A Love Like Blood

Written by Marcus Sedgwick
Review by Edward James

Marcus Sedgwick has already published 12 YA novels, and this is his first novel for adults. His YA experience shows in his precise, simple prose, the straightforward story line (essentially a chase) and the fast pace with plenty of physical action. YA fiction is less noted for character development, but this what this novel is all about. In the course of 24 years (1944 to 1968), the narrator’s professional and social life disintegrates, and he moves from being a sedate, career minded hospital doctor to becoming a rootless, homicidal outlaw, driven by an obsession to avenge his girlfriend’s murder.

As the title warns, there is a lot of blood in this book and all of it red, warm and messy. The villain likes to drink his victims’ blood, the narrator is a haematologist (there is quite a lot about his work) and he escapes from his adversary by amputating his own thumb and cauterising the wound, so as to slip his hand from the ring holding him to his prison wall. If you do not like blood, this is definitely not the book for you. If it does not disturb you, then I think you will find this a suspenseful, fast-moving thriller with some interesting settings.