Blood for Blood by Victoria Selman is an incredibly deep, gripping, intelligent and grotesque serial killer thriller. With a likeable, yet non-typical female main character, Selman took me on a thrilling journey which has taught me a lot about special forces and many elements of criminal profiling. Blood for Blood by Victoria Selman is out now from Thomas & Mercer.
Warning: Don’t start reading this book on a tube. Themes of child sexual abuse and descriptions of mutilation.
Ziba MacKenzie is a special forces trained criminal profiler with an intriguing history. Widowed, yet still open to romance, while being an absolute bad-ass at her job and being respectful of others, she is the perfect character to track down a serial killer who has been dormant for 25 years. Following a traumatic incident on a tube, Ziba is called back into her role with the special forces, specifically to help hunt a serial killer who has struck once more after more than two decades of not killing. In the process, she learns all about the ways religion can factor into psychopathic murder and will find this criminal profile a tough one to crack.
Why I loved this book…
It’s a serial killer thriller told from a slightly alternative angle; what’s not to love?! But seriously, the first chapter of this novel is so striking and puts you right in the action. Slowing down to provide some background on the two main characters, Ziba and our serial killer, Raguel, the novel steadies its pace yet retains it’s gripping quality. Selman has vast knowledge of special forces, or at least she sounds like she does, and I ultimately loved her references back to technical elements of the role and much of the profiling which isn’t shown as much in entertainment.
She also references many previous real murderers which was incredibly interesting for me, as I am dipping my toe into true crime and this felt like a crib sheet of the ones I should be aware of. These references furthered the novel a lot in my opinion, as Ziba uses them to bounce ideas around in her own head, and I thoroughly enjoyed her monologues when figuring out the profile, as this is very much how we all go about figuring out a mystery and made her accessible. I also liked the characterisation of the men in the novel, but felt that there could have been a wider spread female presence, which was felt when she was helping women in the tube, but fizzled thereafter.
Overall, this is a 5* thriller. The pacing is incredible, the opening absolutely shocking and the following murders carry on the murderous ambience of the novel. I would love to see Ziba with Duncan in a future book, however, as I feel that they would bounce ideas off each other and work hand-in-hand where she now works alone, and I’d like to feel that connection. I would recommend this to strong-stomached lovers of serial killer thrillers, police procedurals and true crime. If you enjoyed Steve Cavanagh’s Twisted, you’ll love this. Thank you, Victoria Selman for offering the Net Galley of this incredible book at The Flower Girls event. I can’t wait to read the next in the series!