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47 Reviews
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
This is a great book. A thriller that links the past and the present and has a real Britishness to it. It has a similar feel to Prime Suspect with characters that ring true. Nigel the genealogist is an unlikely but brilliant hero. The linking of the past to the present is effortlessly done taking you on a real journey through the past. Brilliantly written, it passed the...
Published on 8 Aug. 2008 by Ian Gunner

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hardly Val McDermid
The concept of this story was good, genealogy and crime, but the lead character just was not appealing and lacked any real emotional depth. The first story I ever read of this crime genre was Val McDermid's "A Distant Echo", she truly knows how to develop a character, all of the "laddies frae Kirkcaldy" in her story were believable, rounded and you cared...
Published 22 months ago by avid ravid


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 8 Aug. 2008
By 
Ian Gunner "avid reader" (Surrey England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Blood Detective (Paperback)
This is a great book. A thriller that links the past and the present and has a real Britishness to it. It has a similar feel to Prime Suspect with characters that ring true. Nigel the genealogist is an unlikely but brilliant hero. The linking of the past to the present is effortlessly done taking you on a real journey through the past. Brilliantly written, it passed the couldn't put it down until it was finished test, the mark of a good thriller. Much better than the implausible "conspiracy" thrillers that are all the rage at the moment. Great plot, good characters, well written, read it!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A really gripping read, 19 July 2009
By 
Helen Simpson (Yorkshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Blood Detective (Paperback)
The plot is interesting, atmospheric and educational, switching smoothly between 1879 and the present day. I love it when I learn new things and I found the informative snippets on names interesting. The area of London that this is set in is really brought to life by the author, and some of the historic information is key to the plot (and yes..I even found myself Wiki-ing the station Barnes did!!).

Nigel Barnes as the genealogist is shy and old fashioned but still attractive and likable. His love of history and knowledge of tracing people via census returns and archives was inspiring, as well as an integral part of the plot and the story. Never before has hours pouring over microfilm and dusty records been so exciting!

I'm looking forward to the next book so I can 'catch up' with the main characters again.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genealogical Crime Mystery, a great concept for this fast paced story, 7 Aug. 2011
By 
C. Bannister (Jersey, CI) - See all my reviews
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I recently read In the Blood (A genealogical crime mystery) and from there came across the author's listmania detailing other genealogical crime books; read the reviews and purchased this book.

The story is written at a pace starting with the body found in a London churchyard, Detective Chief Inspector Grant Foster leads the investigation. Due to clues left at the scene the police decide they need to look at the past to solve the present murder and engage Nigel Barnes a family historian to help them out by trawling through records and old newspapers to help them.

Dan Waddell is the journalist commissioned to work on the book accompanying the series 'Who Do You Think You Are?' so he understands the complexities of trawling the records and the methods used by family historians when they hit brick walls in their research. This gives the story that feeling of authenticity whilst building to an exciting climax.

This book is well written, the characters well formed and the story unfolds at a pace right from the start. I love crime stories, have an interest in family and social history and London so this ticked all the boxes for me. It was so good that I am now purchasing Dan Waddell's follow up book Blood Atonement
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 7 Aug. 2008
This review is from: The Blood Detective (Paperback)
Absolutely fantastic, i seriously could not put it down, the plot lines and ties between past and present are consistent and believable, and the thriller element is highly entertaining and indeed thrilling. One small caveat though, there are certain clues which are a bit on the obvious side and you get to a point towards the end where you solve bits before the characters. However the writing is of such high callibre that you are compelled to continue you reading and it is far from boring even if you are a step ahead.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant couldnt put it down, 8 May 2009
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This review is from: The Blood Detective (Paperback)
I a really enjoyed this book, in fact I couldnt put it down and had to read it from cover to cover in one sitting. As a very amature (which means I dont have a clue) family tree hunter I found certain bits in the book helpful as well as intresting, also I could relate to some of the places mention in the book like The Family Records Office at Myddleton Road, this book has now been lent to a friend after my ravings of how good it is and is promised to another friend afterwards. When and if I get back I just might have to read it again. I cant wait for the next book to come as I am sure it will just as good.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars PROMISING DEBUT, 4 July 2010
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This review is from: The Blood Detective (Paperback)
The world needs yet another story about serial killings like it needs a hole in the head, but Dan Wadell's first novel boasts just enough originality to lift it out of the rut. Having a contemporary investigation into crimes committed over a century ago isn't a wholly new idea - Colin Dexter used the concept in the Morse story "The Witch Is Dead" - but it is this marriage of past and present that gives "The Blood Detective" its greatest appeal. Mr. Waddell is an expert in genealogy (having worked on the very popular "Who Do You Think You Are") and the hero of his book is Nigel Barnes, a specialist in compiling family trees. He finds himself working with the Police when a link is established between a spate of contemporary killings and a similar run of fatal attacks perpetrated in the 19th century. Barnes is a nicely drawn, sympathetic character and the story excels where it follows his detective work into the historic killings. The book works less successfully with the investigations into the current murders, led by DCI Grant Foster whose depiction is a little bit cliched and whose subordinates somewhat sketchily drawn.
I also felt that the final part of the book did not match up to its promising start. Don't want to put in any spoilers here but chances are you will suss out how it is all going to end fairly early on. I was hoping for a twist in the tale which would given the finale more impact but it never came and a rather obvious conclusion was also spoilt by being unnecessarily violent and gruesome. Nonetheless, this is not a bad effort as a first novel - probably more of a three and a half star than a four star job - but as I would be quite happy to read more about Nigel Barnes and his historic investigations we'll let the four stars stand!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Past and present crimes, 22 Jun. 2010
By 
Damaskcat (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Blood Detective (Paperback)
I found this a really gripping story and I loved the links between past crimes and those happening in the present as well as the history of London. Police officers - Grant Foster and Heather Jenkins - are investigating a grisly murder which includes an apparent reference number carved into the body's chest. But what does the reference number mean? It turns out to be a reference to birth, marriage and death records and Heather recalls a genealogist her mother used who may be able to help them.

What follows is a fast paced and intriguing story linking past and present. I loved Nigel Barnes - the genealogist - and I thought he was a very convincing character even if he isn't everyone's idea of a hero. I was less happy with Grant Foster. He seems to come out of that stable of police detectives who drink large quantities of alcohol and are bad tempered. It would make a change to have a detective who was good tempered and teetotal. That said I thought his own past was interesting.

I could have done without the very nasty violence described in too much detail towards the end of the book and it is the main reason why I have only awarded it four stars rather than five. The plot was excellent and kept me reading but the graphic violence - in smaller doses - earlier in the book put me off a bit. I felt it could have been toned down. If the plot hadn't been so good I might not have read to the end. It won't put me off reading the next in the series though.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly unputdownable!, 9 Sept. 2008
By 
A.S. (Sussex, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Blood Detective (Paperback)
I thoroughly enjoyed this book even though the blurb on the back wasn't so promising. The characters are great and it is very well written. I agree with the earlier reviwer who said that some of the clues were a bit obvious but it made a change from some whose plots are over-complex. I did guess the twist at the end but I don't feel it spoilt the book - it was his first novel after all! The genealogy mixed with the murder mystery is a great combination and topped off with colourful, interesting characters made this a real page-turner for me. I can't wait for his next book and am crossing my fingers that is as good as this one. Enjoy!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classy debut, 16 Sept. 2008
By 
M. Childe (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Blood Detective (Paperback)
This is a hugely promising debut. Waddell has taken an original, but potentially dreary, subject - ie. genealogy - and created a rip-snorter of a crime novel. We get not one, but two serial killers: one plying his icky trade in the Victorian London of Jack the Ripper, the other in the present day. The link between the two is the conundrum for our heroes: hard-bitten detective Grant Foster and mild-mannered investigator of family trees Nigel Barnes (a Morse and Lewis for the 21st century?).
The page-turning action takes place in the arcane streets - and pubs - of Notting Hill, clearly beloved of the author, and the heart-pounding denouement kept this reviewer at least guessing until the end. Waddell writes with an economy, flair and humour rarely seen in a first-time novelist. Catch this so you can say you were there at the beginning.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Change from the usual detective novels, 29 Mar. 2010
By 
Lori "book girl" (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Blood Detective (Paperback)
If you like detective novels but are looking for something a bit different then give this book a try. It's written by the same author as the tie in books for the BBC series "Who do you think you are?" and here he ties in genealogy with murder.

A murder is committed and a clue left on the body points to another murder committed more than a century before. The Police call in an expert genealogist for help as they believe if they find out more about the crimes of the past they will find clues to the current murderer. So you get 2 series of murders that need solving rather than just 1.

The lead detective is a bit jaded with forthright views on policing, political correctness, etc. However, he is a sympathetic character who I couldn't help liking even though I identified more with the female detective who works for him.

For me the book had an interesting and orginal premise. I really enjoyed it and found it pretty hard to put down. The novel shows a bit of the donkey work that goes on in a murder investigation and focuses on the research needed for the past crimes but this did not slow up the pace at all. I will definitely read the next one but not sure how the author will be able to come up with more novels in the same vein without repeating himself.

Bit of a spoiler.....

The only real problem I had with the novel was that the genealogist comes across an article that sparks his interest but has nothing to do with the past case he is working on. Pretty much a big clue as to who the past killer really was.
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The Blood Detective
The Blood Detective by Dan Waddell (Paperback - 7 Aug. 2008)
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