The Blood Strand by Chris Ould


Having left the Faroes as a child, Jan Reyna is now a British police detective, and the Islands are foreign to him. But he is drawn back when his estranged father is found unconscious, a shotgun by his side and someone else’s blood in his car. Then a man’s body is found, a shotgun wound in his side, but signs that he was suffocated. Is his father responsible for the man’s death? Jan must decide whether to stay or forsake the Faroe Islands for good.

My thoughts:
The Blood Strand is the first book in a new detective series that is set in the Faroe Islands. At the start of the novel there is a map showing the location of the Faroes and a guide on pronunciation. I was grateful for both, not knowing where they were and I am one of those readers that prefer to pronounce characters names correctly.
Jan had left the Faroes with his mother when he was very young and apart from a disastrous visit in his teens had no contact with his father. Neither had he met any of the other members of his family.
He had recently been suspended from his job with the British police but details are only hinted at, and his family in the UK encouraged him to make the trip to see his father.
He develops a good relationship with Hjalti Hentz, the investigating officer who is frustrated by the lack of interest shown by a senior officer. Jan offers advice and tells him how he would look at the case if it had occurred in the UK. The investigation into his father is only part of the story. Jan also wanted to understand why his mother left the islands but was struggling to get answers from either the family or people who knew her when she left. I have a feeling that more will be revealed in future novels. I thought I had solved the case but I was mistaken. There were quite a few twists that I hadn’t seen.
Jan’s account is told in the first person and the rest of the novel is told in the third person and it worked quite well, even when it switched frequently. I found the novel to be much lighter than Nordic Noir novels that I have read in the past. Maybe because much of it is told by an outsider’s point of view.

I would like to thank Titan Books for the copy received for review. The Blood Strand will be published on 16th February 2016.