Blood Pool by J E Ryder

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Blood Pool by J E Ryder

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: It's not a book you can pick up and put down - it had me nailed from page one. You'll warm to the characters and there's a nail biting finale. Recommended. J E Ryder popped into Bookbag Towers to chat to us.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 237 Date: December 2012
Publisher: J. E. Ryder

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Samantha Shelley was surprised to become the owner of a boatyard when her husband died in a cliff fall. She had worked in the East Devon boatyard - run it in fact - for quite some time but it's the men of the Shelley 'blood pool' who have always inherited the land for the past two hundred years. She was aware of ill-feeling against her in the village, but her priority was to keep the business running as smoothly as possible for herself and for the staff she employed. There was some support in the village - an old friend, known to one and all as 'the Prof' - had always been there for her and willing to listen to her outpourings or just to chatter as she drank coffee. Then he disappeared in violent circumstances.

And that was after Sam found a body on the beach - right at the point where her husband died.

The Prof has always been thought of as an eccentric inventor, whose inventions never quite made it to fruition, such as the lawnmower that, well, didn't. But it seems that his latest invention might have come good - in fact might be so good that more than one group of people are keen to get their hands on the prototype and the plans - and they're unlikely to be using for the benefit of anyone but themselves. Sam blames herself for not going to see the Prof on the day when everything went wrong and now his wife is in hospital after being attacked, he's wanted for murder and Sam just doesn't know who she can trust.

I wasn't really intending to read this book in one sitting. I just planned to get an idea of the characters, sort out who was who and then read it an hour or two at a time over the next few days. That was at eight o'clock one evening: I put the book down with a satisfied nod at four o'clock the following morning. I warmed to Sam Shelley immediately: a woman doing a 'man's job' and coping with everything that was thrown at her largely on her own. I was willing her to succeed from the very beginning. There's the staff in the boatyard - needing the jobs, seeming to work reasonably well, but with some barely hidden truculence and an agenda of their own. But what is it? Then there are the 'outsiders' - and not just Sam (although she's one too) - the ones who wear suits and shiny shoes. You'll sway back and forth as to who you believe in, much as I did.

JE Ryder knows her boats too. There's a wonderful sense of an area that isn't quite land or sea, but an amalgam of them both, not quite belonging to either one or the other and having an organised untidiness about it. It makes a splendid setting and when it comes to the storm-drenched finale you'll have to remind yourself to breathe. And just to polish it all off there's a twist, right at the end, which I really wasn't expecting and It took my breath away completely.

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

If this book appeals then we think that you might also enjoy Shadow on the Sun by R Julian Cox.

You can read more about J E Ryder here.

Bookinterviews.jpg J E Ryder was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.

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Buy Blood Pool by J E Ryder at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Blood Pool by J E Ryder at


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