A review of Bloodman by Robert Pobi

Published on July 21, 2012

If there’s a more endangered species than debut authors, I don’t know what it is. Handicapped by having unknown names, the new author’s book is almost always given a limited print run with often minimal publicity. Success depends on attracting the attention of book buyers who, according to some studies, linger over a title on bookstore shelves an average of seven seconds before moving on. It’s a wonder that any new authors manage to survive in such an inhospitable environment, and of course most simply do not. With their first works confined to remainder bins or returned to publishers for pulping after a few scant weeks on the shelves, typical debut novelist have a very harsh fate indeed.

Yet against all odds, promising new authors surface each year and, incredibly, some even thrive. One such author could be Montrealer Robert Pobi, whose debut novel, Bloodman, is a compelling, original tale that will be an exciting find for thriller fans in search of a quality read.

Robert Pobi

Simon & Schuster

In Bloodman, Special Agent Jake Cole – born Jacob Coleridge Jr. – has returned to Montauk, on Long Island, after an absence of nearly three decades, to deal with his father who’s been fighting a losing battle against the crippling effects of Alzheimer’s disease. A painter with an international reputation, the elderly recluse has been hospitalized following an accident stemming from his dementia. The timing is unfortunate: a massive hurricane is rapidly converging on the small community. Quickly gathering force as it approaches the East Coast, the storm threatens to decimate the exposed village and its vulnerable residents. As the locals prepare for the worst, news crews move into the area to begin their grim reportage.

But even the most terrified residents cannot imagine the horrors that are about to engulf their isolated peninsula, for there is another kind of storm descending on the region. Jake has not even settled into his childhood home when he gets a call from the local sheriff: a multiple homicide has occurred only minutes away. Aware that he is out of his depth, the sheriff has contacted the FBI for assistance. They gave the sheriff Cole’s name, knowing that he’s nearby; as a consultant to the Feds, Cole has dealt with some of the most dangerous killers in the country. Torn between his family crisis and the murder case, Cole reluctantly agrees to help.

An exquisitely layered tale that will haunt your dreams.

But not even Jake Cole is prepared for the grim tableau that awaits him at the crime scene. A woman and child have been savagely murdered, literally skinned alive. The sheriff of the normally placid community, a decent man, simply cannot comprehend the sheer brutality of the crime. Cole, however, recognizes the signature of the killer from an earlier case: it involved his own mother, murdered when he was only a child. As he moves to track down a deranged serial killer, he must come to terms with his own horribly scarred past, and before the case comes to a conclusion it will take a terrifyingly personal turn that not even Cole can anticipate

An exquisitely layered tale that will haunt your dreams, Bloodman is intensely graphic – as it must be; but it is also a probing account of one man’s troubled journey through life, told with heart-rending pathos. A literate, compelling debut that can more than hold its own with the best thrillers of today, Bloodman should generate legions of fans for this talented author. mRb

Jim Napier’s reviews have appeared in several Canadian newspapers and on his own award-winning website, Deadly Diversions.



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