“Then he took a final breath, and his eyes closed.”
Synopsis: Evan Summers is a detective with a shameful past, a muddled present, and an uncertain future. While investigating a series of gruesome murders and trying to battle his alcoholism, Summers will try to reconnect with his young son. But when a break in the case puts his family at risk, it will be up to Summers alone to capture the mysterious killer. It will test the limits of his addiction, and make Summers decide how just far he will go to protect the person he loves.
Age Group & Genre(s): Adult Literature, Crime, Suspense, Thriller, Young Adult
Point of View: Third Person
Publisher: Books to Go Now
Publication Date: 2019
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review; thank you for the opportunity to read and review this novel. This in no way sways my review or opinion of the novel.
I was very lucky to receive a copy of another work by Albanese — this time, a thriller short story! Short stories are definitely my weakness, especially one done right. For the Blood is the Life was an interesting read, one I didn’t expect to enjoy as this genre typically isn’t my cup of tea … or so I thought. I was happily surprised by the turn of events when reading this work, for I had NO idea of the plot twist that was to occur!
CONTENT & TRIGGER WARNING: This book contains abuse (child – mentioned, domestic – mentioned), alcoholism, anger issues, blood/gore, divorce, murder, prostitution (mentioned), and violence.
Captivating and enticing, Albanese’s short story makes the reader eager to know more. I honestly don’t know how he does it, but For the Blood is the Life was nearly impossible to put down. Once I began reading it, I simply HAD to know the outcome of Summers’ insane case. Albanese balances the perfect amount of information to provide the reader throughout the story, giving enough information to stay intrigued but not enough to provide that opportunity to put it down — this is SUCH an essential part of writing, which Albanese executed perfectly.
A twist like no other, readers will be surprised by the turn of events in this story. It’s terribly boring when you can speculate the outcome of a novel or short story. Luckily, Albanese’s story does NOT fall under this trap! When going into this, I thought I had the whole plot pegged … but then I was proven wrong over and over and OVER again. Seriously, everything was a shock until the very last line — which I loved, by the way. He gives nothing away without purpose, breaking the norms of these “stereotypical and predictable plots” with this amazing story!
The central character of this story is not only fascinating, but bends the norms of “good” and “evil”. I’m not used to following a character that has a fairly dark past, which made me hesitant to read this — thank goodness I changed my mind. Summers, the central character, is wonderfully complex — he’s not necessarily a likable character, but you also don’t hate the guy either; from a passion to save lives to also having anger and aggression issues, Summers is unpredictable and unreliable throughout the entire story. I’ve never come across a MC like this before, but I like the concept. All of the characters in this story are interesting though, for Albanese consistently blurs the line between “good and evil” — “hero and villain” — “light and dark”.
There are a number of grammatical errors, which are both bothersome and cause some interruptions. This tends to be a fairly big issue for a lot of people, but I’m not overly troubled by this … no one is perfect, not even an editor. The issue I did have, however, is how certain grammatical issues caused me to lose my focus, as I would have to reread the sentence and/or paragraph multiple times. These errors occurred in sentence structures, punctuation, and spelling wise. So unfortunately, this DID take away from the story at times.
Relating to grammatical issues, there are a number of word repetitions that are incredibly noticeable and cause a distraction. For instance, there are times numerous times when the author either uses the same phrasing or keywords too close to one another. Another thing I noticed that seemed particularly odd was the repetition of characters’ names. Instead of switching to their proper pronoun, Albanese would keep using their full name multiple times in a paragraph or even sentence. An element that’s noticed in lower grade level writing, this contradicted with the rest of the novel as the remaining elements are well-written.
For the Blood is the Life lacks descriptive elements, as it’s overtaken by dialogue heavy scenes. Whether it be a short story or a novel, a balance between dialogue and descriptive writing should be met — also known as narrative writing. Not only did the lack of descriptive writing make it more difficult to visualize the settings, it also made the short story feel more like a script at times.
Albanese’s For the Blood is the Life is a thrilling reading experience, full of unpredictable scenarios and well-written characters. A complete and utter page turner, Albanese has perfected the art of captivating the reader into his works, making this a perfect one day read. Though the narrative writing requires some work in regards to the descriptive portion, the rest of the writing and the compelling story make up for this element. If you’re looking for a quick and suspenseful read with a shocking turn of events, For the Life is the Blood may be the prefect read for you!