Member Review

Cover Image: A Message in Blood

A Message in Blood

Pub Date:

Review by

Claire E, Reviewer

My Recommendation

I love a good lesbian detective novel and this one is an excellent example as to why, there is nothing more satisfying as reading about a network of strong women, mostly queer who work together to find justice for women and girls. Fantasy? Maybe but a good one. In this book the author wanted to shine a light on the horror of child sex trafficking and I think she did an excellent job. Called in to investigate the murder of three prominent men, Detective Chiara Corelli and P.J. Parker are horrified by the scene and what they find hidden in a closet upstairs, furious and determined that there will be no cover up, they are continually shocked by the extent and reach of the child sex trafficking they uncover. 
I found many aspects of the story believable, some familiar from stories that have already emerged in the media. At times I almost felt there was wish fulfilment going on, as certain key people were brought to justice and unable to buy their way out of trouble but that only adds to the enjoyment of the book. It was also good to read about some girls being rescued and looked after by loving caring people rather than ending up in the care system. I know anyone who works with cases like these often fights the urge to take every broken child home so it was another pleasing wish fulfilment part of the book. The author doesn't shy away from the horrors of child sex trafficking, her focus is on the rage of the detectives and the impact on the girls rather than presenting anything exploitative, so in that case I don't think that it's too triggering. Instead it raises interesting questions about a society that turns a blind eye to so many stories of neglected and abused children. 
This is the third nook in a trilogy and I hadn't read the first two but was still able to follow the story, Corelli's ex military cop is a familiar one and I would really like to see and hear more about Parker a Black police detective and ex ADA. I enjoyed the way their working relationship developed and how they didn't shy away from exploring racism. Corelli is also healing from PTSD again, a familiar story line but one handled with sensitivity and with a view to healing which is different from the hard drinking broken person narrative. I also found the story arc of the singer who was discovered at a young age and then abused and exploited believable and presented in a non exploiting way. There is a lot in this book which really shows the power of a good crime novel especially with a network of kick ass, mostly female, mostly queer people determined to do what they can in a corrupt society. 

With thanks to the publisher and net galley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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