Part of Barrington Stoke’s ‘Dyslexia Friendly’ series of books for teenagers, Bloodline tells the story of Finbarr, who is enduring a normal Saturday with his father, his granddad and ‘Grag’, his great-grandfather. As they eat chips and watch TV in silence, a girl bursts into the house. She has stolen cash and decides to hold them hostages as she tries to fend off the police who have tracked her down. There follows a battle of wits between the girl and her hostages.
The reader is on the side of Finbarr, who by his own account is very average looking and not at all like the stud depicted on the front cover. The cover is sexy, but the story is not. It is a gritty look at a group of people in an unusual situation who seem to draw on their negative characteristics in order to take all they can from it. Finbarr seems the only hope, but the twist in the end shows him to be just like the rest of his family – money grabbing, shallow and disloyal. This is where the title comes in: how could he have ended up any different since these are the men who have influenced him?
The unlikeable characters aside, the story is paced like a thriller and there isn’t one false note in the dialogue or the voice of the narrator.