Rick Mofina's 'Blood of Others'

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm into Science Fiction, perhaps a little fantasy, and I'm not really a thriller or crime novel aficionado but occasionally I like to read some. Indeed, over the last year or so, I have probably read four or five thrillers. Usually, they have something in them that appeals more to me, slightly science fiction like Douglas E. Richards, "Split Second" or computing as Mofina's book did (after all the latter is my day job when I'm working). I feel that Mofina's descriptions of computing in the book are maybe a bit "out there" but they were described in such a way that it didn't bother me and believe me that's something in itself because I detest inaccurate portrayals of science and computing. So yeah, I have read a few thrillers... firstly I think it's important to try other genres because that can only widen my own experience and secondly because it benefits me as an aspiring writer.

So, I downloaded the book on my Kindle and began to read... it turns out this book is the third of the Walt Sydowski/Tom Reed series. Who knew?

Rick Mofina's 'Blood of Others' I thought I was in for a slow starter but chapter two left me so stunned and addicted I just had to stick with it. Suffice to say, the book has some moments of extreme violence but not pointless violence, something I feel makes it worth reading, opening with a brutal murder and the victim gruesomely displayed. The brutality of the killing, the artistic nature of the gruesome display, leads both the lead detective (Sydowski) and reporter (Reed) to the conclusion that the murder was likely to be one of a series, the murderer a serial killer.

Walt Sydowski, a detective with personal problems, is forced to add Ben Wyatt, a disgraced officer and computer expert, to his team. His distrust of both Wyatt and of computers creates serious issues and a conflict between old and modern style policing methods.

Tom Reed is a crime reporter with the San Francisco Star who, in a moment of journalistic brilliance, gained a Pulitzer nomination. Despite that, he has been struggling to keep his job against the wishes of his editor, a former reporter who is jealous of Reed's earlier work and especially of the nomination.

The killer, a computer expert himself, has been trolling the internet seeking the perfect partner, one who will give him the warped form of forgiveness he craves. As the book progresses, the number of women he has killed, women he believes have betrayed him, is slowly revealed.

My scores:

  • Action: There is a great deal of suspense in the book but, except towards the end, I wouldn't describe it as a high action novel [6]
  • Originality: It might just be my inexperience with novels of this kind, after all my passion is science fiction, but it certainly felt like an original concept to me[8].
  • Plot: "Blood of Others" is an involved story that gripped me from the very first and, towards the end ... well, I just had to finish it[8]!
  • Presentation: As an IT Professional I find some tales, films in particular, ridiculous when it comes to computing. I suspect true hackers will have problems but I found the computer stuff fairly well presented and nothing raised my IT hackles[7].
  • Romance: There are no sex scenes but yes, there is a core romance which is well handled[7].
  • Suspense: Like any reader, I did my best to second guess the author all the way through... I failed[8].
  • Violence: Oh yes! There are some pretty gruesome killings, killings which are anything but gratuitous[9].
  • Scope: Though the story itself is extreme, the setting is contemporary but ranges over several cities and countries[7].
  • Writing: Mofina's style of writing is good and I found only one grammar mistake in the book[8].
  • Personal: Suffice to say, I loved this book, found the characters believable and the book hard to put down[8].
  • Overall: Overall mark [8.4]
In writing this book Mofina has woven a story around complex characters with believable personal motivations... I was particularly drawn to Ben Wyatt's character who I think might make a good basis for a series of novels on his own account. It features good dialogue as well as nail biting, harrowing and gripping scenes, some so much that I was often thinking, "Just one more chapter".

Obviously "Blood of Others" is my favourite Mofina book since I haven't read any others but I would be delighted to read more by him and am happy to recommend his work to anyone bothering to read my blog. I suppose that's the greatest accolade any author can ever seek and I can only apologise to Rick Mofina that I am not (yet) more famous or influential.

Thanks for reading.

James C. Rocks, Author ("The Abyssal Void" Trilogy)

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