BLOOD STANDARD  by Laird  Barron


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An enforcer for the Alaskan mob finds himself in trouble with all sorts of people when he gets involved in the search for a missing teenage girl in upstate New York.

Isaiah Coleridge has to leave his job as mob muscle after he beats down a boss who is illegally slaughtering walruses. After a beating, and with the mob boss still determined to take him out, Isaiah is kept out of sight by being sent to work at a horse farm in New York state. While there, the granddaughter of the owners disappears, and Isaiah takes on the task of finding her. He has to deal with dirty cops, a gung-ho FBI rookie, local Native American gangs, and the hoods who are still determined to flush him out. The novel is reasonably well-executed (though the plot strands could be a mite clearer) and somewhat diverting. But it all feels depressingly familiar. This is the first novel in what is clearly a projected series, and it has some of the calculation of the first installment of a movie franchise. It's easy to see the cast of supporting characters being assembled, the establishment of a protagonist who straddles both sides of the law, and his patented laconic persona. But there's nothing witty, charismatic, or original about Isaiah. And the drab upstate New York state setting doesn't perk things up.

Hard-boiled without being distinctive.

Pub Date: May 29th, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-7352-1287-9
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2018


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