A pandemic can do more than send people to their early graves, create cabin fever for those quarantining or just staying home to reduce their chances of infection, and send the economy into a tailspin. For authors launching books, it makes for a rocky road.
Yours truly hit the trail with his new novel, Blood on Their Hands, in early May – just as the COVID-19 virus was kicking into high gear and barreling across the planet. With everything shut down and closed up, outlets for spreading the news disappeared, and these vagabond shoes, longing to stray, instead had to stay.
I would welcome a return to those halcyon, if often hectic, days that ended only a year or so ago. Meanwhile, I take comfort that, in the midst of this pendamic – I mean, damned pandemic – the “pand” part – or rather, the panned part – of book publicity has so far been absent. Lots of praise for Blood on Their Hands, but no panning. (It’s hard to pen a book, easy to pan it.)
Barnes & Noble, West Palm Beach area
In fact, two editorial reviews on Amazon and Goodreads lauded the book, including one by Midwest Book Review, one of the country’s premier book review services. Fourteen general reader reviews also were strongly positive. Although I lack the flexibility of my youth, when I walked on my hands and did handsprings, I remain limber enough to reach behind my neck and down my back to pat it, which I find remarkably easy to do.
Herewith, the professional reviews:
Books and Books, Coral Gables (Miami)
“With a grim picture of racism embodied in the theme, Brink’s latest introduces a racist and miserly alcoholic yet lovable hero, a criminal defense attorney who finds himself in the middle of violent conspiracies involving Klan members.
“The assault by white cops on the Trinidadian immigrant Alec Monceau gets Hiram Garbuncle, a hard-core racist and alcoholic and a veteran criminal defense attorney, drawn into the investigation and leads to the latter ending up representing Alec in court, albeit reluctantly. But soon the trial becomes an exercise in keeping himself and his client alive.
“Powered by expert plotting and topnotch characterization, the story pulls readers in, keeping them turning pages until the exhilarating, tension-filled ending. Imaginative prose and sharp dialogue are bonus points.
“Despite the issues of racism and corruption at its heart, the novel is a suspense-filled, fast-paced crime drama that lovers of finely constructed crime thrillers won’t want to miss.
“Deliciously readable!” The Prairies Book Review
“Hiram Garbuncle is not just any ordinary witness. He’s a veteran defense attorney who stumbles into the beating of black man Alec Monceau during a routine traffic stop. It’s obvious that the police are racist. Unfortunately, so is Ham. This specter of a racist attorney confronting both himself and the authorities is only one of the juxtapositions of irony that Blood on Their Hands excels in presenting, along with a wry sense of humor that makes the social inspection both involving and unexpected on many levels.
“It’s unusual to find a thriller that cultivates a ‘hero’ who has many issues, from prejudice to drinking. Hiram is forced to rise above his innate perceptions and tendency to be lazy by circumstances and friends that push him to be something better than he usually is.
“Brink produces more than a legal drama as he moves from social issues of police corruption and racism to the efforts of a divorce lawyer forced to play a mostly relinquished criminal law role, which hits too close to his own prejudices, inherent laziness, and singular perceptions of right and wrong. Hiram’s psychological and moral perception follows the growth and evolution of a man unlikely to change much of anything in his set life and routines—and that’s the meat of what makes Blood on Their Hands a thoroughly engrossing standout from other crime, thriller, or courtroom dramas.
“As Hiram Garbuncle finds himself in the unlikely position of battling police brutality and corruption, he changes. This process of confrontation, realization, and growth drives a story that keeps readers guessing about just how far Ham will go to both realize new abilities and purposes and form a revised vision of life and his place in it.
“Astute, thought-provoking, involving, and growth-oriented, Blood on Their Hands excels in satisfying twists and turns designed to keep readers engaged on many levels, up to its satisfying conclusion.” D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
So there you have it. I’m not sure of how willing readers are to absorb literary analysis, but I do know that they look at the number and ranking of reader reviews. Blood needs a lot more than the 14, with a 4.8-star average rating, posted so far. I’m hoping that some of you might be encouraged by the praise the book has received to delve into it, and then post a review. I’ll be happy to email it to you in the PDF format. If you need it in the ePub or mobi format, let me know. I’ve been tearing my hair out trying to convert the Word document, and will keep proselytizing.
I’d be ever so grateful.