“Blood Ties,” by Nicholas Guild, or “Why isn’t this book a movie yet?”

This is an outstanding blend of police procedural/thriller and, honestly, a love story.

Guild’s strengths are his characters and his rock solid prose. He has the knack of creating very believable protagonists and supporting characters … and then putting them through hell in a way that keeps you turning pages.  He also describes violent things in a matter-of-fact way that gets under your skin.

In some ways, this book reminded me of Ed McBain’s work, in that his cops are genuine people with strengths and weaknesses. Guild’s characters, though, seem more real to me — and I say that as a huge fan of McBain. McBain’s characters are wonderful, but often play into cliches even while subverting them. (I am looking at you, Fat Ollie Weeks.) Guild’s characters, on the other hand, are simply human. They do human things for human reasons, for good or ill. 

I also like the fact that even after the bullets stop flying, the protagonists have to cope with the consequences of what they have been through. It’s not just a cop story with a demented bad guy who needs to be gunned down.

Love thrillers? Grab this one. And, for God’s sake, somebody make a movie out of this one, already.


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