Blood Sport by David J. Gatward

Blood Sport by David J. Gatward
Publisher: Weirdstone Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

A mysterious red sports car. A bloodied animal corpse. He’s caught the scent of a brutal crime, and he won’t stop until it’s solved…

DCI Harry Grimm is weary of humanity’s evil. Dragged to the middle of nowhere during the darkest of hours, he’s enraged by grisly evidence of a horrific illegal dog fight. And when the mutilated remains turn out to be a gamekeeper’s stolen pet, the gritty detective senses he has a solid lead after learning of a long-running feud.

Immediately putting his team on the case, Grimm worries the stakes may be escalating when the animal’s owner is beaten and left for dead. And though the tough investigator puts his nose to the ground and follows the bloody clues, he fears there’s only one shot to apprehend the real monster.

Can he bring a loathsome criminal to justice before the savagery turns deadly?

DCI Harry Grimm is now the permanent DCI for their small community, and he feels he’s finally settling right in. So, when a friend and local calls Harry in the middle of the night, upset at finding blood and the signs of a fight he’s not worried about the lack of sleep. Only all indications of the crime scene indicate there’s a ring of dog fighters and Harry knows too well how insidious – and dangerous – such criminals and actions can be. Will they be able to stop things before they get out of hand?

I’ve been really enjoying this series and found this book to be a solid addition to it. While there’s quite a few smaller plots that are linked in to this dog-fighting ring I feel readers who haven’t read any of the previous stories should be able to follow along quite well without any problems. Those of us who have read the previous installments however should be very happy – I was thrilled that quite a few of the previously unsolved issues got cleaned up in this book and felt quite satisfied with how those plot-arcs were resolved.

There is a fair bit of character growth in a number of Harry’s team in this book and I found it overall a really well written and interesting book. I was pleased to see this progress and feel it will likely make a lot of other readers happy too. I was glad the animal scenes weren’t too gritty and there was no titillation in these scenes – no graphic descriptions of abuse or cruelty to animals and indeed I was very pleased that the police are shown as taking this kind of cruelty and criminality every bit as seriously as abuse and damage to humans.

Readers looking for a country feel but still strongly police procedural and mystery solving story should absolutely try this series. Personally, I feel the books are better read in order, but I think they can be read out of order and still enjoyed.

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