Title: The Last Drop of Blood
Author: Graham Masterton
Published by: Head of Zeus
Publication date: 6 Feb 2020
Justice Garrett Quinn should have been at a sentencing. He was one of the good ones, fighting for order in a lawless world. In a burned-out car, on the outskirts of Cork, DS Katie Maguire finds what’s left of him.
But this is only the beginning. The judge’s death sparks a gang war fought with bullets and bombs, and civilians are caught in the crossfire. As the city spirals deeper into violence, Ireland’s most fearless detective must find the courage to fight for her hometown one last time.
Katie Maguire is no stranger to sacrifice but she has lost so much already. Facing new horrors each day, Katie must decide: can she do her duty when she has nothing left to give?
A High-Profile Judge is found dead, burned in his car, hours before he is due to sentence a man for the murder of one of Corks most notorious gangs. A young man is found stabbed to death in a nightclub. People are being randomly pushed and drowned in the River Lee, a University Laboratory is blown up and Katie Maguire has to deal with it all on top of an overbearing work colleague and having just buried her dead partner.
I’m going to be upfront and honest, Graham Masterton is one of my favourite authors – I’m not sure if this is a positive or a negative as I tend to judge him more harshly than authors I am less attached too.
The Last Drop of Blood is the eleventh book in the Katie Maguire Thriller series and while I have read a handful of them I have missed a few of the more recent offerings. However, I still class White Bones (The first in the series) as one of my favourite reads and recommend it to everyone I talk too about books, should they mention the like thrillers. So, reading this future instalment of the series wasn’t a hardship and the pages turned quite easily once I got into the swing of it.
Having said that it did take me some time to get into the swing of the book and this was due to the vast cast list that the book involves. The primary plot line of the book involves two Irish Criminal Gangs; which have a lot of members active and in their back-story. I don’t know if it is the done thing with books, but a cast list at the ront of the book as a handy reference might really work in the readers favour, as not only is there the aforementioned gangs there’s also the Garda (Irish Police) department in which Katie Maguire works and the police officers she is in charge of and a handful of other characters thrown in the mix and it took me a lot of working out who was who. Having a list to refer too would have really helped to smooth things along; it would also have helped the author who I am certain changed the surname of one of the main antagonists in the last chapter of the novel. As well as the alternative name of Billy – I don’t wish to say too much about this character as it’s a vital turning point to the novel – but they have a second name and I am almost certain this name changes at one point in the story too.
I thought that the multiple cases working together was well executed and I felt as invested in the side-crimes as much as I was the main gang-warfare plot. The case of the Lee Pusher was as captivating as the gangs being at one anothers throats and I feel the handling of this multi-leveled, complex story is a real credit to Masterton as it didn’t leave me scratching my head in confusion.
What I really enjoy about Graham Masterton is his background in writing horror novels and how this experience lends itself to the grizzly nature of the crime scene. The Last Drop of Blood is no exception to this – and the night-club crime is particularly morbid; but so well written that even my seasoned horror-story loving stomach turned. Bravo! The scenes of violence are expertly written without being too far fetched and I can only put this down to Mastertons expert writing skills.
Katie as a protagonist is engaging and exciting to read about – her life is never simple and this fact helps the pages keep turning as much as the thriller elements of The Last Drop of Blood. Although, I did find myself questioning if Katies complicated life has started to go a little too far; at this point she has lost several partners for one reason or another – murder, suicide, moving away, affairs, etc – and I while the murder scenes aren’t over the top, I do wonder if Katies life is? Especially with a new man on the horizon in The Last Drop of Blood while she is pursuing a relationship with a female Detective; with whom she shares a rather incredulous sex scene, but as a seasoned Masterton reader the erotica aspect was like water off a ducks back.
Despite the fact that The Last Drop of Blood feel like it needs one last proof read and edit – just to get it water-tight in the naming department if nothing else – it has inspired me to pursue the rest of the Katie Maguire series and read the novels that I have missed out on as it is a solid and enjoyable thriller which I now feel eager to enjoy more of – and I hope that this isn’t the last of the Katie Maguire series as I have since read it is rumoured to be.
I was approved by Head of Zeus to read this book on NetGalley in return for an honest and unbiased review – thanks to all for this approval.