Blood Father: A Novel Hardcover – Mar 2 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Returning to the territory he mined so well in Martini Shot and Hot Plastic, Craig pens a rollicking if formulaic tale of a father coming to terms with his past and a daughter confronting her demons as they go on the lam from a Tijuana drug cartel. After shooting her mob-boss boyfriend, Jonah, in the midst of a drug heist, Lydia Carson turns to the only person she has left to trust--her Hell's Angel-with-a-heart-of-gold father, John Link. Lydia and John have been estranged more than a decade while he's been doing time for homicide. Raised by her mother and a series of grotesque stepfathers, Lydia has fallen into an ever-deepening cycle of drug abuse and delinquency. But together father and daughter dodge the cops, who want Lydia in connection with a murder she didn't commit, as well as Jonah's old gang, who want revenge for reasons unclear until the end, all the while making up for those lost years. As with Craig's previous books, this is, at heart, an exploration of what it means to be family. After John gives Lydia her first lesson on driving a motorcycle, he realizes that "all the weight of his own history... could finally have a purpose" if only he can help his daughter out of the mess she's made. It's moments like this that raise the book above its Hollywood cliché plot and make it an engaging, affecting read.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Lydia Carson, age 17, has managed to get herself mixed up with the wrong people: her boyfriend, an older man, is obviously not on the right side of the law. When he takes her along on a job and then insists that Lydia shoot someone (as a character-building exercise), Lydia does exactly that--but instead of the intended victim, she shoots her boyfriend. Now, on the run from his colleagues (cohorts?), she turns to the only person who can help: her long-estranged father, newly sprung from prison and trying to turn his life around. Unfortunately, the only way to protect his daughter is to plunge right back into his old life. This father-and-daughter tale, recast as a fast-paced thriller, solidifies the author's reputation as a writer with a fresh and vivid point of view. Its theme of family reconciliation will especially appeal to readers who like their thrillers to be about more than just good guys and bad guys. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Peter Craig's third novel builds on the themes he explored in the previous two--particularly, the adult child's relationship with the father. Although his work is primarily character-driven he has achieved a new level of storytelling with Blood Father. His navigation through back story is particularly skillful, he has the knack of writing flashbacks which do not distract and give emotional depth to the characters. The language in this novel is beautiful, and bestows a quality of grace to these characters who the reader comes to care about deeply.
The elements for a classic thriller are here. Fully realized characters (including intensely brutal bad guys)- Check. Unexpected twists which redefine your perception of the depth of the story- Check. Awesome insights into prison life and aspects of the criminal underground- Check. Hard-boiled dialogue- Check. Gonzo pace, rich setting, and a hugely satisfying resolution- Three more checks.
There are moments in the book where it feels like it was being written for eventual film adaptation (i.e. cutesy quips during intense action scenes, or action scenes that occasionally defy physics for the sake of "something really cool happening"), but the pace of the book and the overall quality of the writing make these elements negligible. I can only hope that the eventual film of Blood Father will convey the richness of the prose and the wonderful relationship between Lydia and Link.
I'm not alone in hoping that Craig will soon craft a crime novel of epic proportions. He's clearly proven his ability with character-based road thrillers (and, really, the intense drama of familial relationships). Now I'm looking forward to an American Tabloid or Traffic-type sprawl. If any new crime author is up to it, it's Craig. Meanwhile, Blood Father comes very highly recommended.
I found Blood Father to be a particularly moving story that is a modern day tragedy about a former Hell's Angel who is just putting his life back together after a long stretch in prison and his daughter, a wild child rebel whose addiction to drugs and danger have thrown her into trouble way above her head.
This character-based story is dominated by Link and Lydia Jane, the father and daughter who have to learn and accept each other as they also try to evade an array of pursuers.
Link was a member of the Hell's Angels, a biker who lived life on the absolute edge, often through a haze of drugs and alcohol. There can be no doubt, he was a loser on a one way ride to self-destruction and his imprisonment for manslaughter was not only inevitable but also partly his salvation. The other part came before he went to jail when his girlfriend gave birth to a baby girl. She was born very premature and it seemed unlikely that she would survive her first week. She did and Link named her Lydia Jane. Although Link loved her, he and her mother moved apart and he fell into trouble and a long prison stretch.
Through a series of marriages, Lydia's mother turned herself into a high society woman, part of the rich set leaving her days as a biker's woman well and truly behind her. Lydia however was a rebellious girl who was occasionally abused by her stepfathers and she turned to drugs at a young age. Gradually, she moved in with a smooth talking dealer, unaware just how dangerous he was until she made one mistake too many and had to run.
When Lydia joins Link they head for open country with the initial fear that the police were after them and then later, the cold realisation hits that someone with a grudge against Lydia was also on their trail. But this seems so much more than a simple grudge, her pursuers leaving behind a frightening trail of devastation leading Link to wonder what she had left behind her and how he was going to protect her.
Blood Father is a grim story oozing with hopelessness with both father and daughter in desperate need of support with one either picking up the pieces of his life and the other strung out on drugs. They are a couple who are simultaneously fighting their own demons, learning to love and respect each other while distracted by the terrible danger that seems to be a mere step behind them.
Although the second half of the book steams ahead with the frantic thrill of the chase, the pace is a lot more leisurely at the start with a great deal of groundwork put in place regarding the character backgrounds. I appreciated the background detail finding it gave a greater feeling of depth and understanding for Link and Lydia, not to mention stark insight into the type of people who would be coming after them later.
Peter Craig has done an outstanding job of creating an extreme situation with a strong leaning towards tremendous violence and has made it seem entirely plausible. He has written a powerful story, filled it with flawed heroes and then has made us care about them. It gets into the dirty cracks of society prising out the greedy, the needy and the vicious who thrive on the blooming drug culture. The focus for us is whether two people will be able to escape from that life unscathed.
Well-written and provocative, this is an excellent modern noir thriller with relevant themes that are portrayed all too realistically. Because happy endings are never assured in real life, nothing can be taken for granted her either other than the certainty that this book will move you.