Dark Blood is a taut psychological thriller. With paranormal overtones juxtaposed against a coming out, friends to lovers trope, it is intelligently written with just enough moments of sarcastic humor thrown in to alleviate what otherwise would have been a graphically horrific tale of evil. Author Caleb James creates a chilling pair of villains whose warped sense of power and god-like tendencies may well be the ultimate demise of quiet, sensitive medical student, Miles Fox.
From a young age Miles knew he was different, but he also knew the gift he seemed to have inside him that made his fingers dance and his body electric was to be kept secret—hidden away lest he and his gift draw the wrong kind of attention. Under the watchful eye of his grandmother, Miles is made to fear his gift and keep far away from ever using it until a particularly wrenching terminal case he is dealing with on rounds causes him to throw caution to the wind and let it loose. However Miles cannot control his healing abilities and is discovered while under the grip of its power, causing him to behave violently and end up in the psych ward awaiting evaluation. It’s then that fate steps in and deals the final blow.
The doctor to determine Miles’ fate is none other than the offspring of the same physicians who had killed his great grandfather while in Nazi prison camp, along with several others, while pursuing the mystical power they seemed to hold within their very blood—the same power Miles has. Facing incarceration in the good doctors’ private sanitarium, Miles escapes with the help of his best friend, Luke, who puts his own medical career at jeopardy. Now, with time running out and the good doctor’s evil web closing in, Miles and Luke realize that there is more to their friendship than either had wanted to own up to, but it may be too late for either of them to declare the love they have both kept hidden for the other.
When I said previously that this novel was a thriller, I fear the words didn’t quite do it justice. This one was a nail-biter from beginning to end. There are some fairly graphic scenes of torture via modern medicine in this one, yet each time those arose they served only to push home the fact that Dr. Stangl and son were evil personified. To say that the elements of medical experimentation were done effectively is to minimize the depth to which this author planned out each scene—giving us enough jargon to make it feel authentic as possible and obvious that he knows whereof he speaks. Top that with the suspenseful manner in which Miles is pursued and, even once captured, kept hanging literally on the edge of life and death and you have an exciting story that held me in its grip the entire way through.
However it was the skill with which James wove the romance element into this nerve-jangling plot that really stood out. Luke and Miles were the best of friends and while Miles had hid his feelings for Luke over the years, his love for his friend was almost palpable. What became a pivotal coming out moment for Luke was necessarily brief and yet remarkably realistic—down to the shocking revelation from his own father that came right out of left field and just made for the best plot twist ever. I so desperately want a sequel for these two men—and both the full title marking this as book one and the clever ending which left the door wide open for book two makes me so excited for just that possibility. I want to see what develops between Luke and Miles, as well as one other integral character whose fate appears to be up for grabs by novel’s end.
All in all, this Throwback Thursday choice was a superior one for me so if you happen to have Caleb James’ novel, Dark Blood, sitting on your TBR list, I urge you to move it to the top immediately. If you haven’t yet read this author and enjoy a touch of the paranormal mixed with a bang on thriller, then this novel is the one for you! Either way, I can highly recommend this incredible story to you and voice my strong support/desire for book two.
A review copy of this book was provided by DSP Publications.