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Innocent Blood by PD James

April 17, 2013 | by Faber Social

Tags: PD James, Sophie Hannah

I’ve read thousands of thrillers, but only about five have ever made me gasp and look around for someone to harangue about the brilliance of their twists. I read Innocent Blood on holiday in Portugal a few years ago, after a friend told me it was his all-time favourite crime novel. It starts superbly, with a young woman, having taken the decision to trace her biological parents, discovering that they were a pair of notorious child murderers. She decides to seek them out and try to form a relationship with them all the same (s’family, innit?), so she tracks down her birth mother and at first things seem to go well, but then, it being a menacing thriller, things start to go less well there is the most astonishingly gasp-inducing yet immensely subtle revelation that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end for the duration of my Portuguese holiday. Absolute genius – and beautifully written.