Stephen Lloyd Jones’s latest book, Written in Blood, had me hooked within the first chapter of this tale which is set a decade or so after ‘The String Diaries‘ with one of the main characters being the daughter of the main character in the previous book. I would certainly suggest that the first book be read before this one. You could probably read this as a standalone book however it could be a little confusing if you did so and the first book really is excellent. As with the previous book this one catches the atmosphere very well and the pace is good with the story switching between early days in Budapest and the current time in a number of locations.
Once again we have further powerful stories of the ‘hosszú életek’ – long lived they may be however they are dying out. A further mythical character is introduced very effectively and this tale can be wonderfully horrifying at times if such a thing is possible. As with the earlier book there is some fairly graphic violence and horror, fear and despair are well evoked. I found myself engaged with even some of the less likeable characters quite quickly although I’ll not mention names as this would give away aspects of the story.
I would say this was essential for those who loved “The String Diaries” and while it could be read without reading the first book I would suggest that anyone interested reads these in order. A “follow up” book will always be difficult and I guess there are aspects of this book that I find a little less convincing however all in all it is a well paced thriller which I thoroughly enjoyed reading and I will certainly be hoping for a third in the series. One of those 4.5 out of 5 for me.
Note – I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair review