The Bonds of Blood is book four in the DI Dani Stephens series. As is fairly usual for me, I have not read the first three; however, I had no issue piecing together what came before, and the book works fine as a standalone.
We open with a rather gruesome murder – the blood and gore is kept to a minimum, but we get the idea without it. A man and woman, killed in their bed in the dead of night.
DI Stephens is working another case when this one comes up: a man who beat another man to death after the second man ran over and killed the first man’s son while they were out biking. This issue – determining what level of intent was involved on the part of both men runs through the book as a subplot.
Stephens is then called out to the scene of the murder that opens the book. It’s a bit close to home for her, as she and her fiancee suffered a similar attack, but lived.. Still, she tackles the case with her team, and discovers that the murdered couple owned a development business, buying properties and creating new housing. As Stephens and her team delve more deeply into the business, they find that the company is burning through money. During the investigation, they also find a will, notarized and signed by a lawyer, and another will, unsigned and undated. The difference between them revolves around how much a portion of the business each of their four children receive.
Their kids are really somewhat of a mess. The daughter is married and they run a competing company in real estate development. One son is of course the one who is rather flighty and undependable. One son has a gambling problem, and owes a lot of money to an illegal gambling front that extended him credit. The last son works in the company business with the father, and is displeased with the way the company is being run and the money it’s losing on each project. All are good candidates for motive, and Stephens and her team sort through the entanglements of the family to get to the truth.
The book moves back and forth in time, and is told both from the viewpoint of Stephens and from the viewpoint of the father, Terry, as he goes through trying to keep his business afloat. This back and forth does not make the book hard to follow, but it does give the reader some vital information that will allow them to crack the case if they are observant.
I’ll give this a solid four out of five.
Thanks to Canelo and NetGalley for the reading copy.