Blood Men by Paul Cleave

(No Series)
Drama, Crime

Edward Hunter is a family man with a beautiful wife and daughter, a great job, a bright future, and a very dark past. Edward's father is a man of blood. He's been in jail for twenty years and he's never coming out. Edward has struggled his entire life to put that all behind him, but it's hard when everybody knows you're the son of a serial killer. Then, a week out from Christmas, Eddie's world is turned upside-down. Suddenly he's going to need the help of his father, a man he hasn't seen since he was a boy. Is Edward destined to be just like his father, to become a man of blood?

It's ironic I ended up bringing this won book on a won trip. We had won an all paid for vacation to the Texas Frightmare Movie Convention, courtesy of the amazing Rue Morgue Magazine. Yes, really, we won the grand prize last year!  I also won this book, Blood Men, through a Goodreads giveaway. We wanted to bring a book with us for downtime in the hotel room and on the plane trip over.

I made a mistake of bringing such a riveting book with me! Because, folks, it's one of those. The plot is tragic and like watching a train wreck, you don't want to put it down. You're on the edge of your seat wondering, hoping, watching, thinking of all the possibilities that might happen next. You just NEED to keep reading. The bank robbery at the beginning was horrifying and sad, and once you've forgiven the book for some tears, it really grows on you and flys off.

The middle was strongly written and riveting. I was anxious to see what would happen to the main character Edward and find out all the revelations about his father in prison. Cleave takes you step by step through different situations that are either heart-wrenching or heart-stopping. The suspense is brutal and this is why I struggled putting it down.

Characterization clearly worked amazingly well. All characters were very life-like and realistic, making it easy to care about what disasters than ran into, hoping they'd avoid the ultimate meltdown. I even cared about the "bad guys" because they fascinated me so much. Not sympathetic exactly, but you still ended up caring about the events surrounding them. The psychological twisting, growth, and angst was extreme.

I ended up loving this dark, intricate book. It pushes the boundaries of normalcy and sets the reader into a troubled seat, witnessing horrifying but realistic events unfolding. You fall into the minds of the character so well you feel his pain and angst as he struggles to stay above the water line. I'll definitely have to check out more of Cleave's work.   I did end up giving four stars rather than five, surprising myself, because at the end the book started letting me down a bit with some of the actions and turnabouts that took place.

Brilliantly written with an addictive pace, amazing characterization and heart-wrenching scenarios, highly recommended for all readers. The darkness will speak to those who like horror, the suspense and thrills are high enough for any suspense fan, even mystery fans should like wondering what will happen next, and there's a high amount of drama infused within to satisfy drama buffs as the story is quite emotional.

   Extra from Author's Site:

To read the first chapter of Blood Men, click here.

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