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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars

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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 16 June 2013
This book is one of the genealogy mystery genre which is growing in popularity. There's little wonder when we are all fascinated by our past and we all love a mystery. Bodies are turning up in London and the investigating team begin to see an obscure connection between these and the victims of a serial killer in 1879. They hire the services of a genealogist to trace the families of the present day victims. If they can do it in time, they can save lives.

I found this a gripping and interesting read, although I think Nigel, the professional genealogist involved, would have had subscriptions to the many on-line sites and scanned newspaper archives, without trailing all over London to find things. I'm sure this cranks up the tension but it didn't ring entirely true. As well as discovering the modern killer, we are led on a voyage of discovery and mis-direction with the old case. The end of the book is climactic and I was on edge to find out what would happen. Altogether, I enjoyed this. It's a good read.
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on 4 July 2010
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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on 4 May 2017
This is a gripping read, I enjoyed it because of the family history research dimensions. Of course it was written a while ago therefore research methods and archives have changed. However this did not diminish that element of the book. If the family history research in the book is not your interest I think it would still be a gripping read, don't let it put you off. I do wish though that turning books into Kindle books did not result in annoying typos.
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on 15 April 2017
A very well written, in fact an incredibly literate novel. Such a refreshing change from the so called gritty dramas that have submerged and numbed us poor readers! Believable and flawed heroes, really scary villains; more please!
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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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on 10 November 2013
This is an interesting take on a murder investigation featuring a geneolagist, who assists a police murder team in tracking down a serial killer who appears to be re-enacting murders that occurred in the Notting Hill/Notting Dale area of London over a hundred years before. It is a gripping story and this unabridged audio book is very well narrated. The insight into the painstaking work that goes into researching family trees is fascinating. It also very poignantly depicts the brutality of the justice system in the mid 1800s and how miscarriages of justice took place without the benefit of today's advances in forensics. This is a well rewarding read and/or listen. Highly recommended.
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on 13 June 2017
Researching my family tree, I could relate to the frustration and elation at trying to find that clue that will take you further. I enjoyed the story but I thought there was some waffle in some parts that made for needless reading i.e. (not verbatim) he left the FRC walked down (name of street) turned left at (name of street) walked along to (name of street) arriving at the LMA. Hence why I only gave it 3 stars.
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on 11 February 2017
Thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to all.
Dan Waddell shows a good knowledge of the subject and my attention was captured. Wish there were many more books in this series.
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I really enjoyed this book it cracked on at a good pace the characters were strong and the storyline kept you interested
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on 30 April 2017
Great detective novel with an unusual twist; striking characters, great writing and plotting, draws you in from the start and won't let go til the end, prepare to lose some sleep! The unusual basis of family genealogy as the driver of the plot is a very clever and creative twist. Tension ratchets up from start to finish, loved it, more please
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