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Anne Brooke: fiction writer

Contemporary gay romance and fantasy writer. Also loves flowers and bakes the occasional cake. Sometimes they're edible ...

Bleeding Hearts by Jack Harvey (Ian Rankin): long-winded thriller



A TV reporter is murdered with a single bullet wound to the heart. The twist in the tale is that, this time, it's the man who fired the bullet who's asking all the questions. Michael Weston wants to know why the police were on his tail so quickly. His first task is to find the writer of his pay cheque, the second is to make sure he doesn't get caught. Because one thing's for certain: the longer he sticks around to find out, the bigger the risk of making mistakes, revealing his cover and maybe losing his life.


Goodness me, this is a too long and too wearisome crime thriller. There’s a lot of pursuing the criminals and running away from the good guys, or running away from the criminals and pursuing the good guys, depending on whose point of view you’re in at the time. Not that anyone is really good at all, by any measure. There are two leads – the private detective and the hit man – but neither is hero or villain. This of course is a very realistic approach to take, but it does mean that the reader roots for neither – or possibly both, but for me it was neither as I didn’t find either of them likeable or interesting.


I did quite enjoy the fact that the hit man was a haemophiliac though as that was a nice twist. But that’s as about as good as it got – though I do accept I’m probably not the prime target for this novel. It’s best classed as a boys-with-toys thriller. Because there are a lot of guns in all sorts of different scenarios and it was exhausting trying to keep up with the technicalities of them all. So in the end I didn’t bother. I didn’t bother much with the plot either as it was very clichéd and had – again – lots of different groups in different countries up to no good and running around a great deal. Sigh.


Really, by about a quarter of the way through, I was just glancing over the bare outlines of what might have been going on, and trying to finish the pesky beast as quickly as I could. There’s a girl (who is far more boring than she ought to be as the female lead) and a dead father, a journalist or several, various gun suppliers and some police. Please add your own plot as you expect it to be and you won’t be far wrong.


That said, Spike’s niece, Jazz, was great fun and I wished for more of her, but it was not to be, alas. To cap it all, the ending is the ultimate cliché to end all clichés and not worth the getting there.


2 stars. Disappointing.


Anne Brooke Books

The Gathandrian Trilogy

Gay Reads UK