Publication Date: December 19, 2012
In Blood Pool by Jan Ryder, Sam Shelley’s husband is dead and he’s left her the property that has passed down through the males of the family for generations. People in the small English village are resentful that the legacy has been left to an outsider, and some will even go that extra mile to make sure it gets in the right hands. In the meantime, Sam’s old friend has a dangerous secret that could get both of them killed.
The author, Jan Ryder, gave me a copy of this novel in exchange for my review.
This might not have been an overwhelmingly positive review. The narrative drags in a number of places, and while nothing really stretched those bounds of believability; it didn’t excite. Technically there’s nothing wrong with Blood Pool. The novel is well written and if there are errors in formatting or syntax, I didn’t notice them. Sam is a fairly well-sketched character. Her relationship with Mik is a little squishy and quick, but they are in an extreme circumstance that makes every moment seem more urgent. Maybe making her a character that never loved her first husband was a bit much, but not really an issue within the story line. Sam trusts all the wrong people and makes all the wrong decisions, but that’s what people do in thrillers, and yet this reader didn’t find Blood Pool more compelling. But, there comes the point where Ryder does something crazy and outstanding brilliant. She ends this story in a way that illuminates all that dragged on before. I won’t give away the ending except to tell readers that there is a major twist, and it is one that left this reader clapping her hands with glee. Do you like not knowing the characters in a novel? REALLY not knowing them? This is the novel for you.
The reality, however, is that you have to read the rest of the book to get to the end (unless you’re like a friend a mine who always reads the end first and I might actually recommend it in this case). There are points in which we’re overly informed and the narrative goes on and on. Does Sam need the information? Probably. Does she need it in such explicit detail? Probably not. As a reader, I had to force myself not to scan over some of the storyline and, in the end, didn’t fully get how Sam fit into the secondary storyline. Ryder does tie the storylines together in the end in such a way that they benefit and enhance each other but to that point, this reader was a little confused.
The author, when requesting this review, expressed a concern over the British idioms and how they might impact my perspective when reading. I don’t think even the reader not familiar with British phrases would have to look up common idioms on Google while reading this novel. There is a definite sense of setting in Blood Pool but not to the exclusion of a reader not familiar with the region.
It was a struggle to read this novel closely, but I’m glad that I did and if I had time I’d read it again with the new knowledge I possess about the characters, just to catch those things missed in the first reading.
If this sounds like a book for you, read an excerpt and buy Blood Pool by Jan Ryder on