And the little current of emotion that he had refused to acknowledge a few hours ago came to the front of everything. blocking out the ocean and the moon beyond. It froze in his head and his blood pressure surge in one electromagnetic pulse that rattled his gray matter.
That old motherfucker fear was coming out to play.
One of the challenges of book reviewing is to carry the proper amount of objective information through a personal reading. Some books are just flat out great, which make my job easy and some other are blurring and prompt debates. I'm not sure if Robert Pobi's BLOODMAN will be debated much online, but it sure turned the conflict crank within pretty hard. While it's a novel that left me pretty cold, I don't have much to reproach, stylistically. Plus, I felt rather shitty to not be enthusiast about a fellow Montreal writer. But point is that I didn't like it, for personal, aesthetic reasons. But it's a commercial thriller. It's aimed at a very precise audience, which I don't belong to. My main issue with BLOODMAN is that it deals with many ideas I'm very weary of. In a way I'm very weary of. But in it's genre, it's a novel that I'm sure will please many reader and will have a lot a success. Just, you know...not my thing *.
FBI Consultant Jake Cole returns to Montauk, Long Island after years of absence to take care of his elderly ather. His old man is a legendary American painter at the twilight of existence, prey to senility. He set literally himself ablaze in a dark moment. They are very different and Jake's not very happy to be back to the well. It's a poisonous place for him. As if things couldn't get any worse for him, there's a killer that starts striking in the neighborhood. A killer who brings back bad memories to Jake. See, he's not your typical FBI Agent. He's hired by the bureau to profile criminals due to his phenomenal memory. He can paint portraits of psychopathic minds as well as his father painted canvasses. You think things hit rock bottom? Oh no. On top of things, they're a hurricane coming. A big boy named Dylan who makes more promises than his sister Katrina on his way to landfall.
All right, let's get this out of the way. I can't read anymore novels where FBI Agents track serial killers. They are a subgenre of serial killer novels themselves. When I say my differences with BLOODMAN are entirely personal, it's because I know who this novel is written for. There are readers who know exactly what they are looking for. They want to read a certain type of stories again and again and they are looking for the person who can deliver it the best. Think of the Harry Potter legions for example who moved to the Percy Jackson books and other Young Adult novels with a fantasy spin. I don't read for that, but I understand those who do. I read to be told something I've never heard before and if that thing makes me lose my hair from fear and dread, all the better. But in its field - the commercial thriller - BLOODMAN is a clever novel. Robert Pobi manages to leave enough bread crumbs in his trail to keep his reader busy and interested.
Hurricane Dylan was now surging towards the American coast and the water in its path was hammered into eighty-foot waves by winds that neared 200 miles an hour. And he hadn't really started putting on his war paint.
He was saving that for landfall.
The thing I appreciated the most about BLOODMAN is Pobi's knack for plotting, particularly for burying clues in his narrative. He's being neither obtuse or obvious. The best thriller readers will sniff out the culprit about halfway in, but it's going to manage to keep most souls under its spell. Also, I really enjoyed the symbolism of the hurricane. It made for beautiful scenes. Thought it was very fitting and original. Here's another problem I had with it and don't get me wrong, this is me being a nit-picky bastard here. When I finished it, some scenes just didn't held up to my suspension of disbelief. At all. Got me doing a big fat ol' "COME.ON" **. But that's me. Robert Pobi's BLOODMAN embraces the commercial thriller form and unapologetically so. I know exactly the crowd that is into such form and they will enjoy BLOODMAN probably more than most novels in the genre. While it's hellbent on the classic tropes, it treats its reader with respect and doesn't undermine its intelligence. It's a fun piece of sleuthing, but as a novel...it's not bad by any means, but I can't say I enjoyed it.
* No snobbery intended.
** Another point...maybe not as pertinent, but another pet peeve. The killer skins people alive. As vile and despicable of an act this is, it seems that skinning people alive has become a benchmark in depravity. It's like serial killers have skinning conventions or something. I know it's twisted, but I'm aching for something how. How about turning people into quadraplegic sex slaves and then starving them to death? Now THAT'S evil.