Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Blog Tour: Blood Symmetry by Kate Rhodes Exclusive Story and Review

Blood Symmetry by Kate Rhodes
Published: 14th July 2016
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Pages: 342
Available in Paperback and on Kindle

Today it's my stop on the Blood Symmetry by Kate Rhodes blog tour, firstly we have an exclusive story from Kate from Mikey's perspective of events and then keep scrolling down for my review of this gripping crime novel.

Blood Symmetry: Mikey’s story
I think in pictures, not words. Mum says I should go to art school one day, but she’s left me behind, just like my dad. Alice looks after me now. She lets me help her to cook our meals, and sometimes she sings to me when I can’t sleep. It’s her voice I love best: gentle and quiet and kind. She keeps asking questions about mum, and I want to explain, but when I open my mouth, no sound comes out. Words sit in my mind like the stones I hide in my pockets, when mum takes me to the beach.

I keep trying to remember what happened. I see mum waiting by the front door that morning, while I lace up my trainers, then I’m chasing her down the path. She looks back over her shoulder, laughing. Circles of light fall to the ground as we sprint through the trees, round as gold coins. Our footsteps drum louder and my heartbeat’s racing to keep up. Then mum screams, and I can’t see anything anymore. Rough fabric covers my face, scratching my skin, filling my lungs with the smell of petrol. That’s when everything stops. The images shudder then fade away, like a DVD breaking down. Each day the pictures get clearer, but forgetting is safer than remembering. I want to keep mum safe in my mind, laughing back at me as we run through the trees.

Sometimes I think it’s my fault. I woke mum up, to come running with me. If I’d let her sleep, we’d still be together, and I could go back to school. I miss the lessons when the teacher lets us paint whatever we like most of all. Alice has given me a pad and pencils, but it’s not the same. I keep drawing the same picture, of the path across the common. I see it even with my eyes closed. But the nightmares are worst of all. The hood over my head is too tight to breathe, and when it comes off, there’s blood on the ground. It’s too dark to tell where it’s come from, or whether it’s mine. I wake up screaming, but Alice is always there. She says the police will find my mum, and soon I can go home, but what if she’s wrong? I want to push words from my lips, so my thoughts run freely again, but they cling to the sides of my mouth. If only making time go backwards was as easy as spinning the hands on a clock. Mum would still be at home, resting in peace. She wouldn’t have to run through the trees and never come out again.

Thank you Kate for that exclusive piece, Blood Symmetry is out now and can be purchased on Amazon here.

Clare Riordan and her son Mikey are abducted from Clapham Common early one morning. Hours later, the boy is found wandering disorientated. Soon after, a pack of Clare's blood is left on a doorstep in the heart of the City of London.
Alice Quentin is brought in to help the traumatised child uncover his memories - which might lead them to his mother's captors. But she swiftly realises Clare is not the first victim... nor will she be the last.
The killers are driven by a desire for revenge... and in the end, it will all come down to blood.

Clare Riordan and her son Mikey have been abducted on Clapham Common while taking a morning run. Hours later eleven year old Mikey is found wandering the streets disorientated and mute. Later that day a pack of Clare’s blood is found left on a doorstep in the heart of London. Alice Quentin is brought in to help Mikey try and uncover his memories and help find his mother. Soon it’s clear to Alice and the police team that Clare is not the first victim and she won’t be the last as these killers have a very distinct desire for revenge.

Alice has soon formed a bond with Mikey and is determined to bring his mother’s abductor to justice. Clare works in the haematology department at the Royal Free Hospital and it soon becomes clear that blood is the key to her disappearance as further victims are uncovered and more blood packs are found.  Alice believes there is a link between Clare and two previous attacks on medical professionals, she’s determined to prove the connection is the Tainted Blood Panel a team of experts brought in by the government to assess the damage of the use of Factor 8 on haemophilia. Can Alice and Burns find the link and the killer before it’s too late?

Blood Symmetry is the fifth Alice Quentin novel by Kate Rhodes but the first that I have read. I believe it can be read as a standalone but like me you will probably become hooked by Alice and by Kate’s brilliant writing. I’m definitely eager to go back to the beginning and find out more about Alice as she’s enthralling. She’s been in a relationship with DCI Don Burns, who she just happens to have to partner with in this book, for four months and she’s unsure whether to fully commit or run for her life as these new feelings make her uneasy. DCI Burns has left his wife but is unwavering in his affection for Alice despite her inability to commit, for me this relationship dynamic was fascinating and I’d love to find how it all began.

There are many suspects in this book including many of Clare’s colleagues, her neighbours, her sister, members of a blood activist group, the list goes on. I loved this because just when I thought I had everything worked out, Kate Rhodes threw another spanner in the works to confuse me even more. This had me gripped to this book as I was determined to work out the killer before they were revealed, sadly I couldn’t!

I also enjoyed the chapters which are written from the killer’s perspective and were like reading their mind, which is a format I feel works very well in crime novels as we get more insight into the “why”. Beware though this book has some gruesome moments which did make my stomach churn a little.

I liked how the motive for these killings had a connection to real events in history and was connected to something which affected many, many lives rather than just being a “I don’t like you, so I’ll kill you” kind of book.  Some of the characters we meet were living with the effects of Factor 8 and it was obvious through the writing that these people and their families were really struggling and for this reason you can emphasize with the killer a little as all they really wanted was recognition and justice for their suffering.

I think this was a brilliant read and had everything I want in a crime novel, a complex plot to work out, interesting killer and suspects and protagonists with more in their lives than work. I’m definitely going to be reading the rest of the Alice Quentin novels, hopefully before the next book is published.

Thank you so much to the publishers for sending me a copy to review and for inviting me to be part of the Blood Symmetry blog tour.

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