cover image A Matter of Blood

A Matter of Blood

Sarah Pinborough. Ace, $16 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-425-25846-0

In a near-future London of financial insecurity and increasing social inequity, Det. Insp. Cass Jones is saddled with two challenging but otherwise mundane cases: one involving the deaths of two boys, apparently gunned down accidentally during the attempted assassination of a notorious crime lord, and the other involving a nihilistic serial killer called Man of Flies. Then Cass learns his brother, Christian, has murdered Christian’s wife and son before turning the gun on himself; Cass’s affair with Christian’s wife is quickly uncovered, and Cass’s fingerprints are found on Christian’s gun. The occult overtones and heavy-handed corporatist futurism are minor distractions from the heart of this book, which is a perfectly acceptable British-style police procedural centered on a cop who is just morally compromised enough to drive the plot and idealistic enough to be an impediment to the true villains. While clearly a series launch, this competent novel can be enjoyed on its own merits, albeit more for the investigation than the speculative elements. (Apr.)