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on 28 July 2013
D I Ray McBain is a man on the run.On the run from his horrific childhood in an orphanage ruled by sadistic nuns, on the run from commitment-he's seeing a married woman- and on the run from dark dreams. And when he's accused of a series of brutal murders McBain is literally on the run from friends and enemies alike.

Blood Tears could easily have been just another grim police procedural/ serial killer yarn but Malone has given those tired tropes a kick up the behind. Plenty of earthy humour, likable and colourful characters and a page turning plot that stretches credibility at times but in a good way.
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on 31 August 2012
I have to say that this book really was one that I just had to keep reading. Knowing some of the places mentioned made it all the more interesting. I will definately be reading more of this authors work.
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on 12 June 2012
What does it say about Scotland when it produces so many excellent writers of crime fiction. Blood Tears is the first novel from Michael J Malone and what a debut it is. The writing is crisp with a poetic lilt, the pace is fast, and the characters are vivid and well drawn. Living in Ayrshire I almost feel I know these people - well the ones on the right side of the law anyway! The story is dark but the dialogue is peppered with witty illustrative metaphors that cannot fail to raise a smile. DI McBain is a complex character, a tortured policeman who refuses to let up in his fight to solve crime. The reader is hooked from the first page of this rollicking good read. I could not put it down, desperate to get to the denouement and then disappointed when I had finished it. I cannot wait for the next novel from this exciting new writer.
Sheila A. Grant
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on 25 June 2012
For all its grittiness and the seriousness of its underlying themes, Blood Tears is also funny and even fun. If I had to sum the book up in one word, it would be `audacious'.

Detective Inspector Ray McBain is our flawed hero, a successful Glasgow detective with a chip on his shoulder and a few enemies on the force. A brutal killing leads him to the doors of the Catholic orphanage he attended as a boy, but he refuses to reveal his links to the orphanage or step down from the investigation. The question, of course, is why he refuses. If at first it seems like straightforward ambition to crack a high profile case, events soon make us believe that there's much more to it than that.

Having a hero whose mind begins to unravel - and I mean really unravel, as McBain's does here - with the strain of the case is the kind of twist we haven't seen done this convincingly since the glory days of the pulps in the 30s and 40s. Throw in a few well-timed gags, a Rocky montage and a bit of serial killer frippery, and what you've got is an author who refuses to play it safe.

In chapter nine the book veers from a running gag that made me laugh out loud to a revelation about the case involving paedophilia, all in the space of five paragraphs. Now how many authors would dare to do that? And how many authors would pull it off?

Malone does. And it's liberating for the reader, this willingness to take risks. Despite the questions the book raises about organised religion, poverty and the nature of justice, ultimately it feels as though Malone's priority is to entertain us, and in that he succeeds brilliantly.
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on 4 June 2012
Here's a welcome new bunch of coppers and others that we'll be getting to know even better in their (I hope) many future investigations. The new man on the block, D.I. Ray McBain, is dysfunctional in ways undreamed of by his predecessors in the genre. His issues go deep. But, as well as being very good at his job, he's characterized by a great sense of humour and access to a stream of one-liners which make us want to spend lots of time in his company. Mind you, some of the other characters have their own versions of the same quick wit and ambiguous attitudes to procedures, so humour is always there to counterbalance the story's darker recesses (and there are plenty of those).
The dialogue's sharp and snappy and contributes to the great tensions Malone creates as McBain seems to make dangerous choices and penetrate into memories and events that coagulate around many nasty hidden secrets. I know it's a cliché but this is one of those books which it's difficult to put down.
As well as warming to McBain through his humour and the strength of his determination to catch the villains, readers will sense a vulnerability which surfaces at times to add to his complexities. As I said, this looks like a Scottish cop who'll take his place among the stars of the genre.
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on 21 June 2016
Blood Tears by Michael J Malone was recommended to me by a friend and it was a great suggestion. D.I. Ray MacBain is a successful Glasgow detective but one who has a dark secret that is affecting his mental health. Sent to investigate a horrific killing we then see him afflicted with troubling dreams. The clues lead to a Catholic Orphanage, Bethlehem House, where MacBain had spent time as a child. He fails to disclose his time there and continues to lead the investigation. However this has serious repercussions for him and as other similar killings occur, MacBain finds himself a suspect. His career and even his life are at stake. The author tackles the topic of paedophilia and abuse by those in power over children, not an easy task but one which is brilliantly pulled off. The dialogue is as gritty and realistic as you would expect for Glasgow policemen but there are some marvellously funny one liners as well which lightens the dark nature of the novel. There is a surprising twist at the end when the perpetrator of these crimes is revealed. The book of course makes the reader consider how vulnerable children are treated by those supposedly with their best interests at heart and more troublingly how abuse is covered up. Highly recommended.
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on 8 July 2012
If you're the sort that shies away from Ken Loach's films because of the swearing then you would most definitely wish to stay away from this debut crime novel by the erstwhile poet Michael J Malone. However, if you can accept the gritty flavour of this noir mix of comedy, pedophilia, and poetic prose, then be prepared to put your life on hold because you won't be able to put this one down. My life is now back on track and I can't wait for the follow up.
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on 30 May 2012
This is a fantastic read which will have you hooked from the 1st chapter. I bought the book to keep me occupied on the bus for a few weeks but found I couldn't put it down at work or at home and devoured it in a matter of days! Michael Malone is definitively one to watch in Scottish Crime Fiction and on the strength of this debut could become a household name in Britain.
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on 25 June 2012
Blood Tears is the first book from Ayrshire writer Michael J. Malone and, in the interests of full disclosure, I know him.
It's dark stuff, leavened with a fine sense of humour, which I enjoyed. It's something that can be commonplace in American crime fiction but British writers often tend to forget to bring the funny with the darkness. Whatever happens, there will always be someone cracking a gag.
His hero, DI Ray McBain (I like to think a wee tribute to the saint...ed Ed, the pappa bear of police procedurals) may have more issues than a whole series of Newsnight but he is not the misery guts that many fictional coppers are. He's got a snappy line in patter, even when he's dealing with his own demons AND on the run for a murder he didn't commit. Or did he?
It helps round the character off and make you root for him all the more.
The other characters are well-rounded and, like McBain, come off the page - something that is very hard to do.
It's a fine debut novel, although I more than once had to go back and reread certain passages because what I thought was part of the dialogue was actually internalisation by a character. However, that may be MY fault, rather than the writing. I'm getting old, you know.
Worth buying? Definitely.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 15 January 2015
I read this book as it featured in 2 crime reviewers' top 5 of 2014. I liked it but found too many flaws for it to feature in any top 5 of mine. A man is killed, crucifixion style, and this sets off all sorts of bells and dreams in DI Ray McBain's mind. As it is linked to his past he is soon arrested for murder and determined to find the perpetrator and clear his name.
To me this is obviously a first novel in the crime genre. Ray's arrest is nonsense - there is not a shred of proof so no PF would proceed in these times - but if you accept it as a plot device required for the rest of the novel then the plot has plenty of twists leaving you to wonder what is coming next. I also didn't like all the dreams and repressed memories as I thought they were a bit repetitive. I did, however, like the characterisation and the Glasow setting and humour as I thought they were spot on.
To sum up. I thought the author's inexperience in the genre shone through but his characterisation was excellent so I'll be looking out for the next in the series to see how he manages.
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