Bloodlines (The Guardian Of Empire City) by Peter Hartog

5 Stars – Fantastic Future World Detective Story

Sometimes you stumble upon gold and with Peter Hartog’s debut novel I did just that. That he is an Indie author makes it even more impressive. It is very accomplished, the characters distinctive, the dialogue sharp and punchy, the story a breakneck ride.It is set in a near future, dystopian world that reminded me of Megacity One or Bladerunner where most of the world’s population reside in one of about fifty-odd city enclaves. Our story is set in Empire City, formerly New York and it follows the life-weary travails of Thomas ‘Doc’ Holliday, PhD in Eng. Lit,  a coffee drinking, Shakespearean quoting (other famous historical writers are also available), burnt-out detective in the ECPD.

Doc’s rugged, edgy demeanour reminded me in no small part to Deckard, in the afore-mentioned Bladerunner. He has suffered loss and a fall from grace and is mostly desked, going through the motions and entering other peoples reports and paperwork etc. But Doc is more than he seems and he knows it even if he doesn’t admit it to himself. He has the ‘Insight’ and he has been noticed.

I won’t give any spoilers but suffice it to say it cracks along at a fair old pace. It starts with a mysterious murder that is more than it seems. The plot twists and turns as did the pages as I just needed to see where the story was going.

The characters were all so interesting, fleshed out, flawed and unique. So well scribed you could give me a line of dialogue from the book and I would know who said it. The suspense was great, the mystery bigger and more dangerous at every turn and the momentum built to a brilliant climax. Jim Butcher would have been proud of this if he’d written.

All I can say is, thank the heavens there is another book out ‘Pieces of Eight’.  


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