Blood and Tears by John Carson

Blood and Tears by John Carson
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Two murderers on the loose. One relentless cop on their tail. Zero hope nobody dies.
DCI Harry McNeil is finally enjoying life outside of policing. But he’s forced back into all work and no play after a transport van explodes and a pair of convicted criminals disappear into thin air. And with his resources stretched to a breaking point and the escapees armed and dangerous, the Edinburgh detective fears nothing can stop more bloodshed.

So when experienced colleagues from Glasgow join the hunt, McNeil works the extra manpower hard to get the savage killers off the streets. But after the vicious slayings resume, the expert investigator and his team must race against time to stop a deadly spree of violence.

Can McNeil trap the ruthless felons before more body count rises higher?

DCI Harry McNeil and his partner Alex once again join forces with their friends and counterparts in Glasgow – DCI Jimmy Dunbar and DS Robbie Evans – when a daring escape outside the High Court happens and two convicted murders escape in the mayhem. Time is of the essence to bring these two fugitives – and their conspirators – into line before everything turns to blood and tears.

This is the fifth book in the DCI Harry McNeil series, and I admit I am thoroughly hooked. I also feel the author has really hit his stride with both this series and his writing as a whole. I find it very “moreish” in that once I get started reading even when I’m busy with other things I just keep wanting to know what happens next, and then after that, and again. While there’s nothing trail blazing with this series, I find the plot has an exceptional balance between detective work and action, the characters are fun, realistic and appealing. I care what happens to the characters, but I also love being along for the ride as they put the puzzle pieces together and solve the crime.

This story in particular had a slightly different bend to it which I found equal parts refreshing and completely different. It’s completely normal for there to be a dead body, a killer and the police figuring out who is responsible – but this time the two murderers are known to the police from the very first page. This is a classic story about what happens AFTER justice is served and the police and court system has worked correctly. What happens when one of the guilty has a strong network of connections and ties and has unfinished business he has no intention of leaving behind?

The jailbreak (or “court break” I suppose) occurs right in the opening chapters and what follows is an action packed, fast paced chase after the two murderers who are seemingly strangers to each other, and each go their own way. I loved how this gave a glimpse into what might happen after the system has performed well and this different look at police work from a new perspective.

Readers who enjoy a good police procedural but want something slightly different to the usual “who dun it” mystery should find this is a breath of fresh air. I strongly feel this story can be picked up as a standalone though it’s a middle book in a series. While there is plenty of backstory between Harry and Alex in particular, and the teams their work with to a slightly lesser extent – I feel this story can absolutely be enjoyed fully if it’s picked up on a whim with no prior background. I’m really enjoying this author and looking forward to reading more by him.

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