Today I’m delighted to be hosting the next stop on Kate Rhodes’ Blood Symmetry Blog Tour. I’m also super excited to share with you an *exclusive* piece of content from the author with Lola’s story, one of the fab recurring characters in the Alice Quentin series alongside my review of the book.
*Exclusive Author Content*
Blood Symmetry: Lola’s story by Kate Rhodes
I’ve known Alice forever. I saw her on our first day at secondary school, tiny and blank-faced as a porcelain doll, blonde hair perfectly combed. All of that composure made me want to chase her round the playground, until she was muddy and windblown, like me. Being chalk and cheese is the basis of our friendship. I thought we’d grow apart when I went to drama school and she trained as a psychologist, but we didn’t, thank God. She comes to wild parties with me, I get hours of free counselling, and the exchange suits us perfectly.
There’s a saying that describes exactly how I see Alice: still waters run deep. Being a shrink is her ideal job. She can sit and watch every movement in a crowded restaurant for hours, transfixed by the weirdness of human behaviour. There’s no point in bullshitting when she’s around, because she sees straight through it, so I don’t even try. Some people find her remote, but they’re missing the warmth she keeps hidden. Whenever I’m in a new play, she’s in the front row, giving me a standing ovation, no matter how badly I perform. I could have chosen an acting friend for my daughter’s godmother, but Alice fits the role perfectly. Watching her with my three month-old baby is a revelation. Her detachment vanishes; there’s sadness in her face when it’s time for her to put Neve back in her cot and walk away.
I worry about Alice, of course. I don’t know much about forensic psychology, but it brings her into contact with the most terrifying criminals on the planet. I honestly don’t know how she does it. One bad review and I’m shattered, while she can spend days interviewing a psychotic murderer and remain cool as a cucumber. Her latest case is the worst of all. Tension hangs over her, even when she plays with Neve. She never talks about her work directly, but details surface over coffee. She’s counselling a boy who saw his mother abducted from Clapham Common. The kid’s too terrified to speak a word. It’s Alice’s job to help him talk again, so he can explain what happened to his mum, before it’s too late. I can see worry written all over her face, but there’s one upside to the situation. Her new boyfriend is nothing like the clever, ambitious men she normally chooses. Don Burns is a high-ranking police officer in the Met. He’s six feet five, built like a brick wall, and just as stubborn and determined as her. I love the guy to bits. The only shadow on the horizon is that they have to work together, but the way he looks at her always makes me smile. His expression’s dazed, like a cartoon character who’s been bashed round the head with a brick. He’s flat-out in love with her, although she’s too focused on work to notice. I can’t wait for the case to be over, so I can get my friend back, and she can stop burning the midnight oil.
Now for the Book Review
Blurb: Clare Riordan and her son Mikey are abducted from Clapham Common early one morning. Hours later, the boy is found wandering disorientated. Soon after, a pack of Clare’s blood is left on a doorstep in the heart of the City of London.
Alice Quentin is brought in to help the traumatised child uncover his memories – which might lead them to his mother’s captors. But she swiftly realises Clare is not the first victim… nor will she be the last.
The killers are driven by a desire for revenge… and in the end, it will all come down to blood.
This is the fifth instalment in the Alice Quentin series – having not read any of the others I was intrigued and very excited by this new heroine. Alice Quentin is a Forensic Psychologist who is called in to help Mikey, a traumatised child who was kidnapped along with his mother Clare Riordan but managed to escape. As Clare’s captors continually taunt the police with blood packs left in a number of locations across London Alice and her boyfriend DCI Don Burns quickly realise that Clare is not the first to fall victim, nor will she be the last.
If I could sum up this book in one word I would say breath-taking!
I spent an amazing weekend with Alice Quentin and her world feeling very much involved with all of the characters lives. I especially loved the main character of Alice Quentin from the very beginning! I found myself caring about Mikey, Burns as well as understanding the strong motivation of the killers which made the characters jump right of the page and into my imagination.
The novel was told from two points of view – Alice and the killers whose identities were kept secret until the very end (I won’t ruin it but it kept me guessing.) I thought this was great as it provided an insight into the antagonist as well as ratcheting up that much loved tension.
I could tell while I was reading this novel that the author knew a lot about the tainted blood scandal as well as all of the many locations which featured in the novel through her vivid descriptions, and Alice’s own insights into her world which really made this a very realistic story and enjoyable read.
I adored reading this book and was so absorbed into the story I didn’t want it to end – I actually read this in two days straight (a very good record for me).
This was an absolute fabulous novel packed full of pace, suspense, blood, murder and revenge but still managed to contain a compelling cast of characters which I found myself empathising with. A definite must-read for crime fans!
With thanks to Becca Mundy and Hodder and Stoughton for my copy of Blood Symmetry.
To buy this book on Amazon click here
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Don’t forget to check out all of the other fab stops on the Blood Symmetry Blog Tour!