Innocent Blood by Elizabeth Corley

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Innocent Blood by Elizabeth Corley

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A dark and meticulously plotted tale of what happens when young boys slide into prostitution - and of the people who surround them. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: April 2009
Publisher: Allison & Busby
ISBN: 978-0749079383

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Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Fenwick is investigating some information that came originally from the USA. It would seem that there is a paedophile ring operating in his locality and, worryingly, it's been in existence for a number of years and might well be involved in the murders of local boys. One body, buried twenty five years ago, has recently been discovered and another boy, missing for nearly as long, has presumably met the same fate. There's additional pressure because an eleven-year-old schoolboy has recently gone missing from his home.

His friend and colleague, Inspector Nightingale, has problems of her own. She's looking into a potential charge of attempted murder. Major Maidment is hailed as a hero by the local community for his spirited attack on a con man who pulled a knife on a policeman. Unfortunately it's the Major who is being charged with attempted murder as the con man nearly died. Nightingale is certain that the Major is hiding something and she's determined to find out what it is. Life isn't being easy on her. A superior officer feels that her promotion might not have been a good idea, some junior officers are resentful of her rank and her friendship with Fenwick is causing gossip.

For the first time in my life I was grateful that I wasn't the parent of a small boy. The children who disappeared came from average homes, perhaps a little cloying or over-protective, but none of them bad homes. The boys wanted a little excitement, a little adventure and if what they did wasn't very pleasant they were well-compensated financially. They slipped easily into a life of abuse, into a world where they really merited nothing in the way of care because they were little tarts, no better than they ought to be, deserving of everything that they got.

And what they got was rape, physical abuse and sometimes death when things got just a little out of hand. The very best, the most beautiful boys were not always easy to come by, but their reward was likely to be the worst abuse. It's a world that is so easy to slide into, so difficult to escape from and leaving more than physical scars.

And then there's the Major - hidebound by his code of honour and a seemingly sympathetic character but with a secret in his past which he could not bear to see made public, for his own sake, for his family's sake. It seems that it isn't just the conman that he might have been trying to murder. How is he involved in the murder and disappearance of the boys? What is so dreadful that it forces his silence?

I'd like to say that I enjoyed this book but that simply wouldn't be the right word. I couldn't put it down. It's a meticulously-plotted police procedural but with darker undertones than usual. There are no gory details but you can't read the book without being brutally aware of what happens to boys caught up in this world. It's compulsive reading and comes highly recommended by The Bookbag.

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

For books with similar themes, although without the dark undertones you might enjoy Prize Murder by Nicholas Rhea or Donna Leon's Fatal Remedies.

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Buy Innocent Blood by Elizabeth Corley at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Innocent Blood by Elizabeth Corley at


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