A Taste for Blood by David Stuart Davies

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“A Taste For Blood” is set in 1940s, London, during World War Two, and features two characters that fans of the author will have met before – Detective Inspector David Llewellyn of the Metropolitan Police and Private Detective, Johnny Hawke. As this is the first time I had encountered any novels by David Stuart Davies, I had no knowledge of these two characters. However, this did not affect my enjoyment of this crime novel.

There are two storylines to the book, one in which we meet a particularly horrible villain who had previously been caught by D.I.Llewllyn and incarcerated for eight years before his escape. He is a ghoulish character, who is determined to imprint himself on the world in a very unpleasant manner. The other storyline concerns Johnny Hawke’s investigation of a suspicious suicide. Both cases touch each other at intervals throughout the book, as David Llewellyn and Johnny Hawke are friends – this friendship plays an important part in the last part of book.

I enjoyed “A Taste for Blood”. It was rather gruesome in parts, but the violence was not gratuitous. I particularly liked the way in which the author used words and phrases which resonated with me. They reminded me of films and novels written in the 40s and 50s, giving the novel an authentic period feel. I had no idea how these intertwined plots would resolve themselves and was kept guessing until the end.
I shall certainly search out some more of David Stuart Davies’ work, starting, I think, with the first book featuring Johnny Hawke.

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David Stuart Davies was born in 1946. He was a teacher of English before becoming a full-time editor, writer, and playwright. Davies has written extensively about Sherlock Holmes, both fiction and non-fiction. He is the editor of Red Herrings, the monthly in-house publication of the Crime Writers’ Association.
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