Book title: A Love Like Blood
Author: Marcus Sedgwick
Publisher: Pegasus Crime
Release date: March 2015
Format: Hardcover, 310 pages
Source: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for review consideration. This in no way affects my review; all opinions are my own. Thank you, Iris and Pegasus Books!
In 1944, just days after the liberation of Paris, Charles Jackson sees something horrific: a man in a dark tunnel, apparently drinking the blood of a murdered woman. Terrified, he does nothing, telling himself afterward that worse tragedies happen during war. Seven years later he returns to the city and sees the same man dining in the company of a fascinating, beautiful young woman. When they leave the restaurant, Charles decides to follow . . . A Love Like Blood is a dark, compelling thriller about how a man’s life can change in a moment and about where the desire for truth and revenge can lead.
A Love Like Blood is a dark and disturbing, suspenseful and scary-ass thriller that had my skin crawling. It’s absolutely not what you think it’s going to be. It teases vampires but goes into something way more sinister. There are also some very graphic scenes that require a strong stomach. The prison escape scene was, for me, the most gut-churning. Just letting you know right off the bat that is a seriously grim book and might not be for everyone.
The story spans many decades throughout many countries. It takes place from 1944 to 1968, and focuses on Dr. Charles Jackson’s rather unfortunate (now that’s the understatement of the year) stumble upon and obsession with blood and revenge. We traverse all over Europe, but in the beginning mainly France. It is there that Charles witnesses a man feasting upon the blood of a, presumably dead, woman in a dark, abandoned tunnel. The man is Verovkin, the powerful and dangerous antagonist — whose monologue towards the end, explaining the why and how, I found a bit… lacking. I expected his explanation to be relayed in a more inventive way, instead of just pages and pages of dialogue.
Charles is an English haematologist — a person who studies and treats blood conditions and disorders. (Rather ironic for this story, don’t you think?) I found Charles quite bland for most of the book. I honestly never even remembered his name. The man dines out a lot, and frequently stalks people around town. You could say he’s a perv, but definitely a creeper. Except for just one instance, he follows people around purely because he wants information they have. Yup, Charles Jackson never knows how or when to drop something when it gets bad, even at the numerous suggestions and urges from his best friend, Hunter. Charles’s curiosity knows no boundaries. And by the book’s end, he has radically changed — his transformation is quite frightening as well as quite sad.
An interesting note: As much of the book takes place in France, it’s obvious that the locals should speak French, right? Right. However, no English translations were given, so there’d be a chunk of French dialogue and I’ve had no clue as to what it meant. (I didn’t study French, guys!) This didn’t bother me that much, but I did wonder if I was missing out on some important or interesting dialogue.
Marcus Sedgwick’s writing is terrific. He doesn’t clutter up his descriptions with lots of pretentious words. He uses a tone that keeps the entire mood under a dark blanket of forboding. His writing definitely seems like it fits the time period of the story. It’s not difficult to read, not stuffy at all, and the chapters are all very short, so the pace goes quickly even though the plot takes its time to really get going. But then go it does!
Marcus is known for his acclaimed Young Adult novels, and I only just discovered him last year when I read his Printz Award-winning Midwinterblood (which was my second favorite book I read in 2014). I fell in love with his writing and proclaimed him a new favorite author of mine. His books (that I’ve read) are haunting and unique, and A Love Like Blood is a chilling escapade into a man’s dark spiral downwards into obsession. ♦
So tell me…
Have you read A Love Like Blood? If you haven’t, would you be interested to? And have you read any of Marcus Sedgwick’s other books? Comment below letting me know! And, as always, happy reading!