (2012)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

FBI independent contractor Jake Cole returns home to Montauk New York after twenty-eight years to deal with his injured father, a renowned painter, who suffers from dementia and most recently severe burns. Cole fears their confrontation will dredge up the myriad bad memories from his abusive childhood, but that's put on hold when he's called in to consult on a double homicide. A mother and her young son are found dead in a beach house only a few doors down from his father's place, both of them skinned alive.

Cole's photographic memory gives him the grisly ability to reconstruct any crime scene, to literally get into the minds of killers, including this latest madman he's dubbed the Bloodman. Cole also immediately recognises that this murderer's handiwork is somehow linked to his own past. Horrified, yet compelled to see the case (and his father's escalating madness) through, Cole races against the clock (and Mother Nature) to catch a killer.

A monster hurricane is bearing down on his picturesque hometown, giving Cole only hours to catch one human monster and then try to outrun the Category Five beast that's threatening to destroy everything in her wake, including his own wife and son.

Jake Cole is portrayed as yet another dark, tormented and mentally gifted character, still battling substance abuse and a bleak past, including the murder of his mother. Despite his long list of emotional baggage, and his devotion to his wife and son, I didn't find him very sympathetic or likeable. Something about him and his sometimes overwrought internal torment just niggled all the way through the story.

Despite my lack of enthusiasm for the main character though, debut author Pobi has written a stylish, complex and disturbing blend of mayhem, madness and murder - with a double shot of Mother Nature gone bad thrown into the concoction.

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