Blood Red City by Rod Reynolds #BookReview #BlogTour

A witness with no victim. A crime with no crime scene…

When crusading journalist Lydia Wright is sent a video of an apparent murder on a London train, she thinks she’s found the story to revive her career. But she can’t find a victim, much less the killers, and the only witness has disappeared. Wary she’s fallen for fake news, she begins to doubt her instincts – until a sinister call suggests that she’s not the only one interested in the crime.
Michael Stringer deals in information – and doesn’t care which side of the law he finds himself on. But the murder on the train has left him exposed, and now he’ll stop at nothing to discover what Lydia knows.
When their paths collide, Lydia finds the story leads through a nightmare world, where money, power and politics intersect … and information is the only thing more dangerous than a bullet.

A nerve-shattering and brutally realistic thriller, Blood Red City bursts with energy and grit from the opening page, twisting and feinting to a superb, unexpected ending that will leave you breathless.

I am thrilled to be sharing my review of Blood Red City today. Huge thanks to Rod Reynolds, Orenda Books and Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me and for my advance copy of the novel.

The moment I read the description for Blood Red City, it became one of my most highly anticipated books of the year. It looked as if it was going to be everything I love in a thriller but would it live up to my expectations? Of course it did -  and I loved it so much I've actually read it twice!
Lydia Wright is at a leaving drinks get-together for a colleague when she is anonymously sent a video file. She is an ambitious investigative reporter - or at least she should be. While digging deep into a story involving property backhanders and dodgy offshore investments, she was told to drop it. She continued working it under the radar until desperation forced her into a stupid shortcut which resulted in her just about hanging on to a job on the night-shift writing click bait copy for the paper's website. She watches the video on the way to work and she is horrified to watch a man apparently being murdered on the Tube. At first she isn't sure she wants to be involved but her friend and former mentor, Tammy persuades her to help. However, she is soon perplexed to discover that there are no reports of an attack on the Tube and seemingly no evidence anywhere. 
Somebody else is desperate to find out what happened to the unfortunate victim, however and when the enigmatic Michael Stringer overhears Lydia asking an Underground worker about the assault and then spots the man he is looking for on her video, he needs to find out what she knows. He is a fixer and is quickly shown to be prepared to resort to dirty tricks to persuade his targets to follow his orders.
Lydia is drawn into a murky world of financial and political corruption while Stringer finds himself in an unfamiliar position where rather than just working for a high-paying client, he needs to do all he can to protect himself. The interplay between the two is fascinating; she has no idea if she can trust him and there are a number of occasions where his actions do little to allay her concerns.
As the novel progresses, however, it becomes evident that they are both more than they first appear. Lydia may be out of her depth and when it becomes brutally obvious that she is in danger, she is clearly terrified. Despite her fears, she can't stop herself from investigating and I loved that there is also a part of her that relishes the intrigue. The sheer boredom of churning out mindless celebrity drivel weighs heavily on her and so the adrenaline rush she feels when it looks as if she might be on the brink of breaking a huge story is entirely understandable.
Meanwhile, although there can be little doubt as to Stringer's ruthlessness, there are moments which reveal a different side to his character too. The pair of them are utterly compelling to follow throughout and they are complemented by the clever, tense storyline which twists and turns at a breathless pace. London is brought vibrantly to life and the whole novel has a vivid, cinematic feel to it - I could easily imagine Blood Red City as a glossy, addictive film or television series.
The murder itself is only really a small part of the story because this is really a complex urban thriller that absolutely nails the corrupt global underbelly of financial and political institutions. Though there is some violence here, the suspense really comes from the more insidious danger that results from challenging those whose unrelenting drive for money and power means all manner of chicanery is being implemented behind closed doors.
The superb ending suggests there could be more to come but is also the most perfect conclusion so either way I finished it with a huge smile on my face. My copy looks decidedly worse for wear after I read it in the bath, the bed, the kitchen...   Blood Red City is an outstanding book; you are in for a treat with this whip-smart contemporary thriller. Strikingly realistic with an exciting, serpentine plot, I couldn't put it down!

Blood Red City is published by Orenda Books. It is out now as an ebook and will be available in paperback on 23rd July 2020. Purchasing links can be found here but please consider supporting independent bookstores if possible.

Don't miss the rest of the blog tour, details are below.

About the Author

Rod Reynolds is the author of four novels, including the Charlie Yates series. His 2015 debut, The Dark Inside, was longlisted for the CWA New Blood Dagger, and was followed by Black Night Falling (2016) and Cold Desert Sky (2018); the Guardian have called the books ‘Pitch-perfect American noir.’ A lifelong Londoner, in 2020 Orenda Books will publish his first novel set in his hometown, Blood Red City. Rod previously worked in advertising as a media buyer, and holds an MA in novel writing from City University London. Rod lives with his wife and family and spends most of his time trying to keep up with his two young daughters.


  1. This sounds a fascinating novel. I like the idea of an Urban thriller (although I'd never heard of that category) and it's interesting that you haven't called it a political thriller. I personally have wondered if political thriller attracts or puts readers off. (My own book is being pitched as a political thriller). The review has intrigued me so I'll keep an eye out for the paperback when this is released.

  2. Huge thanks for the blog tour support Karen xx


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