Review – Blood Read – Simon Townley

townley-simon-blood-read-publish-and-be-deadBlood Read (Publish And Be Dead), by Simon Townley, is a book about mysterious deaths being investigated by a journalist.

Thomas Capgras, a fresh-out-of-prison investigative journalist, just wants to get his book published and pay his bills (and maybe publish a juicy article in the paper). He soon finds himself in the middle of a murder mystery more serious than anything he’s ever reported on before and he begins doing what he does best: investigating, writing and reporting. His job becomes increasingly more dangerous with every new clue he uncovers, and he’s soon frantically trying to save those around him… and trying to save his career… and trying to get somebody to publish his book… and trying to get laid… and trying to potty train this adorable puppy named Floop (I made up the puppy part and it is not part of the book… or is it? No, it’s not. I don’t think saying there is no puppy named Floop that pees in the house is a spoiler, right?).

I was really hoping to love this novel. The premise is great. What writer doesn’t dream of the day where he or she gets to be both a writer and an action hero and have an adorable puppy named Floop? Capgras is living the dream. I didn’t love it, but I did like it.

Townley jumps right into the thick of things with this novel and immediately sets up excitement. From page one I was on the clutching the edge of my seat, waiting to see what happened next. Who dies? How? Where? Townley is great at grabbing his audience’s attention from the start.

However, about halfway through the novel the clues started falling into place a bit too heavily and the mysteriousness diminished quickly. I grew increasingly impatient with the protagonist as Capgras failed to notice pieces of the puzzle, but I can’t really blame Capgras. Townley hides things from his characters well enough and merely paints them just a little too obvious for the reader.

I did enjoy the story though. I’m not normally a murder mystery guy, but Townley got me interested. It might just be because I love books and motorcycles and beautiful women and puppies named Floop, all of which are abundant in this novel (except the puppy named Floop). Or maybe it’s because Townley is a talented writer. Or maybe it’s because Townley is a talented writer that writes about books and motorcycles and beautiful women. It’s most likely the last of these.

A final note: typos. A small quote from the novel, “She hated small mistakes and castigated authors and publishers alike for letting them slip through. How dare they send her a book that wasn’t perfect? How could the be so slipshod?” I lost count after I couldn’t use my toes and fingers anymore, and these little errors distract from the overall work. It’s just something to consider.

Townley writes well and comes up with some great ideas. The execution isn’t always precise and I started to lose interest about halfway through the book, but I still enjoyed the read.

Reviewed by Bryce Grant

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