NP Statham – Drawn in Blood

Once a month I like to make use of my Kindle which otherwise gathers dust on my bookshelf. By far the best way to utilise it is to download a book only available in e-format, which includes those self-published on Amazon. I’m choosy about which ones I pick and usually go for a crime book that has already been recommended. Recent finds this way have been the excellent Where the Devil Can’t Go by Anya Lipska and Eva Hudson’s The Loyal Servant My latest download was by a writer whose website I’ve been following for a while. NP Statham is based in Gotland, Sweden and her blog is a mix of reviews of Swedish authors and her journey to publication.

Drawn in Blood is the story of sixteen year old Rick Stone who lives in Mora, Minnesota. His life is turned upside down by the death of his brother Theodore whom he idolised. Although police initially accept a suicide verdict, the persistence of the investigating officer, Detective Milesson keeps the case open. Rick, torn between trying to continue his studies and trying to discover his brother’s murderer, decides to do some investigating himself.

For a book that has been published by the author, I thought that Drawn in Blood was very well edited. The narrative shifts between the first person of Detective Milesson and the third person of Rick Stone. I thought this quite unusual, as I’m more used to reading teenagers’ voices in the first person, but the structure worked well here. The character of Rick came across well and I think would be attractive to a young adult audience as well as a crime fiction reader. Rick’s travails, including his sorrow at the death of his brother and his despair at his fickle girlfriend made good entertaining reading, as did his astonishment at his brother’s hidden life.

The policeman, Milesson was in more traditional mode and took a paternalistic attitude towards Rick’s investigations. I don’t know much about the state of Minnesota but in this book it is presented as an interesting mix of the traditional and the modern. Milesson’s female professional partner has just had baby with her lesbian partner and the town of Mora seemed to have beneath its surface of middle-class family values, a very nasty underbelly.

Overall the book was an enjoyable read and it was nice to take a change from the style of crime fiction I normally read to one with a more youthful slant to the writing.

I bought my copy of this book.

The author has an interesting article about Minnesota on her website.

9 thoughts on “NP Statham – Drawn in Blood

  1. Sarah – Thank you for a thoughtful and well-written review. I am honestly wary about self-published books for a lot of reasons. So like you, I tend not to go for them unless I know and trust the author and her or his work, or someone I trust gives a good recommendation.
    I’m glad you brought up the use of POV in this story. I’ve read a couple of novels like that where there’s a switch between first and third person when the POV shifts. I’m glad it worked here. You’ve got me interested in this one…

      • Thank you so much for the wonderful review Sarah! I really enjoyed your comments and you have certainly given me a lot of food for thought. I had questioned whether Rick might appeal to a YA before because of his age, and it was interesting to hear your thoughts on it.

        I’m so glad you enjoyed the shift in POV. It was a bit of a bold decision but I felt it was the right format for the book and I was able to convey so much more about the characters by having Milesson speak in the 1st person, and Rick being observed in 3rd person. I’m very happy you think it paid off :)

        We’ll certainly be seeing a lot more growth from Rick Stone in the next few books, and Milesson will play a big part in keeping the dark side of Mora well under control.

        Btw, it’s one of those unfortunate coincidences, but the book cover actually received an update this week. So if you find a yellowish cover instead of a blue one, it’s the same book!

  2. Nice observation on the kindle! I, too, try to make myself read one book a month on mine, but I can tell I don’t like the format very much as it always seems like a duty. I tend to read books that are either only available in e-format (eg the Raid (finnish) novel I read, & the Stockholm text queens of Swedish crime titles) or ones that are loss leaders, eg I’ve managed to download a couple of C J Box titles for 99 p in the past. Like Margot I am less keen on self-published and only read them if I have a recommendation from a trusted reviewer.

    Pity this author’s website is down at the moment as it sounds interesting. So does the book, though not sure if it is aimed at a teen readership. If the author lives on Gotland, I wonder if she’ll set any future novels in Sweden, although there are many Swedish crime authors publishing, there are probably a lot less than there are authors in the USA.

    • I don’t like the format of kindle either, Maxine. Mine always seems a little dull. In relation to this book, I notice that the writer is a teacher and I think she captured the teenage voice very well which is why I thought it would be attractive to a YA audience. I think this is the start of a series so I suspect future books will be set in Minnesota rather than Sweden.

      • Aha, that’s interesting feedback! I’m glad you think Rick Stone came across well, although my students might not be too pleased with the reference as they’re university level and only a couple of years younger than myself – hehe.
        I have always worked with young people and I think their contagious enthusiasm and love for live is something that just catches on – that feeling that everything is a matter of life and death.
        Rick was quite challenging to write for in Drawn in Blood because he was going through such a life-changing journey, but I think he was forced to grow up a lot as a character and he’s certainly much stronger as a result now in the second book ‘Behind the Blue Line’ (coming out in 2013).

    • Hi Maxine, the site is now back up and with a new look. It was an unfortunate coincidence it was migrating to a new host as the review came out, but now we’re back again!

      Drawn in Blood will be published on paperback and also through Smashwords and Kobo in September, if you prefer other non-Kindle formats.

      About Rick Stone coming to Sweden – it’s a bit unlikely in the near future, but I have a second series featuring a Swedish born character called Tove Torv and she journeys around the world following my footsteps as an expat. Her first book is set in Prague and she’ll be coming over to Gotland soon!

      You can read up on Tove Torv on my site

  3. Pingback: Drawn in Blood Review – by Sarah Ward | N. P. Statham

  4. Pingback: The Best of July’s Reading « crimepieces

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