“The first in a series of books with D.I. Ray McBain – a Glasgow detective who turns to his best friend, Kenny O’Neill when he goes on the run after he becomes the prime suspect in a grisly murder.
An old man is found murdered in his Glasgow flat. DI Ray McBain is called to the scene and is the first to notice that the man’s wounds mirror the Stigmata. The police quickly discover that the victim is a former janitor who worked in several care homes where he abused his charges. Is someone taking revenge thirty years after the fact?
McBain, as a child was a resident of Bethlehem House, a Catholic run care home where the murdered man worked and early on in the investigation, McBain decides to hide a crucial bit of evidence relating to his stay in the convent orphanage.
When his superiors find out, McBain becomes the prime suspect in the case and has to make a decision which will leave him on the run and alone, trying to solve the murders and, at the same time, the puzzle of his past – a past that is pushing into the present with a recurring suffocating dream of blood and feathers that descends on him every night.”
It is my great pleasure to welcome you to my stop on the Blood Tears blog tour. Blood Tears is the first book in the DI Ray McBain series written by Michael J. Malone, and it has recently been given a fantastic new makeover! I first discovered Malone’s books a couple of years ago when I read A Suitable Lie; it blew me away. Beautiful, haunting and oh so powerful, it was an easy choice for my book of 2016. Since then I have read several other works by this author and loved each and every one of them. Blood Tears was no different.
A brilliantly graphic and gory start pulls the reader straight into this hard-hitting story. I’m a strange creature (maybe) and I have before confessed to loving crime novels which revolve around religious practices and institutions. And oh boy, this one certainly does. DI Ray McBain is called to investigate the grisly murder scene and immediately notices something no one else has; the victim’s wounds mirror Stigmata. Having had a lonely childhood in the local Catholic orphanage, Ray is all too familiar with the marks. What he doesn’t realise, as he starts to investigate the killing, is that he’s going to have to confront those childhood traumas head-on. Straight back to the malicious Sister Mary and memories of his lonely, far from perfect childhood at Bethlehem House. Desperate to stay on the case, determined to find the killer, Ray makes a catastrophic mistake and convinces a younger officer to lie on his behalf. Before long DI Ray McBain is their number one suspect and on the run. Can McBain solve the case from afar and clear his name before it’s too late…
I loved Ray McBain (how could I not?!). I do like my lead characters to have ‘something’ about them, something that makes them a little more, shall we say, interesting…? Ray is certainly that. He knows right from wrong but in the interests of the investigation, there are certain lines which he is more than happy to blur a little. And as for his mate, well, he’s a local ‘businessman’ who doesn’t seem to care how criminal the business he’s in is as long as the money keeps rolling in! It wasn’t just Ray and BFF Kenny who had my full attention. Virtually every character created by Malone in Blood Tears stands strong and brings something worthwhile to the story.
Would I recommend this book? I would. This is a strong, well-written piece of crime noir and I enjoyed every moment I spent in the company of Malone’s characters. There are wonderful dashes of laugh out loud humour dotted here and there which bring a lightness to the intense, terrifying plot. This isn’t a story for the faint hearted though; with language which made me blush and many references to bumping uglies*, I was a suitable shade of scarlet at times! Incredibly dark and brilliantly gripping; I can’t wait to read A Taste for Malice (DI McBain #2).
Four out of five stars.
*Google it, if you dare!
Blood Tears by Michael J. Malone was first published in the UK in June 2012 and is available in eBook format (please note, some of the following links are affiliate links): | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |
Michael J Malone is the author of over 200 published poems, two poetry collections, six novels, countless articles and one work of non-fiction.
Formerly a Faber and Faber Regional Sales Manager (Scotland and North England), he has judged and critiqued countless poetry, short story and novel competitions for a variety of organisations, and for a number of years was the Scottish correspondent for Writers’ Forum.
Michael is an experienced workshop leader/ creative writing lecturer to writers’ groups, schools and colleges as well as a personal coach and mentor. He has a Certificate in Life Coaching and studied as a facilitator with The Pacific Institute.
As a freelance editor he has edited and mentored writers in a variety of genres and for traditionally published as well as self-published authors.
He is a regular speaker and chair at book festivals throughout the UK– including Aye Write, Bloody Scotland, Crimefest and Wigtown.