Written by: Dave Robertson
The main character of Bloodline is an ordinary man named Thomas Gage. Thomas works in a Vegas Casino where he is chosen as right hand man to the person in charge, Victor Hill. Thomas is conscientious, he works hard, and he earns a good position in the company. He respects his boss, Victor, even though the man has some quirks. For one, Victor never goes out in the daylight, never touches anyone, and wears gloves at all times. As the two build a solid business relationship, Thomas begins to learn more about his boss. Victor is part of a very old and powerful family. They have a hereditary condition that causes them to avoid sunlight. They have extraordinary physical powers. They are unique beings, though Victor is clear they do not drink blood. They are not vampires.
Thomas tolerates his boss’s odd needs as he seems to be a good, fair man. The problem arises when Victor is sent to another job in Asia and the family replaces him with his nephew Marcus. Marcus has similar needs and abilities, but Marcus is selfish, arrogant, and unpredictable. Marcus’s behavior is erratic and his temper is a problem. He and Thomas are nearly opposites in demeanor and thus the stage is set for the two to clash, which they do. This problem is complicated by the fact that Thomas knows the family secret. A person doesn’t just walk away from the family knowing what Thomas knows. I won’t give out any spoilers, but just say that the story that follows is full of drama, emotion and action.
The premise of Bloodline is pretty solid. The characters are well developed. The setting in the world of a big-time Las Vegas casino is unique. Its problem is too much explanation. During the book, the reader is constantly drawn out of the dialogue and action by explanations of how a casino operates, how gaming licenses are obtained, and other details. Often we are being told what the characters see and feel and then suddenly veer into an explanation of the details. It takes us out of the scene and distances us from the story.
I think it’s obvious that the author either did an amazing amount of research on Las Vegas casinos or, more likely, worked in the industry. His knowledge of the day to day operations and the business operations are impressive, but we are often told things that the characters would not be aware of or details we just don’t need in order to move the story along. Here is one example, which happens in the midst of a conflict between two men: “The man’s big smile showed a mouth full of gold teeth – a “grill” in hip-hop vernacular.” In my opinion, we don’t need to know what the look is called, we don’t need a reference to hip-hop, and we certainly don’t need the word “vernacular”. It’s obvious to the reader that the two men are about to fight, so why take us out of the narrative to over-explain? A famous author once said “An author doesn’t need to explain how the sausage is made, they only need to describe the sausage.” I’ve paraphrased that, but the idea is sound. Tell us what we need to know to understand and move the story, leave out the rest.
Overall, I thought Bloodline was a decent story with good characters. If it was submitted to a professional editor who slashed the word count significantly, it would get a much better rating. As it was,