Mystery Books for Sale

[ Home ]
[ About | Reviews | Search | Submit ]


by Jon Evans
Dark Alley, October 2005
432 pages
ISBN: 0060782366

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

In THE BLOOD PRICE the backpacking generation go thriller -- and boy, they do it in some style. Paul Wood is a 20-something Canadian drifter who's spent the past few years either trekking round the world, or living off his Croatian girlfriend Talena as he singularly fails to find a computer job in California.

They return to Talena's birthplace in Bosnia to visit her friends and remaining family -- most were killed during the civil war. During an uncomfortable party, they discover that her sister Saskia is being beaten up by her husband Dragan. He and his Mostar Tiger friends are living in the past after their escapades during the war.

So they resolve to get Saskia out of the country, which is never going to be easy in the absence of official papers. So, in a rather heavy-handed way, author Jon Evans links their dilemma to the book's early chapters where Paul comes across a small boy wandering the back streets of Sarajevo.

The opening section is well-written, incidentally, but it does rather signal too loudly what's coming later when Paul and Talena hook up with the sinister people smugglers.

Despite this, Evans is a hell of a writer. You're deep inside Paul's head and realise what's happening as soon as he does. And what looks a straightforward business arrangement to get Saskia out of the country starts to turn very nasty.

Evans' characterisation is generally tremendous, although Paul's rent-a-mob friends are pretty much plot devices, and I did have some problems with the way Saskia is portrayed. I haven't read the first in the series -- which I am now eager to do -- and I do wonder if these ever-so-convenient mates are better-drawn in that book. Most memorable in THE BLOOD PRICE is probably Arwin the potty-mouthed Russian geek whose scenes with Paul crackle with energy.

The action moves out of Bosnia and ends up at the Burning Man festival in the US. The ending is a bit boy's own, to put it mildly, and you get the feeling that Evans had visited the Burning Man festival and thought he'd make use of it in a book. That said, he really transports the reader to this weird, anything goes event.

If you like Alex Garland, he of THE BEACH fame, or the eastern European thrillers of Dan Fesperman, THE BLOOD PRICE is well worth your time. I was hooked.

Reviewed by Sharon Wheeler, December 2005

[ Top ]



Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

[ About | Reviews | Search | Submit ]
[ Home ]