Book Review: Blood Land by R.S. Guthrie

Book Details:

File Size: 526 KB
Print Length: 231 pages
Publisher: Blu Pencil Publishing, LLC
Publication Date: July 6, 2012
Text-to-Speech: Enabled

Book Summary:

Crime’s an ugly constant in the big city. L.A. Chicago. New York. But when a savage murder brutalizes a small town and neighbor turns on neighbor, a tough-as-nails cop is essential to restoring order. Blood Land is a gritty, emotional saga set in the Wyoming badlands with both greed and vengeance at its core.

When billions of dollars in natural gas rights hang in the balance and the town’s top law officer’s wife is slain by her own blood, a reluctant hero is forced to battle his own demons and ultimately choose between justice, revenge, and duty.

In the tradition of Dennis Lehane, Tony Hillerman and James Lee Burke, Guthrie’s sparse, haunting storytelling compliments his talent for creating richly-drawn, unflinching law officers with human frailties and a sense of justice.

About the Author:

R.S. Guthrie grew up in Iowa and Wyoming. He has been writing fiction, essays, short stories, and lyrics since college.

“Black Beast: A Clan of MacAulay Novel” marked Guthrie’s first major release and it heralded the first in a series of Detective Bobby Macaulay (Bobby Mac) books. The second in the series (Lost) hit the Kindle shelves December of 2011.

Guthrie’s “Blood Land” is the first in the Sheriff James Pruett Mystery/Thriller series and represents a project that is close to his heart: it is set in a fictional town in the same county where he spent much of his childhood and still visits.

Guthrie lives in Colorado with his wife, Amy, three young Australian Shepherds, and a Chihuahua who thinks she is a 40-pound Aussie!

For more information about the author go to: http://www.rsguthrie.com

Book Review:

Blood Land is a modern day western that is aptly titled. Luckily the author created a large cast of characters to draw upon because the body count in this story is extremely high as the title reflects.

This is a well written book with engaging characters, great dialog, and a brilliant back story about mineral rights which drives the novel’s main character story line. Guthrie does a fine job of holding the readers’ interest with many plot twists which fit together nicely like an intricate puzzle with a dramatic ending.

While Blood Land seems to have its roots in a Hatfields versus McCoys type dynamic, the depth of the story goes far beyond any conventional family drama or western for that matter. The story begins with the death of the local lawman’s wife, Bethy McIntyre Pruett. Sheriff James Pruett is not only left with the task of dealing with his wife’s death who is shot by her ornery, troubled brother, Ty McIntyre, but Pruett must also assume the responsibility for investigating the circumstances surrounding her murder.

The sheer idea of interrogating one’s in-laws is both amusing and voyeuristically satisfying in a strange way. Wind River, Wyoming is a small town so Pruett has no choice but to work the case if he wants to bring his wife’s killer to justice. Although Ty seems the likely suspect, Pruett begins to have doubts.

Sheriff Pruett is an upright, dedicated law enforcement officer who is forced to once again confront his addictions and repair a strained relationship with his only child, Wendy—a daughter who returns home in the aftermath of her mother’s death. Their fragile truce is tested when she shows up with an attorney she has hired to represent her uncle/defendant at trial. And if that isn’t enough, she becomes romantically involved with the attorney—a much older man closer in age to her father—causing a deeper chasm between father and daughter.

There’s a lot going on in this well-thought-out, complex story. In fact, it might take a few chapters for readers to get their bearings in understanding the various characters as well as family relationships. However, the character development is so professional that the real issue is not needing a scorecard to keep track of everyone, but the fact that the author deliberately withholds important information from readers which, when certain details are revealed well into the story, feels less like a plot twist and more like a breach of disclosure.

Don’t be surprised if you have to re-check previous chapters to see if you missed something—you haven’t. On one hand, this element makes the story that much more interesting, but it only works in the context of a novel. If this were a screenplay, there’s no way this added surprise would work. We bring this issue up primarily so readers don’t question their reading comprehension, but also because we believe this story would make a terrific movie. We just didn’t think this extra element was necessary and that the story can stand on its own.

Overall, this book represents what’s right about the digital publishing world. Although a novel, the book could have benefited from a table of contents for navigation purposes, but this is a minor complaint for a book that we thoroughly enjoyed. We highly recommend this well crafted novel. Don’t let the western setting throw you. It’s a fast, fun read for all lovers of thrillers and suspense.

This book was reviewed as part of the Wise Bear Digital Book Awards competition. Entry fees associated with the contest are administrative in nature and do not influence our honest, unbiased book reviews.

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