by Robert Pobi
I had to put this review up today instead of waiting for its normal turn on the list because I met Mr. Pobi a couple days ago at the Killer Nashville conference. He actually hugged me when I told him I had written his review for Suspense Magazine. He doesn’t read reviews too much but his agent passed mine along to him. We talked and he’s a cool guy, very personable and will be sending me the ARC of his next book. I can’t wait. Anyway, here’s the review for Bloodman.
Jake Cole has rooted out many human monsters in as a Special Agent for the FBI. However, when he returns home to Long Island he soon is pitted against one of the worst…because it involves his family. Jake is home to assess the condition of his father, a famous painter, who is suffering from mental instability, but is also haunted. Not one day home Jake is called to a gruesome murder scene. Jake has the ability to mentally recreate murders but the ability combined with past sufferings, has left him at the point of burn out or maybe insanity. Investigating the case, he discovers a cache of strange painting in his father’s house and workshop. Could they be the clue to the killer? Jake is up against not only a horrifying link to his family’s past, but a present day natural killer: the worst hurricane in history.
This is complex with so many layers it’s impossible to explain them all.
Sure, it’s a murder mystery in its foundation, but from the basement on up, there is so much more. It’s not pretty. In fact, it’s very very dark. It’s a puzzler that will hook you and never let you go.
Jake Cole: 45, birth name was Jacob Coleridge, Junior. FBI Special Agent in New York for twelve years. Smokes, black eyes, has a neck to ankles tattoo of the 12th Canto of Dante’s Inferno. Former drug and alcohol abuser, has scar tissue on his head that causes migraines if he sees bright lights. Has a pacemaker that regulates his heartbeat. Drives a ’68 Dodge Charger. Dad drinks and suffers from mental instability. Dad is a famous painter. Mom was murder with Jake was twelve. Eidetic memory. Married with a son. Looks like Charles Bronson
Mike Hauser: Sheriff, trim, 50, flat-top, played football in high school and at the university of Texas, short stint with the NFL, stands 6’3”. Married with a daughter. Hunter. Has a sister. Has spent twenty years as a cop. Son was killed by a drunk driver. Drives a new Dodge Charger
William Spencer: cop, Jake’s friend from school, dad dead. Big man, owned a Corvette. Used to shuck oysters
Frank Coleridge: Twin brother to Jake’s dad. Lives in Kentucky. Hunter, smokes, Korea vet, pragmatic. Has had several long term relationships with women.
Powerful characters. Pobi has created not only human characters, but uses just about everything in this book as a character. The hurricane. A boat from1969. Jake’s mother’s car. The workshop. The house. Vivid descriptions and personalities. Again, complex characters.
All over the map. Jake’s dialogues tend to be subdued, but at times he will lash out at someone who screwed up. Other characters who speak don’t quite know what to say or how to say it. They’re confused and puzzled by Jake.
Even Jake’s wife is quirky in her speaking even though at first she sounds like a typical spouse. I’m not saying it’s wrong, just very different in regards to the story. I think it works very well. Dialogue ties into:
Lots of profanity. Almost too much at times because Pobi spews it at you.
Some chapters are headed by location or time period. Very graphic details.
This is a gruesome story that doesn’t hold back. It’s a written piece of art. Pobi uses words and phrases like a painter holding a brush, it’s that visual. Sometimes, it’s almost surreal, haunting. Powerful. I thought at first to give it a Brown Belt, but quickly upgraded to Red. The further I read, however, the more this one hooked me like very few books have.