Wednesday, April 29, 2009

THE COLOUR OF BLOOD by Declan Hughes

Published: John Murray, 2007
ISBN: 978 0 7195 6841 1

First line: The last case I worked, I found a sixteen-year-old girl for her father; when she told me what he had done to her, I let her stay lost.

After receiving some compromising photos of his missing teenage daughter, Emily, along with a ransom demand, wealthy Shane Howard employs Dublin private investigator Ed Loy to find her. This task is no difficulty for someone with Ed's knowledge of Dublin's darker side. However, disentangling himself from the Howard family proves more difficult.

When Emily's ex-boyfriend is found murdered in his flat things start to get very messy. Ed finds himself enmeshed in a complicated web of pornography, blackmail, gangsters and murder; not to mention a family with some deeply buried secrets that they would very much like to stay buried. The key to the current events lies long in the past, and as Ed starts making the connections that draw all the threads together, the story moves along at a rapid pace until the final dramatic scenes.

The Colour of Blood has an extremely complex plot, and it's a sign of Hughes' skill that he was not only able to keep track of all the various threads, but to untangle them so neatly by the end. The story revolves around the Howards – and a more dysfunctional family you'd never want to meet. On the surface they appear to have everything – money, success and social position, but underneath they're sinking in a veritable cesspool of deceit and secrecy. Ed's involvement in the case is further complicated by his attraction to Shane's sister, the beautiful and sexy Sandra Howard.

Ed is tough and resilient in the noir PI tradition. He has a strong moral core that compels him to search out the truth, even if that truth is sometimes an uncomfortable one. His past, particularly the death of his daughter, and his subsequent broken marriage, continue to haunt him.

The Colour of Blood is a worthy sequel to The Wrong Kind of Blood, the first in the Ed Loy series, and I look forward to reading the next book, The Dying Breed (The Price of Blood in the USA). The fourth in the series, All the Dead Voices has just been released in Britain and Australia.

For more information go to Declan Hughes' website


  1. Hi Helen, have not seen any reviews by you in a while. Hope all is OK.
    My best

  2. Thanks, Maxine. As you can see I'm back at last. The reasons for my long absence are several and all are very boring, but I think I'm really back this time. :)

  3. Welcome back! Lovely to read your latest post. I hope everything is sorted out and that we'll be reading more reviews, now. Some of the books on your sidebar are ones I've read fairly recently so I look forward to reading your take on them. (not sure I actually need any rave reviwes of books I haven't read, just at the moment!)

  4. I'm hoping to be a bit more regular with blog postings now. Don't hold your breath for reviews of my latest acquisitions, though! I'm a mad acquirer, and collect books far more quickly than I can read them. But there are a couple in that list I really want to get to soon.