I was thrilled to be invited to do an advance read of Dead Blind, the brand new standalone thriller from author Rebecca Bradley which is released into the wild today. Happy publication day Rebecca. Before we hear my thoughts on the story, let’s take a look at what it’s about.
About the Book
How do you identify a ruthless killer when you can’t even recognise your own face in a mirror?
Returning to work following an accident, Detective Inspector Ray Patrick refuses to disclose he now lives with face blindness – an inability to recognise faces.
As Ray deceives his team he is pulled into a police operation that targets an international trade in human organs. And when he attempts to bring the organisation down, Ray is witness to a savage murder.
But it’s a killer he will never remember.
The pressure mounts as Ray attempts to keep his secret and solve the case alone. With only his ex-wife as a confidant he feels progressively isolated.
Can he escape with his career and his life intact?
Well this book certainly opens with a bang – quite literally as DI Ray Patrick finds himself in a high-speed chase which ends badly and changes his life immeasurably. The accident has left him with a condition known as prosopagnosia, or face blindness, making it impossible to even recognise people he has known his entire life. In order to keep his job he hides his condition from both friends and colleagues and finds a way to manage his condition. All is well until he finds himself face to face with a killer and under pressure to make an i.d. on a suspect he knows he will never recognise. If you were in his shoes, what would you do?
I really enjoyed this latest thriller from Rebecca Bradley. There is absolutely no doubting her credentials when it comes to writing a police procedural, and she makes the world of criminal investigation accessible and entertaining. You get a sense of the authentic investigation without being bogged down in detail, but always given just enough to ensure that you understand what is happening.
With Ray Patrick she has created a really intriguing protagonist. You could tell from the opening chapter that he was focused and determined and the kind of guy who would not stop until he caught his man. Sadly he paid a very heavy price for this focus and it is this which forms a significant part of the story itself. I did sympathise with Ray, with his need to keep himself grounded in his job, and could understand to a point his reluctance to be honest about his condition. There were times I wanted to slap him and tell him to ‘fess up. One person did know the truth but he kept everyone else at arms length, partly through guilt, not allowing them the chance to help him. Perhaps a reflection of his pig-headed nature, perhaps fear. Didn’t make him unlikable, just should he had a softer, fallible side.
The way in which the face-blindness is represented in the book is very carefully and skilfully done. You get the sense of each interaction Ray had resulting in a quick double check, more detailed at first and then the quick signifiers which just drop into the text like a random thought. It works really well and despite what you might think, doesn’t slow down the story at all. And it is quite a story, Ray being immediately swept up in an investigation into the illegal trade of human organs and the world of the dark web. Very convincingly portrayed and kept just on the right side of darkness. Threat from the bad guys was ever present and the main antagonist, Rusnac, menacing without becoming a stereotype or cliché.
There are some great supplementary characters in this book and Rebecca Bradley does a great job in creating distinct personalities and voices, building a brilliant support team around Ray, even if they don’t actually know it. I’d actually be intrigued to read more from the team if Ms Bradley can find a way to maintain Ray’s career after the conclusion of this story. It was a book which kept me glued to the story, invested in Ray’s future and keeping everything crossed that he would find a way to nail the murderer. Tension and thrills ebbed and flowed throughout and I’d definitely recommend this book. Certainly fans of Ms Bradley’s other series will not be disappointed.
My thanks to author Rebecca Bradley for providing an advance copy of the book for review. It is available now from the following retailers:
About the Author
Rebecca Bradley is a retired police detective. She lives in the UK with her family and her two cockapoo’s Alfie and Lola, who keep her company while she writes. Rebecca needs to drink copious amounts of tea to function throughout the day and if she could, she would survive on a diet of tea and cake while committing murder on a regular basis, in her writing of course.
She writes the DI Hannah Robbins police procedural series and has also released a standalone novel, Dead Blind, about a cop who acquires prosopagnosia, also known as face blindness.