Promises of Blood

Written by David Thorne

Review written by Adam Colclough

Adam Colclough lives and works in the West Midlands, he writes regularly for a number of websites, one day he will get round to writing a book for someone else to review.

Promises of Blood
RRP: £7.99
Released: February 4 2016

Lawyer Daniel Connell is called to the home of William Gove, a wealthy man with a lot on his mind, but not long left to live. He wants to buy his place in heaven by sharing some of his money with ten strangers, chosen at random. Though a strange gesture, is one that indicates the difference in mentality of the wealthy, where money changes everything, or so it seems.

Then a chance remark by one of Gove’s beneficiaries, about her sudden good fortune; being God's way of compensating for the disappearance of her daughter, reveals a darker motive, than a rich man trying to cheat the odds on getting his place into paradise. It seems that the Gove family are used to getting their own way, and not answerable for the resulting consequences of their actions, due to their wealth and power.

There is a distinct B-movie feeling about David Thorne's third novel featuring the two-fisted Connell, even down to several plot points being resolved by having a man walk in through the door with a gun. That is no bad thing [as narrative technique], as it keeps the action flowing nicely; and there is an authenticity to the violence that goes beyond the author having researched the mechanics of how to throw a punch. Thorne understands implicitly the desperation of people who live, and often die, by acts of random violence.

There is an obvious reference to Raymond Chandler, with the presence of a dying patriarch, a down at heel hero, and two decadent siblings, complete with a plot that twists like a corkscrew. To his credit, Thorne does not wilt under the weight of this backstory, largely because he pays homage to the sensibility, rather than painting himself into a corner by trying to copy an inimitable style.

This is a taut and action packed thriller with its roots in one of the enduring traditions of the genre, balanced by an awareness of the rhythms and dysfunctions of life in modern Britain. Connell and Thorne go down the mean streets of contemporary London in a way that I am sure Chandler and Marlow would have approved.


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