From Blood by Edward Wright

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From Blood by Edward Wright

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Louise Laurie
Reviewed by Louise Laurie
Summary: An intricate story spanning decades and also involving different generations of the same family: Shannon Fairchild is a bit of a rebel; she's also a bit of a handful for her parents - but why, exactly? All becomes crystal clear in this slick conspiratorial plot.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 352 Date: November 2010
Publisher: Orion
ISBN: 978-0752891767

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While I'm not mad about the title, the book's cover is atmospherically good - it says to the reader 'please pick me up and read me.' So I did. The book opens in 1960s America with the Prologue. A bunch of radical thinkers are angry. They turn this pent-up anger into a well-oiled, well-ordered act of violence. Lives are lost. But the perpetrators are clever and most of them escape justice. They do what many around the world have done before them; they go underground. But several key members are still at large ...

We're then introduced to the main character, a young woman called Shannon Fairchild. We learn that she comes from a nice, respectable, middle-class family. Secretly her parents expected their daughter to 'do' something with her life. Become a doctor or a lawyer perhaps. Instead, Shannon chooses to clean other people's houses for a living. She's also her own worst enemy as she is regularly Hanging out with trashy friends, getting messed in bars ...

But I couldn't help warming to Shannon. She's spirited as well as being a free spirit. And I loved Wright's paragraphs where he describes Shannon's unique cleaning regime. She makes light of it by doing the housework to music. Loud music. She gets the job done though. I liked her creative take on her job. And I know it seems like a well-worn cliche but (along with every other American citizen it seems) Shannon has regular sessions with her therapist. But her reasons are altogether more complex. She's both concerned and worried. And as the story develops we understand that Shannon's fears are real - very real.

As one tragedy follows another, Shannon has little choice but become involved in all sorts of situations: deceit, lies, cover-ups and much more. And it's all happening within her own family. She finds herself in possession of some information and she's not sure what to do with it. But doing nothing is not an option. This is all the more commendable as we see that Shannon is rather airy-fairy about her life in general. Even about her relationships. She drifts in and out of them. Her current boyfriend is TeeJay. He's so laid back with life that he's almost horizontal. Or is he simply trying too hard?

Suddenly, Shannon's parents' past is opened up like a can of worms. It's not a pretty sight. And from there, everything gathers momentum. Shannon decides to dig even deeper and discovers even uglier facts. Vietnam and Cuba are mentioned. Others become involved. The Police. The FBI.

It's pretty full-on action in this book from the word go. Danger is also present in hefty doses. Wright gives his readers a complex but believable plot. His characters are believable too. Coupled with a fluid style, Wright has it - well, just about right. The Guardian describes this novel as an intelligent and exciting web of violence and conspiracy. I heartily agree. I really enjoyed this book. Recommended.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

If this book appeals have a look at A Bit of a Scandal by Mary Rose Callaghan

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Kathy Sutherland said:

Interesting review of a not-too-bad novel.

I was enjoying it until I came across the disgraceful misinformation about epilepsy. Quite dreadful and extremely misleading, it continues the stereotype that people with epilepsy have been fighting for years. Today’s drugs do not make you dull, or dampen your reflexes. The whole concept of Wolfe not wanting to tell anyone about his epilepsy is quite outmoded, and really comes straight out of the 50s.

This spoiled the book for me.

Kathy Sutherland