Blood Road by Caspar Walsh
|Blood Road by Caspar Walsh|
|Reviewer: Louise Laurie|
|Summary: A long-term criminal pushes his luck and makes powerful and violent enemies. Instinctively, he knows he needs to go on the run - but he hadn't factored in taking along his two young sons.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Maybe|
|Pages: 320||Date: August 2010|
The book opens with an extremely uncomfortable and graphically depicted scene of violence, made all the more so by the cool, calm and collected manner of the perpetrators. The episode ends in a bloody death. We're in London so straight away there's a smattering of East End humour with lots more to follow. We're introduced to the main male character, Nick, who's really nothing better than low-life scum. That's pretty clear from the outset. Even although he's old enough to know better he's still scum. Add in the fact that he's a husband (separated) and a father and the whole sorry saga starts to unfold. His wife's sick of him and his criminal interests - and so are Jake and Zeb, his two sons.
He says he can't help it. All this criminality is in his blood. However, his latest 'job' takes an unexpected turn and he find himself packing a bag - fast. He has two passengers - his sons. And so their journey starts. They travel hundreds of miles in various forms of transport and meet all sorts of people along the way. If my description (which was instinctive) sounds a bit Disney-ish, perhaps it's because that parts of the story, parts of the plot, lacked some credibility and at times even a little dull. I was expecting better, I have to admit, especially as the blurb on the book jacket was positive regarding Walsh's book Criminal. The book jacket is certainly eye-catching but it just didn't live up to expectations.
Having said that, I did veer from liking the book to not liking it so much, several times, especially the middle section. What was natural and refreshingly funny was the teenage banter between the two boys. Teenager Jake has some attitude issues (what modern teenager doesn't you could reasonably ask) and the younger Zeb is a delight. He's full of life and full of boyish charm.
I just kept seeing flaws all over this novel. I found myself asking various questions of the characters and not really getting satisfactory answers. I found Nick infuriating and a rubbish (as Jake would probably say) father. Now, I know that's the whole point but to me his character was way too wishy-washy and not totally convincing. The two boys seem to have more common sense than their father. We find out about Nick's childhood and his relationship with his own father. All a little bit predictable and heard it all before.
The boys are exposed to unsavoury people and scary situations on this trip, which either will, yes, make or break them. When the boys meet some pretty girls en route they invariably snigger and turn bright red. Lots of fall-about jokes from the boys to mask their true emotions and insecurities. Again, rather predictable. Plenty of boozy nights and hang-over mornings etc...
Interlaced with this trip, the reader is kept up to date with the low-life acquaintances of Nick. One of them has managed to drag himself out of poverty. He describes his current success as From dirt-poor Fulham to nose-in-the-air Maida Vale. But does his story have a happy ending? Overall, I felt let down. I was expecting a great read but it was a tad disappointing and predictable in too many places.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
If this book appeals then you might like to try Raven Black by Ann Cleeves.
You can read more book reviews or buy Blood Road by Caspar Walsh at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Blood Road by Caspar Walsh at Amazon.com.
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