What the publisher says:
In a city that is already volatile, tensions mount after a Tory MP in Bradford Central is discredited leaving the door open for the extreme right-wing candidate, Graeme Weston, to stand in the resultant by-election.
However, Graeme Weston is not what he appears to be and with secrets jeopardising his political career, he must tread very carefully.
Meanwhile, a serial killer targets Asian men who lead alternatives lifestyles and metes out his own form of torture.
As DI Gus McGuire’s team close in, the deranged killer begins to unravel and in an unexpected twist the stakes are raised for Gus.
Are the murders linked to the political scandals or is there another motive behind them?
DI Gus McGuire and his team are back and this might be their toughest case yet.
What I say:
Untainted Blood is the third in the DI Gus McGuire series of books. Like the previous novels, the setting is Bradford and the characters are drawn from the diverse local population. It is clear that the author knows the city, and it’s inhabitants, well and she interweaves them into the book in such a way that the reader feels they know them too.
The case Gus is working on this time is a serial killer who likes to leave a tattoo on each victim as a calling card. The victims are all from minority communities, and the tattoo is a swastika, leaving no doubt that this is a hate crime. Alongside this the nationalist “Albion First” party are raising their profile and attempting to have their first elected MP. Could the two be related? Throw into the mix the unrest caused by the rise of the party and it seems that Bradford could also be on the verge of riots of the type seen back in 2001.
Although this is the third book in the series it can be read as a standalone as elements of the story being brought forward are explained sufficiently without simply being a rehash of the previous books. Indeed, after reading this I went back to read the previous two to find that one of the problems Gus is dealing with happens even prior to the events of the first novel.
No detective, at least in the UK police force, works alone and true to this Gus heads up a team of officers who play an important part in the story whilst each being an individual, from Alice with her goth attire to Comps the scruffy computer whizzkid. The interplay between these characters works well and they are not just resigned to small parts of the story. Gus’ parents also make an appearance as his dad is the pathologist attached to the case and his mum turns up at the station to feed the team with her inedible baking.
As you might expect from someone carryng our hate crimes the killer has some extreme viewpoints. The chapters detailing the investigation are interspersed with the killer’s viewpoint as this becomes more and more deranged. A word of warning, the killer’s viewpoint can make difficult reading as there is the expression of very extreme opinions which are not for the faint hearted.
With the help of an expert brought in from the university the team build up a profile of the killer. When it seems that Gus’ mum is the next victim the race is on to find them both.
This is a fast paced read which draws on the author’s knowledge of the area and the people. As it is set in very recent times real life events are cleverly drawn into the set up of the book.
I highly recommend this one, once you can get past the abhorent views of the killer this is a highly charged and gripping read.
Rating 5 out 5