Katherine Armstrong has worked in publishing for over six years. She is a crime fiction Editor for an independent publishing company in London.
DCI Eve Clay is a cop with a past and a current heinous murder investigation to contend with. No surprises there you might think; show me a fictional cop who doesn’t have a past! In truth, though, we love our fictional cops to have a past, something dark and mysterious that has implications for the case they’re working on and may, even, be the reason why they’re on the case in the first place.
Roberts sets this, his first Eve Clay novel, in Liverpool, a city that is becoming a popular setting for crime writers, such as Luca Veste’s gritty Murphy and Rossi series. You can certainly feel Roberts’s love for Liverpool in his descriptions and it’s a Liverpool that the tourists don’t necessarily see (or you hope they don’t!). Blood Mist is an exploration of the darker, edgier Liverpool, as well as the darker and edgier side of humanity.
Roberts is interested in morality and it’s no surprise that Catholicism – more specifically the Catholic Church – plays a substantial part here. Clay is an orphan who was brought up in the Catholic care system and whose closest friend and mother figure was a nun, Sister Philomena, who dies when Eve is about six. Instead of being adopted by a family, the young Eve chooses to stay in care until she is old enough to leave and Blood Mist is ultimately a book about family and belonging. The case Eve’s called to investigate is that of a whole family butchered in their home.
Who could do something so evil? Who could kill almost an entire family, including little children? Clay, unlike a lot of other fictional cops, has a stable family life, possibly because of her unconventional childhood. She is married – happily – and has a son who she adores and who she constantly worries about as she sees the devastation and brutality that people can inflict on one another.
In Eve Clay, Roberts has created a likeable heroine whose mysterious past is an intriguing backstory, but she also has a team of detectives that bring their own skills to the investigation. Blood Mist is not just a police procedural novel it’s also a serial killer thriller. Why does killer Adrian White, already locked up in a psychiatric hospital, know details about the family’s murders that haven’t been released? Why is he fixated on Eve? Blood Mist doesn’t flinch from the more gruesome aspects of murder but with Eve Clay it manages to retain its humanity.