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on 24 October 2011
This is the first novel I have read by Ben Cheetham and it won't be the last. Blood Guilt is a cracking page turner of a thriller. I found it well written, suspenseful and above all believable. Cheetham whilst cranking up the tension never once over does it. The dialogue is snappy, clever and again totally believable.

Blood Guilt is, I feel, as well as being an excellent story an exploration into the what if. By this I mean what if your own life turned to crap due to one event? What if you had nothing to lose and let the darker side of your character roam around and seek vengeance where in order to atone for guilt? Cheetham managed to engage me totally with the story

Harlan is desperate to make amends for killing a man and he puts aside everything else in his life in his quest to help the widow. He crosses the line again and again. I found my frustrations mounting with Harlan, the central character, as he felt the need to punish himself time and again. I felt sympathy for his partner, Eve, as she was knocked back again and again by Harlan's self-destructive actions and yet despite this remains devoted to him. Ben Cheetham proved himself a fine story teller and I became a fan after reading this novel.

The author doesn't bog down the text with too much descriptive dialogue. He chooses instead to add it when it is needed most and this makes Blood Guilt a gratifying read.
On the whole a fine tale well told and one I would recommend to lovers of good thrillers. Cheetham is an author to watch and I hope he gets the success he deserves with this excellent thriller.
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on 21 November 2011
I enjoyed the book immensely. A real page turner, fast paced, good plot. Unusual lead character, but easy to empathise with which is important, you want Harlan to succeed and find inner peace and happiness. He also kicks ass as well as Jack Reacher & would have made an amazing serial of books as you really get quite attached to him.
I would deffinatly reccomend this book, my hubby who doesn't read wanted me to keep him up to speed on the story once I had told him the beginning.
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on 7 October 2011
DI Harlan Miller's life is all getting too much, his young son has died in a freak accident and his marriage is on the rocks - causing him to hit the booze. Rather than helping him forget his problems, it lands him in an even worse situation that results in him in prison on a manslaughter charge.

When he gets out, he's lost everything apart from the friendship of his former partner on the job and is falling into despair...and then the youngest son of the man he killed is abducted, and suddenly he has something to live for. He HAS to find the missing boy. It's the only way that he can bear to live with what he has done. But can he do it? And if he does, will it make any difference to how he feels?

When I first read the blurb, I thought that the story may feel a little too `staged', with a rather predictable ending. However, this book drew me in right from the beginning. The main character is very well thought through - he felt so believable that I totally bought into his plight. And although there were many twists and turns and unexpected avenues explored, it still managed to feel `real'.

It wasn't the most beautifully-written, literary book I have read, it wasn't as uncomfortable and detailed as the amazing Sugar & Spice, and there were a couple of strands that tied up just a little too neatly, but this was a great page-turner with a unique premise and I zoomed through it in a couple of days as I really wanted to know what happened!

And at only 86p on Kindle what have you got to lose?!
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on 20 November 2011
This is a fantastic crime thriller with a unique premise - just like the cover and blurb say.
After remembering that the first chapters are setting the unique premise up you are free to enjoy the detail about settling into a hard life in Sheffield as an ex-con. Can't say too much without letting details out and you really need to read it and think and see if it turns out how you think. Oh - it won't. There are lots of twists and turns, lots of changing who you empathise with. I think I felt most sorry for Harlan's (ex)wife Eve who he constantly ignores and runs from.
The book has many different themes, love, redemption, families, happiness, gambling, paedophilia, murder, abduction.... get it and enjoy!
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on 30 January 2012
You killed but you are not a killer. You paid for your crime but you are still guilty. You are loved but can't love. What do you do when you leave prison and this is how you feel? Find out in In Ben Cheetham's BLOOD GUILT, a deliciously noir tale of one man's struggle to forgive himself.

Cheetham makes the process of getting the reader to turn the pages seem so simple. His stories quickly get under your skin making you itch to discover if there is any way out for his damaged central character, Harlan, the failed CID officer who now finds himself on the other side of the fence, having murdered a stranger in a flash of violence that changed his life forever.

Cheetham's strength as a writer lies with his character descriptions. Whether it is Harlan, the protagonist, his wife or his victim's wife, the reader is presented with fully rounded and believable individuals sitting well within the plot, their feelings and emotions carefully explored with each strand of love, guilt and anger allowed to develop to its potential, adding to the turmoil that boils and bubbles away leading ever onward to the explosive finale.

BLOOD GUILT tells a story that we have all heard before on our TV news but Cheetham ably adds the colour, the human touch, that makes the tragedy of people's lives real and allows the reader an insight into the pain that no parent ever wants to feel when a child goes missing.
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VINE VOICEon 8 October 2011
It is always good to discover a new author that pleases you. There are so many out there now and unfortunately a lot of mediocre writing and plotting. This, though, is a well-plotted book with a different twist on its subject as other reviewers have described. It is a pity in a way that Harlan's story is complete in itself as he would make a very good series character, very human and inviting your empathy. I know it's a silly quibble but I didn't like the name Harlan. It sounds very American to me - the only one who comes to mind is Harlan Coben - but this is really a very minor thing. I shall certainly be looking for further books by this author.
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on 10 October 2011
Set in Sheffield, UK, `Blood Guilt' examines the consequences one mistake can have on many people's lives. `Blood Guilt' is a well-written, taut thriller with more twists and turns than a theme park ride. Just when you think you have everything worked out, Cheetham brings another stunning twist to the story. The characters are realistic and intelligently written, demonstrating a real understanding of modern-day Britain and the characters lurking among us. This story keeps you hanging until the very last page - a great read.
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on 5 February 2013
I suppose it's fairly well written but the plot was just daft. I read it only because once you start something you just have to see it through. But really? What man would honestly forsake his life, his wife and a future for a mistake that was never really his mistake? Come on, it would have been enjoyable if the author had made it more realistic. If someone goads, provokes, starts a fight then gets killed because of it, surely someone somewhere would have told the 'killer' to get over it, not just put his life on hold forever. If I was his wife I'd have left him long ago, no matter. How much self pity can someone feel without people around saying get a grip. Just an unbelievable human reaction. Shame.
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on 7 April 2012
It's a sad day when a crime novel leaves you feeling more empathy with the criminals (and this is a nasty bunch) than with the so-called 'hero' and the criminal's indirect victims. Yes, the book did engage me enough to want to read to the end but only in the forlorn hope that someone would put the reader (and Harlan Miller) out of their misery by dispatching the guy!

This is a hero without real moral imperative despite his desire to 'atone'. Instead, driven by a level of self-indulgence that takes the term to a whole new level, Harlan provides endless excuses to himself and the reader as to why mental and physical torture and vigilantism is okay in the pursuit of the right end; that being making Harlan feel better about himself so he can 'move on with his life'! Lee Child this isn't.

Is it well written? Yes it is but in the way that combining great pasta with great custard doesn't necessarily make for a great meal! Definitely one to be avoided.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 7 February 2012
This book is one that has been on my `to read' list for a while and for some reason kept getting pushed to the back of the pile. Thankfully, I got myself organised and dug out all the stuff I have been meaning to read and I am very glad that I did.

I read so many crime, thriller and mystery books that it's hard to see where one ends and another begins. Typically, I have my favourite authors that never seem to fail, and the writers that have been producing books for years that never seem to fail. However, there is nothing nicer than coming across a new author who you have never heard of that actually produces the goods. Thankfully, Ben Cheetham is one of them.

We meet Harlan who is having a very hard time with his life. He is a D.I whose life seems to be spiralling following the death of his son in an accident. His marriage is in danger of finishing and on a lonely night out drinking the worst thing happens. Harlan gets into a fight and a single wild punch leaves a man dead. I think the shocking thing is that from the outset you feel sorry for Harlan, and when he ends up killing a man there is a certain element of fear, because it can all to easily happen.

The story moves forward four years and follows Harlan upon his release from prison. His life is a mess and he is now divorced and spending his days alone and living with the guilt of killing a man and depriving two children of their father and a woman of her husband. One event soon changes everything and pretty soon Harlan's life holds meaning. He has a challenge to meet and will do everything in his power to get the results he wants.

I admit, I read the first half of this book in one sitting. I just wasn't prepared for a book as good and as fast paced as this one. The pace picks up at the halfway point and there are enough twists in the story to keep you hooked. There is a certain element of predictability about it, but I find that very few books out there manage to not have it!

This may well have been my first Ben Cheetham but I can assure you it won't be my last. I am really looking forward to reading more stuff by this author and think this was a brilliant first book for me!
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