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by Deborah Crombie
William Morrow, October 2009
348 pages
ISBN: 0061287539

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Sometimes what makes a good novel is not necessarily the story per se, but the characters. When readers are engaged with the characters in a book, they care about what happens to them. Deborah Crombie takes it a step further. Not only does she have a good novel in NECESSARY AS BLOOD, but she also writes a terrific series.

Detective Inspector Gemma James has gone through a lot during the last several novels and she is still trying to catch up with all of the life changes she has gone through as well as with her friends and family. Here she gets involved in a case of Naz Malik, a Pakistani lawyer found murdered in a public park. What makes this case personal for Gemma is that the lawyer was a friend of Gemma's best friend's husband who has been concerned about him for the last few months. Naz's wife left their three-year-old daughter briefly with a friend as she went out to do what was supposed to be an errand. She was never seen again and Sandra Gilles' disappearance is still an unsolved mystery. For Gemma this is an unusual case and she is determined to solve it. Her domestic partner and lover, Scotland Yard Superintendent Duncan Kincaid, lends his expertise to this mystery and discovers a conspiracy that will have bigger repercussions that he could imagine and where they will have to tread lightly. There is the three-year-old child who has lost her mother and father under mysterious circumstances and she may be the next victim.

NECESSARY AS BLOOD provides a good mystery in that there are lots of characters involved, who may or may not have a connection to the crimes in the book. There might be some second-guessing as well as some red herrings but it is still a satisfying story. However, that is not its strong point—it is the characters. As the series has moved along so have the characters as they evolve, with each particular story adding something new. The same can be said of the supporting (and recurring) characters in the book. A lot's happened, but it is always nice to see them again. Also, with every book ending there appears to be a new beginning for the next one.. Even if you have never met these characters before, you will feel that you have. Crombie is that good.

So whether this is your first time reading this series or not, NECESSARY AS BLOOD is a good place as any to start.. It is a superb book and most definitely a keeper.

Reviewed by Angel L. Soto, October 2009

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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