We were introduced to D.S. Martyn Webber in Buried Deep (an excellent read) but in Tiger Blood he takes centre stage. His home life is complicated by an event he’d rather not remember, but the woman involved won’t let him off that easily. The results of his indiscretion haunt him throughout this superb crime novel.
Regular readers of my reviews know I don’t do synopses. Those are easily found in the blurb on the various websites and the backs of books. It seems pointless to simply echo them. My focus is on the quality of the writing, the story and the characters.
Here, Penny Grubb delivers a cast of characters who people her book with reality. There is a gritty actuality to the people we meet here: the reader feels these are folk involved in real life. The central protagonist is a flawed working police detective. Webber has issues, but he’s a dedicated seeker of truth unwilling and unable to allow expedience, difficulty or complexity to defeat his purpose in catching the guilty party in the crime he’s investigating. The people surrounding him, whether professional, personal or criminally suspect, are all very real too. The mix of characters makes it easy for the reader to empathise on many levels.
As for the story; with typical Grubb deviousness, it takes the reader on a journey both complex and dangerous. There are red herrings caught up in the net of intrigue. Suspects increase along with the body count. And danger is never far from those Webber most wants to protect.
The denouement starts relatively early and slowly builds at first, until the tension becomes palpable and the reader is urged deeper into the world of the police detective and the victims of crime.
The settings are often real places, but Penny Grubb imbues them with atmosphere so that the reader can envisage the places and visit them mentally as the story unfolds. There is a darkness to the crime scenes that is counterbalanced by the everyday glimpses of cafes, streets and homes.
This is a great story with brilliantly drawn characters. Pace varies with the action, taking the reader on a memorable ride through emotional and mental twists and turns until the eventual and inevitable conclusion brings the story to a satisfying close. A thoroughly absorbing read that leaves the reader looking forward to the next book from this talented storyteller.