Blood Money is a novel set during the great Wall Street crash of 1929 when an investment banker is found dead in what appears at the first to be a suicide. However, detective Joe Quinn is asked to investigate the crime and soon uncovers there is more to the tale than a man jumping off a high building after suffering financial collapse.
The book is written by Tom Bradby and he manages to recreate the culture, speech and beliefs evident in New York in 1929. Joe Quinn is the main character and through his eyes we gain a look at a city on the edge of chaos, the Wall Street crash is occurring throughout the novel but is never the focus of the tale. Quinn's investigations take us from the heights of New York political life to the gutter and all points in between; there is corruption, decadence, desperation, lies, thefts, guilt and betrayal. Quinn is our loadstone; he is the good guy looking around in bemusement as his life slowly starts to unravel. He is a career policeman, son of a famous New York lawman and step-brother to a girl who was rescued from the gutter by his father.
AS the reader progresses the story of the crash is played out, through the actions of the perpetrators of the various crimes we are exposed to the avarice, greed and belief in power which has led to the stock market collapsing. There are a few problems with the novel its too long for one, at 500 pages it hasn't got enough storyline to keep the reader properly engaged throughout. I suspect a decent edit of around 100 pages would have made the book a better reads, there are peripheral stories which whilst interesting on their own detract from the central narrative.
Also the plot itself is rather complex and takes a bit of following towards the end of the novel, the introduction of characters not mentioned previously also leaves the reader a little bewildered. There is also the use of a plot twist which is a little blatant and well a bit too much of a stretch considering the previous 450 pages there had been no mention of certain crucial events in Quinn's past. Surely any decent murder mystery should give the reader at least a chance of guessing the real culprit but with the addition of a prop we are given the killer on a plate and no-one could have guessed the real reasons for the crimes.
Other issues are that the main character Joe is well a bit dull, he has little to engage with the reader and after a while his unrelenting goodness starts to grate, and you know the outcome is going to cause a period of introspection but by then you really don't care about him. Sad I know but there you are, the other is the timing of the novel it feels like a murder mystery which has been placed during a famous period in American history. The placing it there adds very little to the story and leaves the reader wondering if the placement of the tale in New York in 1929 was simply a ruse to get the casual buyer in a bookshop to buy the product. "Oh a murder mystery set during the Great Crash, bet that's good" compared with "murder mystery set in New York in 1933 or 1919, hmmm maybe I'll get it out of the library"
The final problem is the language, I shouldn't be too picky but after the umpteenth American policeman says "I can't do nothing" or "I don't know nothing" I just wanted to scream - double negative.
So this is a decent thriller but it doesn't make me want to find further novels by Tom Brady and that gives a hint on how much I enjoyed the book.