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A Matter Of Blood: The Dog-Faced Gods…
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A Matter Of Blood: The Dog-Faced Gods Trilogy (original 2010; edition 2011)

by Sarah Pinborough (Author)

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773156,384 (3.61)3
Member:wyvernfriend
Title:A Matter Of Blood: The Dog-Faced Gods Trilogy
Authors:Sarah Pinborough (Author)
Info:Gollancz (2011), Paperback, 448 pages
Collections:Library Loans, Read but unowned
Rating:***1/2
Tags:fiction, read, 2012, library, horror, thriller, april, xx, banking, sf, near future

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A Matter of Blood by Sarah Pinborough (2010)

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Sarah Pinborough makes it clear from the first page of her prologue in A Matter of Blood that we’ll be seeing plenty of blood — and worse. The novel opens on the scene of a corpse squirming with maggots. An unnamed man stands in the doorway and declares that “This has to stop,” but the noise of the flies only grows louder. It seems, though, that the man is talking to someone — not to the corpse, not to himself, not even to the flies, though maybe he is speaking to someone through the flies. And maybe, we think, we’re on to something with that last thought, because as the speaker continues, the flies gather together and form into a shape that is nearly human.

It’s the last glimpse of the supernatural we get for a long time, though. Instead, Pinborough’s novel reads like a sharp, nicely detailed police procedural for most of its first half. The protagonist is Detective Inspector Cass Jones, who works in the Paddington Green precinct of a near-future London (as of the time the book was published) subtly different from the one in the real world. Cass is finely drawn: he is exceptionally smart, but has a strong tendency to self-defeating behavior, including ugly fights with a wife he loves, affairs with the wrong women, too many cigarettes and the occasional use cocaine. He has high friends in low places, but that’s not the reason most of his fellow officers despise him; he ran into some trouble while undercover a few years earlier, and some think he got off too easy. It seems that only his sergeant, Claire May, has any regard for him. Partly that’s because he’s good at what he does, and a good boss besides; partly it’s because they have a brief physical and emotional relationship in their recent past.

Cass has been assigned to the latest serial-killer murder; this is the fourth victim in two months. “Nothing is sacred,” say the words written on the latest female corpse in her own blood. He’s also working on the murder of two young boys who were the victims of a drive-by shooting, while the apparent intended victim of the shooting, another criminal, walked away. The cases are sufficiently all-consuming, but when a personal tragedy intervenes, Cass comes close to being overwhelmed. And even then, there is more real-world horror to be heaped on Cass’s head. It seems it’s never so bad that it can’t get worse, and worse keeps coming.
About midway through the book, though, Pinborough begins to make explicit what she has merely been hinting at thus far, and the supernatural takes a role in the events swirling about Cass. The doings of his brother’s employer, known merely as “The Bank,” begin to seem more far-reaching than the public realizes, and we wonder who is running the world that Pinborough has created. Pinborough subtly injects the supernatural into her tale as merely one more element in a straightforward mystery, so that the reader is hip deep in alligators before she even knows she’s walked into a swamp.

As a longtime mystery reader, especially one with a love for English mysteries, I was entranced by this novel from the outset. As a longtime horror reader, I quickly recognized that Pinborough was dealing with horrors worse than those humans inflict on one another. Pinborough skillfully deploys the science fictional elements of the near-future effects of the 2008 Great Recession with the police procedural set in the nitty gritty world of police work with the horrors that can only be wreaked by ancient gods fighting one another, and the forces of entropy, for their very survival.

A Matter of Blood is the first in the FORGOTTEN GODS trilogy. It is, however, largely self-contained. You won’t find any explicit cliffhangers here, and Pinborough gives us solutions to the major crimes Jones is investigating in this novel. Still, threads are left hanging — a sufficient number of them to lead a reader to grab the second book in the trilogy as soon as she closes the covers on this first one. Turn off the phone, lock the doors, leave the lights on, and read; once Pinborough captures you, you are enthralled to the end.

Originally published at http://www.fantasyliterature.com/reviews/horrible-monday-a-matter-of-blood-by-sa.... ( )
  TerryWeyna | Mar 24, 2014 |
A Matter of Blood is an interesting mix of police procedural, noir, horror and what looks like fantasy - though that last only shows up as hints through the book. It was the requisite flawed police detective hero hunting a serial killer and getting involved in other cases that become surprisingly tied up in his own. But as we go, there's darker stuff going on - with a plot that thickens nicely.

Frankly, I almost gave up on this one. Through the first 2/3 of the book, I really didn't like the hero. Then some things happened that I won't tell you about, and suddenly I did. Fortunately, the writing's pretty good -no literary masterpiece, but nicely done. Plus at the end of the day, I'll pick up the sequel to see how the overarching storyline plays out. Recommended, but some graphic violence occurs. ( )
  drneutron | Dec 28, 2013 |
This year's PCon introduced me to a new person, Sarah, who was funny and witty and is going to be next year's guest of honour. After meeting her and talking to her I had to read something by her, I was glad I did.
Set in a near future England, or possibly an England just a little different from now, the NHS is available to a select few, corruption is rife and Detective Inspector Cass Jones is a man whose life is crumbling around him. He's reliant on cocaine to keep him going and his marriage is a mess. When his brother is killed he's a major suspect. However his brother's death appears to be linked to other mysterious deaths and all paths are leading to The Bank, a shadowy organisation who control most of the world.

Oh man, this is messed up, Cass is a mess, there's all sorts of stuff that's hinted at here but will probably make more sense as the series goes on and I love the Bank as mysterious overlord, how true is that. Sarah extrapolates some of what's going on in the world and plays an interesting what-if game. Looking forward to the next book in the series. ( )
  wyvernfriend | Apr 30, 2012 |
Showing 3 of 3
I've added Pinborough to my list of "Best Horror Authors". Her third and final novel in the Dog-Faced Gods Trilogy, THE CHOSEN SEED, is an incredible end to an incredible Horror series. I put it right there with my absolute favs. The Repairman Jack series. The Matthew Corbett series. The Harry Keogh novels. Yeah, for me Pinborough's Cassius Jones trilogy is in the same league....
What more can I say? The writing is accessible while not being dumbed-down. Again, the pacing is slower than the prior novels, but it doesn't hurt the story in the least. The characters are the natural evolution of what they started at in the first book, A MATTER OF BLOOD. When all the answers start coming to light, they are big, epic, and perfectly handled.

I don't often get that feeling of warm fuzzies when I finish a series. Finales are usually a let-down if the author even gets to the finale in the first place. THE CHOSEN SEED is, in my opinion, a near perfect ending to a near perfect series. I don't know what more I could even ask for. This is Horror where we see how under-prepared characters deal with an impossibly huge situation. In the end, I was left feeling completely satisfied.

THE CHOSEN SEED, and the whole Dog-Faced Gods Trilogy, is all about characters and story. It doesn't get any better than that.
Recommended Age: 18+
Language: As in the prior novels, there is a ton.
Violence: Not quite as visibly violent as the prior novels due to Cass not investigating murders.
Sex: Nothing shown, but talked about quite a bit.
 
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0575089474, Paperback)

The recession has left the world exhausted. Crime is rising; financial institutions across the world have collapsed, and most governments are now in debt to The Bank, a company created by the world's wealthiest men. But Detective Inspector Cass Jones has enough on his plate without worrying about the world at large. His marriage is crumbling, he's haunted by the deeds of his past, and he's got the high-profile shooting of two schoolboys to solve - not to mention tracking down a serial killer who calls himself the Man of Flies. Then Cass Jones' personal world is thrown into disarray when his brother shoots his own wife and child before committing suicide - leaving Cass implicated in their deaths. And when he starts seeing silent visions of his dead brother, it's time for the suspended DI to go on the hunt himself - only to discover that all three cases are linked ...As Jones is forced to examine his own family history, three questions keep reappearing: what disturbed his brother so badly in his final few weeks? Who are the shadowy people behind The Bank? And, most importantly, what do they want with DI Cass Jones?

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:48:35 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Detective Inspector Cass Jones deals with a corrupt police force, a serial killer calling himself the Man of Flies, a gang hit gone wrong, and the murder-suicide of his brother and his family.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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