Kirsten Reviews: A Matter of Blood by Sarah Pinborough

, by Kt Clapsadl

A Matter of Blood by Sarah Pinborough
The Forgotten Gods #1

In a world steeped in darkness, a new breed of evil has fallen…

London’s ruined economy has pushed everyone to the breaking point, and even the police rely on bribes and deals with criminals to survive. Detective Inspector Cass Jones struggles to keep integrity in the police force, but now, two gory cases will test his mettle. A gang hit goes wrong, leaving two schoolboys dead, and a serial killer calling himself the Man of Flies leaves a message on his victims saying “nothing is sacred.”

Then Cass’ brother murders his own family before committing suicide. Cass doesn’t believe his gentle brother did it. Yet when evidence emerges suggesting someone killed all three of them, a prime suspect is found—Cass himself.

Common links emerge in all three cases, but while Cass is finding more questions than answers, the Man of Flies continues to kill...


A Matter of Blood by Sarah Pinborough is the first book in The Forgotten Gods series, originally released in the UK as ‘the Dog Faced Gods series.’ The book can be described as a mix of crime fiction and horror, with the protagonist being Cass Jones, a Detective Inspector for the London Police Force, a place where everybody in uniform is corrupt and taking money from mobsters and other criminals. Morals are loose, the city is in a state of steady decay, and on top of all that, Cass’ marriage is crumbling, he’s addicted to drugs, is haunted by a suitably unpleasant history, and he’s overworked.

The only people that seem to be doing well are the folks behind The Bank, a company founded by billionaires in order to rescue the global economy from a crippling recession. Their investment has paid off, and now they’re even richer, nearly omnipotent, and their identities remain a secret. Now, they’re looking into Cass’ sorry little corner of the world, and he has no idea what they want.

Then, Cass finds out that his brother has murdered his wife, Jessica, and their son, Luke, and then committed suicide. Cass feels that it’s his fault somehow, because he didn’t listen to his brother when he asked Cass for help. But, instead of letting the protagonist wallow in his self-recrimination, the plot twists, and one of Cass’ fingerprints is found on the murder weapon, and other evidence also connects him to the crime. Now he has to work to clear his name without any help from the police. All except Sergeant Claire May, who is a friend, and also an ex-lover. Other interesting characters include Bright, and Dr. Hask, who will hopefully appear more in the rest of the series.

Although this book has far stronger crime and noir elements than supernatural ones, they are present, and the conclusion makes it clear that they will feature more prominently in other books, as will Cass’ connection to them.

Readers should be aware that at first, the story moves slowly, points of view switch, and there are some sections from the serial killer that may be upsetting, as they’re intended to be. But, as the plot starts to come together, and certain things are clearly connected, it moves strongly, with a protagonist that isn’t a hero, but somebody who readers can sympathize with and root for, in the face of incredible obstacles.

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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