Corruption (Blood Trails #4) by Jennifer Blackstream
Read: 1st – 5th June 2019
Publication Date: 13th January 2019
Quote from Corruption
“”Shade, why is there a rhinoceros in my family room?”
I didn’t answer Andy. My full and undivided attention rested on the two thousand pound rhinoceros standing less than five feet in front of me.”
My Overall Rating: 4/5
Plot: 4/5 – Flow: 5/5 – Character Development: 4/5 – World Building: 5/5
Corruption is the fourth book (approx 346 pages) in Ms Blackstream’s Blood Trails series; an urban fantasy series set in America about a village witch, Shade Renard, turned private investigator. The Blood Trails world is a place inhabited by a host of mythical and supernatural beings, including; witches, vampires, wizards, sorceresses, pixies, dwarves, trolls and various species of fae living, unseen, alongside us mere mortals. Corruption is a detective story within an urban fantasy framework.
Fans of Ms Blackstream’s Blood Prince series and Blood Realm series will be familiar with the creation myth found in the Blood Trails world and may recognise some of the characters who sometimes cameo within the books, however, I don’t think it’s necessary to have read these other series to enjoy the Blood Trails books.
If you’ve read any of my reviews before, you’ll know that I write about how the story was told rather than the plot itself, which means that my reviews don’t contain spoilers of any kind or reveal any plot twists, so here’s what the official blurb has to say about the story:
The latest installment of the Blood Trails series from USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Blackstream will keep you on the edge of your seat as PI Shade Renard races to solve a double homicide while desperately trying to protect herself and her friends from an ancient evil…
Shade is a witch, not an exorcist. But when two priests are killed during an exorcism, the surviving witness begs Shade to find out who-or what-is responsible.
And what good is a private investigator who’s afraid of the tough cases?
Danger mounts as Shade plunges into a world of hedonism to wade through the muddy waters of good vs evil. If she’s going to survive against the army of enemies piling up, she’s going to need help. But who can she trust when the demon who survived the exorcism creates chaos among allies and suspects alike? After all, with the proper temptation, anyone can be corrupted…
So far, Shade and her trusted pixie familiar, Peasblossom, have had to solve a different case in each book – the crimes varying from petty theft to cold-blooded murder – while a gentle story-line of Shade’s past, the origins of her magical power, her expanding contacts and her growing relationships – both personal and professional – continues in the background. Ms Blackstream eloquently weaves any pertinent facts regarding previous adventures and subsequent information learned into this one, meaning that Corruption can be read as a standalone story, if you so wish. However, I do feel that as the series grows, you’d likely miss the nuances of knowing re-occurring characters and understanding the dynamics of those relationships if you just jump straight in here.
Ms Blackstream has become a tried and trusted author on my bookshelf; I find her writing style intelligent and easy to read, her plot lines gripping and her characters captivating and believable. Corruption did not let me down.
As my previous reviews have confirmed, I like our heroine, Shade, and have enjoyed how she has continued to grow; she’s proved herself to be intelligent, witty and definitely has loads of gumption. I admire her perseverance and her maturity to admit her mistakes and then learn from them, although she tested my regard at times in this book.
I also love the fact that the secondary characters that Ms Blackstream has created to populate her world feel just as real as our leads – they aren’t just filling the page – they all have the complexities that we’d see in those around us; a balance of strengths and insecurities which makes me want to know more about them.
I enjoyed being introduced to different supernaturals and liked that we’ve learned more about the governance of the Others world during this story; the paranormal world that Ms Blackstream is creating is growing in depth.
Although Corruption is an urban fantasy tale featuring a host of paranormal species, it’s the detective/police crime aspect that kept me gripped. I enjoyed the attention to detail that Ms Blackstream wrote into this murder mystery; the police procedures that are used to solve crimes, e.g. leg work, interviewing witnesses and potential suspects, etc. I loved the way Ms Blackstream included the real ambiguity of our laws, legal system and morality into her fictional tale; she certainly caused me to pause and consider the wisdom of flexibility compared to a more rigid approach.
This story certainly kept me guessing as there are some unexpected twists and turns during Shade’s investigation that satisfied my Sherlock-Holmes-tendencies and kept me on the edge of my seat. I liked that it wasn’t all easy sailing for our heroine; there is danger, tension and some scary moments in this book.
I loved the fact that Corruption had me on the edge of my seat holding my breath with tension (and also with fear during a few scenes too, eek!), wiping a tear from my cheek, fuming with indignation and chuckling out loud.
I really enjoyed this book as the 4 star rating testifies, my only niggle was that I didn’t like or understand some of Shade’s behaviour in this book; her thoughts and actions. It made me stop reading and not want to pick up for a while. However, by the end of the book I recognise that these were all part of her development and learning process as a character.
I just also wanted to add that as with all books within a series, there are certain questions left unanswered, for example about Shade’s history, where her magical power comes from, what will happen to her partnership with F.B.I. Agent Andy Bradford and all the cold cases and why Flint so interested in her and how their relationship will change now that he “owns” her. In my opinion this is a good thing – it leaves lots of background story arcs that can continue into subsequent books which tie the whole series together.
I really liked this book. It’s got everything that I look for in an engaging read; great action to get the adrenaline pumping, an intelligent mystery to get the little grey cells whirling, nail biting tension and well written humour.
So, has my review of CORRUPTION (BLOOD TRAILS #4) encouraged you to find out more? I do hope so. Just click on any of the links below to check out the book yourself or to find out more about the author.
(I am part of Amazon , The Book Depository, Foyles Book Shop and Waterstones affiliate programmes, which means when you use those links to buy a copy of this book, I will get a (very) small % from the sale.)
Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read my thoughts. I hope I’ve added to your TBR pile. 😉