Blood Falls by Tom Bale

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Blood Falls by Tom Bale

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Louise Laurie
Reviewed by Louise Laurie
Summary: An ex-copper, Joe Clayton, is on the run yet again. Trying to lead a normal, quiet life his inbuilt curiosity sees him embroiled in dangerous and seedy activities in a quiet Cornish town.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 464 Date: October 2011
Publisher: Preface
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1848093256

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I read and reviewed Bale's Terror's Reachand enjoyed it. What would I think of his latest? Joe is doing his level best to live an unremarkable (almost invisible) life in Bristol. He uses his brawn to pay his modest bills for rent, food etc. But you could say, once a copper, always a copper so his brain is not idle, it's in constant use. Whirring away in the background and it's just as well. Joe soon senses imminent danger when a couple of blokes stroll by, stop and ask his gaffer a couple of questions. Joe needs to be somewhere else - and fast.

Apparently a thug and bully boy called Danny Morton has managed to track down Joe. Even although Joe is careful and uses false names. Someone must have grassed on him - but who? And as various questions seeped into my brain I knew that I was going to enjoy this book, right from Chapter One. Bale has a no-nonsense style and tells a good story. The book is a Joe Clayton Thriller and I thought initially that it might have been all action and very little plot and characterisation. But I was wrong.

The story builds up nicely. We get some background on Joe (that's not his real name) and I liked him immediately. He's been through a particularly bad patch in his old line of work and as a consequence he lives apart from his wife and children. It's tearing him apart but he needs to get a grip, be strong and not let his guard down, for their sakes. Easier said than done.

Joe doesn't seek out violence. But somehow it often seeks him out and when it does, he can take care of himself. He's past his first flush of youth but he's still physically fit. He's been forced to leave Bristol in a helluva hurry and leads for (what he believes) anonymity in a sleepy Cornish town. The widow of an old and trusted police colleague has opened a B & B there - surely she'll give him a bed for a night or two and no questions asked.

But what greets Joe is a very jittery Diana. She seems scared on her own shadow even although she's putting on a brave face. They have a little 'history' together so Diana is happy to settle Joe in. She also knows not to ask too many questions, even although she's dying to. She also wonders if they'll pick up where they left off. Joe is still a very attractive man.

And what starts out as an innocent casual job in the local area for Joe becomes something much more sinister. In his first few days he feels a general unease amongst the locals. He can't figure it out. The town is attractive with busy shops. But all is not what it seems and Joe is drawn in deeper and deeper.

Although Bale's writing style is straightforward and effective, he also has a nice touch when it comes to description. Here's a lovely example. A waiter is delivering a round of drinks in a pub. He drinks. The water had ice cubes and lemon, as clean and clear as a polar morning. The Guinness had a perfect white foamy head, like the Irish Sea on a stormy night, and the brandy sat in its fat glass like a wicked uncle with a dark gleam in his eye.

I enjoyed this book as much as Terror's Reach and probably a little more. A thriller but with good characterisation and a credible plot. Recommended.

If this book appeals then you might like to try Terror's Reach also by Tom Bale.

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