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Blood Father: A Novel [Hardcover]

Peter Craig

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Book Description

March 2 2005
From the highly praised author of Hot Plastic, a gripping, suspenseful novel about a young woman being chased by her violent past, and the flawed father forced to come to the rescue.

It's been three years since Lydia Carson ran away from her privileged home in West Los Angeles. Just 17 years old, she's gotten involved with an older man who supplements his income with shady, mysterious activities. One afternoon Lydia finds herself guarding the back door of a house in Topanga Canyon during a shakedown. As murderous violence erupts, Lydia herself becomes a target. She escapes down a creek and through the hillsides to the shore--alone, destitute, and frightened. Her last option is John Link, her blood father, who has just come off a long prison sentence for violent crimes of his own.

Link jumps at the chance to rescue his daughter, but after several days he realizes that her situation is far more dangerous and complicated than he thought. Link is forced to return to his former wild lifestyle in order to protect his daughter, revisiting dangerous former allies and hideouts. In the process, a father and daughter begin to find each other--and the danger that might consume them.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion (March 2 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401300456
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401300456
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 15.4 x 24 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 522 g

Product Description

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.

From Booklist

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

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tension Charged April 13 2005
By Yvonne M. Still Nichols - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
John Link is an ex Hells Angel, his mission in life is to find his runaway daughter and reconnect, keep his life simple and stay clean. One phone call from that runaway daughter, Lydia, and his life is changed forever. Go on the run with Lydia and Link as Link accomplishes what must be done to keep Lydia alive while she is being chased and hunted by a drug cartels thugs. Throughout this wild drama Lydia is finding out for herself just what kind of mess she has gotten herself into and the realization that Link has always wanted to be there for her and how far he is willing to forsake himself. This book was awesome and in some ways hit close to home to the point it was scary. I look forward to going back in time with Craig's previous titles and to whatever he has planned next.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Craig Just Keeps Getting Better May 11 2005
By Michael - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Lydia Carson, on the run from her boyfriend Jonas' gang, calls her long estranged father for help. Her dad, Link, is an ex-con and ex-Hell's Angel. Lydia doesn't know it, but Link has been trying to find her for years, ever since he went to prison and she disappeared with her mother. Link jumps at the chance to help Lydia, and thus begins a wild adventure across the southern California desert. Link must use all of his wits to keep himself and his daughter alive.

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.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A heartfelt cinematic thriller- Great Read! June 13 2005
By Jeremy Robert Johnson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Peter Craig's Blood Father follows on the heels of his hugely entertaining literary crime thriller Hot Plastic. And while his prior work drifted closer to Thompson's noir territory, this book finds him in an Ellroy sort of mood, reveling in the criminal underground seething through the streets of LA and the baked nowhere deserts of Nevada. You can check out the plot synopsis above, so I won't recap it here, but it is a fairly traditional setup. The difference in Blood Father is the way Craig carefully crafts each character so that they transcend their thriller archetypes and become living, breathing people whose interactions drive the plot as much as the fast-paced machinations of the setup. And Craig's research into the dynamics of prison life, early Hell's Angels crank-trade, and the workings of the AFO and Mexican Mafia are all fascinating.

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.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Moving Thriller, Outstanding July 4 2005
By Untouchable - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Set on the streets of LA among the violent gangs who mete out their own unforgiving brand of vengeance, this is a story of survival, regret, fear and hatred. Blood Father plunges fully into the twisted psyche of a twisted part of today's society, visiting with the seemingly hopeless plight of the drug addicted kids caught up in the LA street gangs. Peter Craig has given us an absorbing story featuring an estranged father / daughter relationship that has been brought back together in a grim fight for survival.

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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something different-- something good Nov. 19 2007
By Carol Ellis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I read this book a while back. I was looking for another book by the same author and I noticed that Blood Father only had 4 reviews. You've got to be kidding! This was a great book! It was very different from what I usually read, but so well done that I want to read another one by the same author. Something different. Something good. Go for it!

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