I finished this book just before my holiday (which was lucky as my suitcase was heavy enough without needing to include a big hardback book) As anyone who has read any of my previous posts will know I’m a big Mark Billingham fan so was looking forward to reading this.
Rush of Blood sees Mark Billingham depart from his usual Tom Thorne character and create this stand alone novel. Three couples are on holiday in Florida when a young girl goes missing. After doing the predictable exchange of emails they return to the UK and then they continue to keep abreast of the case through discussion at a series of dinner parties. Another girl then goes missing and the three couples are questioned by ambitious trainee detective Jenny. She is asked to follow up some preliminary interviews with the six potential witnesses and believes (obviously rightly) that one of the couples is hiding something.
On the whole I enjoyed this story. The departure from Thorne means the book reads very differently to the writer’s usual novels with the narrative flitting between Florida and England with most of the ‘action’ being revealed throughout the dinner party scenes. During these at times, the conversation ‘flow’ seemed rather forced, which I suspect was done on purpose, to amplify the fact that were it not for the holiday these couples would probably not have been friends. The stilted dialogue adds to the atmosphere and increases the feel of tension and nerves.
The twist at the end was not particularly startling. I thought it was quite obvious that it was going to happen the way it did but saying that, actually working out which of the couples were involved was not quite so easy. Although it was not a fast paced book in terms of action scenes there were enough red herrings to keep it interesting. The novel seemed very character driven and the story was pushed along by the unveiling of characteristics of the main players which was an interesting ploy. None of the characters were particularly likeable though. It was a sense of hoping they would all get their comeuppance for being unpleasant people that kept me turning the pages so quickly!
Overall I wouldn’t say that this is one of his best novels and if anyone hasn’t read Mark Billingham before, I’d recommend starting with Sleepyhead and working through the Thorne novels first, but Rush of Blood is certainly worth a read.