Review: Blood Island

Blood Island: A Matt Royal Mystery, by H. Terrell Griffin

The Quick Synopsis
Retired attorney Matt Royal is enjoying his retirement down in Florida when he gets a call from his ex-wife who asks for his help locating her missing step-daughter. All of a sudden, dead bodies are popping up everywhere and Matt is right in the middle of it. Drug dealers, the mob, religious cults - you name it and this mystery has it.

There's a darkness lurking deep in the souls of us all. Our parents instill in us a modicum of civilized behavior and that usually keeps our baser instincts at bay. But sometimes that blackness seeps to the surface and a monster walks quietly among us.
Blood Island, by H. Terrell Griffin

The Literary Criticism
Griffin has a talent for writing the grand noir mystery tradition. Think Sam Spade meets Miami Vice.

(Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade, for those of you too young to get my references)

The tight plot is fast paced from the very first chapter and reels you in hook, line, and sinker. Short chapters keep the plot moving right along and Griffin doesn't drop his end-of-the-chapter teasers just because it's the middle of the story.

Particularly impressive is the author's ability to convey all of the darkness of Florida's underworld without overdosing on explicitness. Sex is implied rather than detailed, the language is appropriate for the scene, and violence...well, we are talking about drug dealers and the mob here, after all.
People who lurk on the edges of civilization know that their greatest protection from the wrath of society is the unwillingness of good people to do bad things.
Sometimes, the lurkers misjudge.
Blood Island, by H. Terrell Griffin

There were a few stumbles here and there, such as a goodly number of characters introduced in a very short time span, but nothing that detracts from the story overall. And while the ending is looser than I would have liked, Griffin's just plain good writing more than makes up for any small complaints I had.

And evidently I'm not the only one smitten with Griffin's work. Blood Island was a finalist in the National Best Books 2008 Awards. I'm not surprised one bit.

The Recommendation
I loved, loved this book and would highly recommend it for any fan of a good mystery. Looking for a holiday gift for the manly-man in your life? This book is it (and then steal it for yourself to enjoy!) And if you love it as much as I did, keep in mind that Blood Island is the third in the Matt Royal Series. I can't wait to read the other two books in the series, Murder Key and Longboat Blues.

(The man who makes the magic happen: H. Terrell Griffin)

Win a Copy!
H. Terrell Griffin is giving away a signed copy of his book, Blood Island , to one lucky tour visitor. Go to Terry’s book tour page and enter your name, e-mail address, and this PIN, 3838, for your chance to win. Entries from A Reader's Respite will be accepted until 12:00 Noon (PT) tomorrow. No purchase is required to enter or to win. The winner (first name only) will be announced on Terry’s book tour page next week.

Four and a half stars!

Title: Blood Island: A Matt Royal Mystery
Author: H. Terrell Griffin
ISBN-13: 978-1933515212
234 pages
Publisher: Oceanview Publishing
Date: December 2008

Other Reviews in Blogland:

Jenn's Bookshelf


  1. Great review. Love the pics and the quotes.

    And, yes, another mystery series for my pile...

  2. Sounds great - thanks for the PIN - I went over and entered.

  3. Love the review! Great style. Entered the PIN right away - can't wait to read Blood Island.

  4. Thanks for the recommendation. The title and the cover would have turned me off from picking up this book, but after reading your description I think this book sounds like something I would enjoy.

  5. Sounds awesome. Now, to start with this one or the first in the series???? I entered for the free book! Thanks!

  6. Beth - I love a good mystery. The Rhys Bowen mysteries are good, too...have you read those yet?

    Kathy - the pin idea from the promotion company is interesting, no?

    Alyce - I totally agree regarding the title and cover. But it really is good...who knew?

    Michele - good question. I had no problem picking this one up (being the 3rd book and all). It's definitely stand-alone. But it did make me want to read more about the character's previous adventures. So I really don't think it matters where you start reading the series.

  7. Wow....great review...sounds like a rockin' read!

  8. Michele, this sounds like a good one. I'm currently listening to some very well-written crime noir on my iPod - Christine Falls by Benjamin Black.


  9. I love mystery! This book sounds very good and I would love to read it!
    Thank you!
    Carol M
    mittens0831 AT

  10. awesome review :)

  11. Great review! I love the things you added and the comparisons you made!

    :) I've got my guest post up!

    :) Wendi

  12. Yet another one to add to my wish list! I haven't been able to read a mystery for awhile, I'm missing them.

    I really enjoy the Rhys Bowen books, too, especially the Molly Murphy series.

  13. Shana - ooooh, I'm going to look that one up. I love a good noir-mystery. Reminds me of the Maltese Falcon.

    Wendi - I loved the guest post. He sounds like the kind of guy I'd love to have over for dinner, know what I mean?

    Carey - I just started reading Bowen's Her Royal Spyness series!! She is so fun. Lezlie has been reading all of the Agatha Christie novels lately and I am longing to re-read those now.


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