Book Review: Blackbird by Tom Wright

Blackbird by Tom WrightBlackbird: What it is about

From amazon: “‘Dr. Deborah Serach Gold died on the cross sometime during a night of freezing rain in late October of my last year at Three. It probably wasn’t the worst thing that happened to her that day, but it had been over two decades in the making . . .’

The day after a terrible storm, electricity still crackling in the air, a woman is found dead on the outskirts of a Texan town. She has been brutally attacked and nailed to a cross.

The victim is Dr Deborah Gold, a psychologist who has taken a lot of people’s secrets to her grave.

Which means a lot of suspects for Detective Jim Beaudry Bonham to investigate. And lately he could use some psychological help himself . . .”

Blackbird: What I thought

The beginning of the description sounded very intriguing. However, the ending of it should have warned me: I’m done with thrillers in which the lead investigator is a flawed character.

I found this man totally uninteresting and didn’t give a *%$@$ about his past and current struggles. The investigation into the murder of Dr Gold was exciting, but the Detective got into the way a bit too much.

I did read to the end, but didn’t really pay good attention from page 100 onwards, when I started to wonder whether I should finish the book.

I think that if you like thrillers, there is no reason not to like this one. It’s pretty clever and intriguing.

It’s not the book, it’s me. Since The Snowman by Jo Nesbo, a good two years ago, I should know not to pick up a thriller featuring yet another detective with yet more personal problems. I guess it’s partially the genre that demands a flawed character solving impossible problems, but I’m so done with it! 🙂

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars (almost OK)

Number of pages: 356

First published: 2014

I got this: won this from Curiosity Killed the Bookworm

Genre: mystery, thriller


About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

9 Responses to Book Review: Blackbird by Tom Wright

  1. Stephanie says:

    I have not yet reached the end of my rope but you speak the truth! It seems like every single contemporary mystery (well perhaps not cozy mysteries) out there must have a damaged protagonist – It gets cliched and boring. I guess it’s hard to be well-adjusted and investigate murders at the same time.

  2. Joanna says:

    How funny, Judith. I too dislike main investigators with personal issues – the reason I stopped reading the Sandford Prey books, I loved The Snowman. I’ll give this one a miss though.

  3. Dr. Marshall Thomas says:

    The author is an eminent, respected psychologist who draws his protagonists – L.A. and Jim – and all the supporting characters in his novels from his vast experience helping people, which includes treating persons serving in law enforcement. To lump Dr. Wright’s portrayals into one pile of stereotypical cliches misses many a nuance, and reduces such arguments against reading BLACKBIRD and others of its literary ilk to a curt dismissal without offering an intellectually stimulating argument for removing all such approaches to crime fiction from Barzun & Taylor’s CATALOGUE OF CRIME.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Thanks for your comment, Dr. Marshall Thomas. I think you take this a bit too seriously. This review is about my reading experience of the book, and so, whether the writer is an eminent psychologist or a bellboy who has only done some basic research on the matter, is neither here not there. I didn’t like the fact that the main character was suffering from an abundance of problems, as is the case in many other thrillers. That’s an opinion, not a fact.

      I did actually suggest that other thriller readers may very well enjoy this novel. I didn’t say it’s not a good novel, just that it wasn’t for me. What did you think of the book, Dr. M.?

      I actually have a PhD in Psychology myself, which is also neither here nor there. 🙂

  4. Patricia says:

    No story built on the words and actions of unflawed characters could EVER be realistic . Some readers need a (perfect) world to escape from the imperfections of their own lives. Most adults, however, are interested in stories about people as imperfect as they are. To expect a Novelist to write about characters who lack serious flaws is not only silly, it amounts to asking him or her to completely misrepresent human nature.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Patricia, I agree: everyone has flaws, so it’s realistic to find that in a story. Reading about a perfect person would be SO boring! However, I just find it a little over the top in books such as these. That’s what I don’t like about this book.

  5. anonymous says:

    The issue is not about perfect / imperfect protagonists. It’s about lead characters so burdened with personal issues that their problems overwhelm the crime story. As if the detective is losing sight of his duty and only solving a murder in order to heal himself. ANONYMOUS

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