“Bloodman” By Robert Pobi (Thomas & Mercer, 428 pgs., $14.95)
The nature of evil, from its origins to how it manifests itself in society and thrives, is a time-honored theme of the mystery genre. Evil kept at arm’s length through the prism of films or novels is horrifying enough. But evil that establishes itself up close and personal can freeze the heart.
That battle with the invasion of evil is the foundation of the gripping and chilling “Bloodman” by Canadian author Robert Pobi. “Bloodman” expertly combines the hardboiled novel with the psychological thriller for a strong plot that is terrifyingly real.
Jake Cole is a brutal man, a former addict turned FBI consultant. He always is on the verge of destroying himself, but he had “turned a poisonous past around and built for himself something beautiful.” His salvations are his wife and 3-year-old son and his uncanny ability to find killers.
Cole has returned home to Montauk, Long Island, where the moody atmosphere enhances the plot. Jake’s father, Jacob Coleridge Sr., is in the hospital after nearly destroying his home and himself in an Alzheimer-fueled rage. Jake plans to stay only long enough to put Jacob in long-term care. That changes when Jake agrees to help the local sheriff investigate a horrific murder in a nearby beach-front hoouse.
Pobi briskly moves to a shocking finale, although a pending hurricane is a device this otherwise strong story did not need. While there are allusions to “The Sixth Sense,” “Shutter Island” and “Silence of the Lambs,” “Bloodman” showcases Pobi’s originality and imagination.