Book Review: A Blood Thing by James Hankins

A Blood Thing by James Hankins

Author: James Hankins

Title: A Blood Thing

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Date: 2018

Plot: Never trust a blackmailer.

Vermont’s promising young governor, Andrew Kane, is at another public meet-and-greet when a stranger from the crowd slips him a cell phone and whispers, “Keep this with you…keep it secret…you’re going to need it after the arrest.”

Hours later, Andrew’s brother, Tyler, is taken into custody—framed for the brutal murder of a young woman—and Andrew discovers there is only one way to free him: answer the mysterious phone and agree to a blackmailer’s demands. All the governor has to do to make it all go away is compromise everything he stands for and grant a full pardon to a convicted felon. With no better option, he complies. Which is his first mistake…because the stranger isn’t through with him. He has another little condition. Then another. And another. And Andrew has no choice but to play along until he can find a way out of this personal and political nightmare. But he isn’t prepared for what he will face, or how far he will have to go to save his brother and keep his family together.

Book review: A Blood Thing by James Hankins

I received A Blood Thing from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

A Blood Thing is a mystery/thriller, exploring just how far you would go to protect someone you loved. With an intricately planned plot, strong characters and high tension throughout, it was an overall a solid read. Not one I’d rush back to re-read, but engaging and enjoyable as a stand-alone book.

Within the first chapters, I was gripped. When an innocent man – unable to properly defend himself – is framed for a grisly murder, his brothers must face difficult choices about how far they would go to protect him. The tension stems from the blackmailer: his absolute attention to detail goes beyond OCD contradicts his casual way of speaking – calling one brother “Governor Andy” through a voice changer gave me the shivers.

While the book kept my attention, there were times I felt it dragged a little bit. Something goes wrong, the blackmailer increases his demands/releases more incriminating material, things escalate… It was predictable in places: you didn’t know exactly what would happen, but you had already seen this scenario once, so you had a feeling of where it was going.

It was old, probably an antique, and oddly positioned in the middle of a hallway beside an antique table they didn’t use either. But it was a good thing the chair was there now, or the governor of Vermont would have been sitting on his ass on the floor.

The type of book it was meant you also knew they would ultimately catch the bad guy. It would have been highly unsatisfying if they didn’t. Again, you didn’t know how, but you did know where it was eventually going to end.

However, I did thoroughly enjoy this. The characters made it for me. Tyler – the framed man – is completely innocent in more than one sense of the word and you really feel for him. All he wants is to help his family.

Andrew – the governor – and Henry – his cop brother – are decent men. It’s refreshing reading a thriller where they don’t have hidden vices like addictions. They are genuinely good men through and through and while they have skeletons in the closest, so to speak, they want to do what is right.

Andy is such a good man that you feel his pain at having to corrupt his values to protect his brother. Henry has a more spontaneous streak than his brother, but he will do whatever he has to – cross whatever line – to protect Tyler.

Their sister, Molly, is also a very capable character and won’t leave it to her big brothers to protect her twin; she too will play her part and anyone getting in her way will find out she is, in fact, ex-army, and able to do things her brothers can’t.

As mentioned, the pacing is steady throughout. Personally, I found the tension increased when the blackmailer’s plan starts to go wrong. The characters are split up, in trouble, and no one – including their blackmailer – is no longer sure what is going to happen next. It makes it incredibly engaging for the reader.

If you like a solid crime thriller; strong characters, intense plot and a sense of helplessness as they race to prove their brother’s innocence, then this is a definite recommendation. It didn’t blow me away, but it was an enjoyable read throughout.

Shelve it | Buy it

A Rambling Reviewer

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25 thoughts on “Book Review: A Blood Thing by James Hankins

  1. This sounds good. I don’t always mind if it’s a little bit predictable as long as the characters are interesting and the plot has something else going for it and this one sounds like it does. I love the sound of their sister’s character! x


    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like crime shows and stories so I think I would really like this! You have written a great review! I always like reading what other people are reading as I always stick to the same few authors, so it’s nice to learn about others x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love crime stories! There’s something about them that has me completely hooked – so I’ll have to check this one out. Thanks for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

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