Molly – mother of Hilda, ex-policewoman, and manageress of the pub the Jolly Bonnet. Molly is prone to flights of imagination where she almost immerses herself in the history of her chosen neighbourhood. She takes meds to control her hyperactivity and hallucinations. She is quirky, yet strong and endearing.
Lottie – is a forensic pathologist and Molly’s best friend. She has blue hair and is very eccentric. In her spare time she collects morbid historical medical paraphernalia for her ‘necro-museum’. She dresses in an almost steampunk fashion and is a popular Vlogger of things macabre.
Hilda – daughter of single mother Molly. She is a thoughtful chatterbox of a child who has been exposed to many bizarre situations and people in her ten short years. Adored by her mother, she is secure emotionally, and retains the naivete of childhood. When her ‘lumpy’ Lithuanian friend, Meda, goes missing, she enlists the help of her mother to find her.
This will impact on all the people she loves in a negative way…
“Horrible people doing horrible things.”
Oh, and then there is Mr. Farkas. He lives in a large rambling house in the Whitechapel district with his daughter, Beatrix. He too is a collector of historic medical instruments and paraphernalia. He buys most of them online under the pseudonym ‘Autolycus’.
This horror thriller was quirky, macabre, and at times… morbid. The characters were eccentric in both appearance, manner, habits, and at times thought.
Told from several points of view, this is a crime novel steeped in history, yet with a modern subject overlying it. A problem specific to the multicultural segment of a lot of large cities, in particular, London – namely the abduction of young immigrant girls. The disappearance of ‘expendable’ people.
The setting, Whitechapel, London was very atmospheric and perfect for a novel such as this one. It has a long, dark, and rich history, for it is the location of the infamous Jack the Ripper’s crimes. The pub in the novel, “The Jolly Bonnet” is a treasure trove, with morbid memorabilia and medical curiosities displayed throughout. The wardrobe of the pub staff puts the reader in mind of a steampunk type story.
The writing was accomplished and absorbing, though I must warn potential readers that this is a story that is not for the squeamish or faint of heart.
I’ve read some of David Mark’s crime fiction and absolutely, thoroughly enjoyed it. This novel, as with the last novel of his I read “The Mausoleum” are more in the vein of horror thrillers than crime as such. Although I prefer his crime novels, I did appreciate “A Rush of Blood”, but would probably not read any more of his work in this genre. I can heartily recommend his Aector McAvoy crime series.
Anyone who enjoys a crime novel showcasing the very depths of madness, with quirky, unconventional detectives will appreciate this novel. But beware it is both gruesome and tragic.
I received a complimentary digital copy of “A Rush of Blood” from Severn House Publishers via NetGalley.
ISBN: 9780727889058 224 pages
David Mark spent seven years as crime reporter for the Yorkshire Post and now writes full-time. A former Richard & Judy pick and Sunday Times bestseller, he is the author of nine police procedurals in the DS Aector McAvoy series and one historical novel. He lives in Northumberland with his family.