Review: Symphony of Blood by Adam Pepper

Hank Mondale, a rough-around-the-edges P.I. with a small drinking problem and a large gambling problem, needs a break.  With his landlord threatening eviction and his bookie threatening worse, things look bleak. 

Until real estate mogul Thomas Blake calls with an incredible story: a monster is trying to kill his daughter. 

Hank figures she’s probably some whacked-out spoiled brat, but desperate, Hank takes the case to track down the supposed monster.  It seems that people around Mackenzie Blake are disappearing.  It’s obviously no coincidence.  Was Hank hired to unwittingly aid a wealthy murderess?  Or is there really someone…or some thing, trying to kill Mackenzie Blake?

A symphony plays that only It can hear.  But there will be a special performance, just for her.


I, along with millions of other readers I’m sure, enjoy a nice surprise and I don’t mean just the element of surprise when it comes to a good plot twist. What I’m talking about is the surprise of enjoying a story and the surprise of reading something I was not expecting.

I’ve also mentioned several times on BA that I’m not heavily into crime novels unless they have a supernatural touch or are told from the killers’ perspective, á la Dexter.

Symphony of Blood has both combined those two aspects I like in a crime story and has gifted me with a surprise. A surprise I’m grateful for at a time when I’m feeling burnt out from reading. The supernatural element is given away to an extent in the title, but at the same time I wasn’t expecting what it turned out to be. Of course that’s not completely unexpected when we’re not the storyteller, but I find when you read enough supernatural and paranormal stories, the mystical detail can become predictable. That detail was something I found refreshing and appreciated when the book world seems to be overloaded with the same supposedly scary creatures and stereotypical characters.

I found the tale to be a fast paced read, but it tapered off some when it switched over to a different perspective. It began to build up momentum again towards the end of that P.O.V. Unfortunately it tapered off yet again when it switched back to the original P.O.V. and then wasn’t as fast paced in it’s climax as it had been at the half way point (at the end of the first perspective).

In saying that, the book took me 9 days to finish, but only because I was forced to stop reading for several days. In a way I wish I hadn’t of been forced to stop so I could gobble it all up in one go. That’s what it is – a gobble worthy book, but at the same time I’m glad it got stretched out because I could savour it more.

When it comes to characters, I didn’t particularly care for the main character, but that’s mostly because I don’t like alcoholics. I felt no sympathy for him whatsoever when it came to his drinking and gambling. However, I really didn’t mind reading him. This is a case of indifference to a character, but wanting to follow their story.

I appreciated how Hank didn’t change tack with personality when it came to certain obstacles through the story; I felt he stayed true to whom he was. There was a level of sexuality in there and hinting at sexual transgressions, but it wasn’t over the top, and the focus really was set on the main story. The last crime story I read with a supernatural factor, and following a male character, was unpleasant thanks to in part sexualising women. While Hank comments on the women around him at times, I didn’t find his perceptions of them unbearable, and I felt his observations provided a realistic sense of who he was.

I really enjoyed Symphony of Blood. The story itself has a touch of humour, a great level of suspense, and I loved the mix of supernatural and crime. There’s a touch of refreshing horror I don’t get to come across often anymore and I thoroughly relished reading a story with a bad guy who isn’t well known or overly used. Reading from the bad guy’s perspective, even though the momentum tapered off, was quite interesting. I will definitely be reading more of Adam Pepper’s work in future.

  • Genre: Dark Fiction – Mystery – Crime
  • Demographic: Adult
  • Rating Out of Five: 4
  • Format: eBook received, with thanks, from the author Adam Pepper
  • Find At: SmashwordsAmazonBarnes and Noble
  • Published: 2011

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