“The Blood Whisperer is a cracking, compulsive read: once you've read the electrifying first
few pages, you’ll probably develop intense feelings of annoyance towards anyone or anything that takes you away from
it and the wonderful, gutsy, spiky heroine. I loved every word of this brilliant, mind-twisting thriller and even yelped
out loud at one of the genius twists.”
Reviews of THE BLOOD WHISPERER'Fans of ZoŽ Sharp's Charlie Fox series will recognize her deft hand with sharp, unbreakable female characters. Recommend this thriller confidently to fans of Harlan Coben and Lee Child. Sharp deserves the same kind of mass audience . . .'
Christine Tran, Booklist, American Library Association
'As a crime-scene tech, Kelly Jacks' abilities earned her the moniker Blood Whisperer. But when she was found crouched next to a viciously stabbed man with a knife in her hand and no memory of the murder, the nickname took on a new meaning. Tried, convicted, and now freed from prison, Kelly is working as a crime-scene cleaner when she spots clues suggesting that an official suicide is murder. Unable to let the mistake stand, she runs the evidence by police and awakens enemies. Once again, Kelly wakes up next to a body; this time, it's her friend and partner, Tyrone. Barely escaping before police descend on the scene, Kelly goes on the hunt for the killers who put her in prison once and seem determined to do it again.
'Fans of Sharp's Charlie Fox series will recognize her deft hand with sharp, unbreakable female characters. Recommend this thriller confidently to fans of Harlan Coben and Lee Child. Sharp deserves the same kind of mass audience those writers have generated, and it's baffling why she doesn't have it (at least not yet).'
'The story whips along at a brisk pace and Kelly makes a sympathetic heroine: smart, determined and energetic while remaining credible. I hope this is the start of another series from ZoŽ Sharp.'
Janet O'Kane, whose latest crime novel is 'Too Soon A Death'
'Did you know that there's a National Academy of Crime Scene Cleaners? I didn't, until I watched the BBC Scotland TV programme 'CSI Moodiesburn', about an all-female extreme cleaning team based in Glasgow. Very good it was too, and when I went onto Facebook to recommend it, a friend told me I should read The Blood Whisperer, as its main character is a crime-scene cleaner.
'I approached The Blood Whisperer with high hopes, having enjoyed a couple of ZoŽ Sharp's fast-moving thrillers featuring Charlotte 'Charlie' Fox, a self-defence instructor turned bodyguard. And I'm glad to say that I wasn't disappointed. The book opens with Kelly Jacks and a young colleague cleaning up after a woman's body has been found in her bath, an apparent suicide. However, Kelly Jacks thinks the blood she's there to remove actually tells another, more sinister story. She shares her suspicions with her boss, and triggers a series of events that culminate in Kelly going on the run from the police, a local gangster and some Russian thugs.
'As is often the case in crime fiction, the main character in this book has a past which makes her current situation even worse: Kelly used to be a crime scene investigator until falsely imprisoned for a murder she didn't commit. Although this was a terrible experience, it has also left her with knowledge and skills which come in hand when pursuing evidence that could prove her innocence.
'This book is a hybrid, mixing police procedural, psychological crime and action thriller. I found it well written and a refreshing change. The story whips along at a brisk pace and Kelly makes a sympathetic heroine: smart, determined and energetic while remaining credible. I hope this is the start of another series from ZoŽ Sharp.'
'Sharp's stock-in-trade is her ability to write strong, believable female leads who defy stereotyping.'
Linda Wilson, reviewing The Blood Whisperer for Crime Review
'ZoŽ Sharp takes a break from her long-running Charlie Fox series to tackle a standalone crime thriller featuring former crime scene investigator Kelly Jacks, who now works as a specialist cleaner, mopping up the aftermath of the sort of scenes that used to be her job to analyse.
. . .
'Sharp's stock-in-trade is her ability to write strong, believable female leads who defy stereotyping. Kelly Jacks is 40ish, but with her short, spiky hair and nose-stud, could easily pass for younger. She learnt to look after herself in prison and doesn't give her trust easily any more, but she finds herself drawn to Matthew Lytton, even if she has no idea whether he can be trusted or whether he was in any way responsible for his wife's death.
. . .
'The book is told from numerous different points of view, all of which come together like the facets on a diamond, shining light on different characters and their motivations whilst cleverly contriving not to give away too much of the plot. The shifts are clearly signposted, neatly sidestepping any suggestion that there's too much head-hopping going on, and short chapters both keep an element of suspense and move the story on at a decent pace.
'The Blood Whisperer looks very much like a one-shot, but it could equally well have the legs for a series.'
Read Linda Wilson's full in-depth review at: Crime Review
'I love this book for the pulse pounding action, the artfully woven conspiracy, and the fabulous characters. Highly Recommended.'
Steph Broadribb, aka Crime Thriller Girl
'The Blood Whisperer is a standalone book from ZoŽ Sharp, author of the fabulous Charlie Fox series. I'm a huge fan of the series and so was really excited to dive into this book. And I wasn't disappointed.
'Kelly Jacks has the skill and instinct to read a crime scene to rival that of Dexter Morgan (of the series, Dexter) but without any of his serial killer tendencies. Having served her time for a crime that she still has no memory of committing, she's picked up her life and has a job as a specialist crime scene cleaner, cleaning up the crime scenes that she once used to be working. Slowly she's getting her life back.
'But when Kelly and her work partner, Tyrone, are called in to clean a bathroom where a suicide has taken place, Kelly finds evidence to suggest foul play was involved. She questions whether the police should re-look at the scene. They don't. But from then on bad things start to happen.
'I'm not going to share the details [no spoilers here!]. But as things go from bad to worse, once again Kelly ends up in the frame for murder. This time she knows that she's not the killer, and she can prove it. Question is, can she find out who's trying to frame her before more people die?
'Kelly is a dynamic and resilient heroine. She's smart, with a good range of survival skills honed from her time in jail, and she's also empathetic and caring. It bothers her deeply that those she cares about are getting hurt because of the people chasing her. And that makes her even more determined to get justice.
'High on suspense and tightly plotted, the pace moves ever more rapidly as Kelly unravels a tangled web of lies, greed and deception that will take her from the streets of London to the world of horse racing via seedy warehouses, end-high escorts, plush offices and swanky apartments.
'What I especially enjoyed about this novel was the characters. The whole cast is brilliantly drawn, uniquely individual and compulsive-reading in their own right—like Tyrone, Kelly's sweet work partner who's secretly crushing on her, Myshka the Russian dominatrix seeking her own fortune, and Matthew Lytton the self-made businessman whose wife's apparent suicide set off the whole chain of events. Kelly has to decide who she can trust to help her and, more importantly, who she can't. Sometimes help comes from the most unlikely places.
'I love this book for the pulse pounding action, the artfully woven conspiracy, and the fabulous characters. Highly Recommended.'
'. . . another tough, courageous protagonist . . . well-conceived plot twists as the book winds its way to an exciting conclusion.'
Ted Hertel, who gave The Blood Whisperer an [A] Rating
'ZoŽ Sharp is the author of the outstanding Charlie Fox series, one of the best (if not the best) thriller series being published today. In Kelly Jacks, Sharp has created another tough, courageous protagonist, one that is deserving of her own series, as well. This book plunges the reader right into Jacks impossible situation: how do you prove you did not commit a crime you cannot even remember? Then it happens to her a second time, under the same circumstances. This is a gripping premise but Sharp (and Jacks) are up to the challenge.
'This is the kind of thriller that I really enjoy. It's one person with skills and abilities that set her apart from the average person, thrown into a difficult situation from which only she can extricate herself. In this book the world does not need saving. There is no race here to keep a country from succumbing to terrorism. There is just one person who needs to save herself from villains all around her. Sharp is terrific at these kinds of stories and this one is no exception.
'While I didn't feel that Jacks' character and world that she inhabits was as fully fleshed out as it could have been, there is still plenty here to be savored. Sharp keeps the tension level very high as her protagonist gets into one difficult situation after another, almost always having to rely solely on her own wits to save herself. There is no one either she or the reader can trust. In fact trust (and lack thereof) is a theme that runs throughout this novel. Further, there are well-conceived plot twists as the book winds its way to an exciting conclusion.
'Zoe Sharp is a writer who deserves to have a wider audience. In addition to this book, she also has a new Charlie Fox novella out, Absence of Light. If you are like me, you will not be able to put either book down.'
'. . . another strong female lead with an intriguing background . . . increasing suspense and a sense of calamity to come, as the book races to its conclusion—a thoroughly enjoyable novel. As with all Ms. Sharp's earlier books, this one too is recommended.'
Gloria Feit, New York based doyenne of crime fiction reviewers
'Kelly Jacks is the eponymous protagonist in what promises to be a new series by Zoe Sharp. I wondered to myself, 'blood whisperer'? Is that anything like a 'horse whisperer'? Well, yes, it is, actually. Kelly is, as the author puts it, "someone who seemed to be able to coax evidence out of the most unpromising of scenes."
'Now 40 years old, the former CSI now works for McCarron Specialist Cleaning Services, the services in question being performed at crime scenes after they are released by the police. She's gone from being the first on the scene for nearly 10 years as a CSI, to being the last. The crime scene Kelly is working as the book opens is one where a woman's body has been found in her bathtub, an apparent suicide. But Kelly has her doubts. And those doubts open up a world of threats, hurt and violence as others try to stop her from pursuing them.
'After the wonderful Charlie Fox series, including ten novels, a short story collection and a novella, the author has managed to create another strong female lead with an intriguing background: Kelly started her new job upon her release from five years of incarceration after having been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, still proclaiming her innocence.
'Ms. Sharp has produced a complex plot which includes Russian gangsters and the top tiers of English horse-racing, with steadily increasing suspense and a sense of calamity to come as the book races to its conclusion, neither the protagonists nor the reader knowing how it will end, but bracing for the worst: they've already seen the brutality of which their foes are capable and suspect that something far worse is still to come. There is an unexpected twist near the end, and another one I certainly never saw coming after that!
'This is a thoroughly enjoyable novel. I particularly loved the author's descriptions of, among other things, the English weather, e.g., "The rain had petered out into indifference leaving behind dirty grey clouds like a sulk." As with all Ms. Sharp's earlier books, this one too is recommended.'
'. . . depth and incredible suspense to a story that is equally strong in plotting and characterisation. Buckle up for an exciting ride!'
Read the full five-star review in Crime Fiction Lover
'I have read a number of debut thrillers lately where the central character is rushing from one tense situation to the next, but where the action felt too linear, insufficiently complex. This book is a true lesson in style for them and we can relax, knowing we are in the hands of a very experienced storyteller. Although the rapid switches in points of view are slightly irritating in the beginning, by the end of the book you realise they add depth and incredible suspense to a story that is equally strong in plotting and characterisation. Buckle up for an exciting ride!'
CrimeSquad Rating:'Written throughout with dexterity, a searing pace and an artisan's eye for detail, "The Blood Whisperer" is a first class thriller . . .'
Graham Smith's CrimeSquad review
'I'm a relatively recent convert to the world of ZoŽ Sharp Ė best known for her excellent Charlie Fox novels Ė so I was very keen to see what she could do when she stepped away from her series character. Let me tell you, Sharp has matched her previous works and raised the bar with an intelligent thriller which is both thoughtful and action packed. No mean feat.
Ď"The Blood Whisperer" works as a kind of everyman novel although Kelly does have a connection to the police but it is a tenuous one at best. The plotting is first class and while I worked out some of the clues and twists in advance, I only got there a couple of pages before Sharp made her reveal. I suspect this was the author's intention all along. Sharp may be a lady, but she led me throughout the dance between author and reader.
'Kelly Jacks was drawn with a consummate skill which had me rooting for her from page one. Innovative with her thinking, she kept going, determined to exonerate herself and unmask her pursuers. Lytton, O'Neill, Dmitry and Grogan were all well constructed but of the supporting cast it was Myshka who dominated with her empowered presence.
'Written throughout with dexterity, a searing pace and an artisan's eye for detail, "The Blood Whisperer" is a first class thriller which proves ZoŽ Sharp can step away from her comfort zone without losing one iota of her trademark panache. It is little wonder Stuart MacBride describes her as the best kept secret in crime writing.'
Crimesquad voted The Blood Whisperer one of their Christmas Top Ten books for 2013
'Blood Whisperer is an exciting, entertaining, and engrossing story that will keep you guessing from start to finish. The new character, Kelly Jacks, is a terrific leading lady!'
Read Seeley James's full, penetrating review: Thriller of the Week
'ZoŽ Sharp has many fans who follow her ten Charlie Fox novels. I'm one of them. When I saw she'd written a new book with a new and different heroine, I gave it that same skeptical nose-up-glance you're doing right now. Wait a minute, could the new concept be as good as the old one? Or is this New Coke?*
'Blood Whisperer is an exciting, entertaining, and engrossing story that will keep you guessing from start to finish. The new character, Kelly Jacks, is a terrific leading lady!
'Your new heroine has a different skill set from your run-of-the-mill heroines. She's not a killer or a secret agent or a fighter, she's a disgraced crime scene investigator. A science-techie who did some hard time. She's distinct, unique, and fascinating.'
'Kelly is a fantastic new heroine, unbeaten despite the massive odds against her and never giving up.'
J.F. Penn's review at Amazon.co.uk
'Kelly Jacks wakes to the smell of blood and finds she is holding a knife, with no memory of what happened.
'Years later, when Kelly has served time for a crime she believes she is innocent of, she is working as a crime scene cleaner when a suspicious death makes her question the official version of events. But her probing leads to swift retribution and an escalation of violence that soon means she's on the run for another murder she has been framed for. ZoŽ Sharp certainly knows how to keep her characters on the run!
'Kelly is a fantastic new heroine, unbeaten despite the massive odds against her and never giving up. I particularly liked her expert climbing skills and how that is wound into the plot.'
'Fantastic, breathless and gritty thriller. Non-stop action, great characters and twists-and-turns abound. Loved it.'
Poland-based Paul D Brazill's review at Amazon.com
'I'm a big fan of the "man on the run" thriller—The 39 Steps, Rogue Male, North By Northwest et al. ZoŽ Sharp gives the sub-genre a couple of well-aimed kicks with this fantastic, breathless and gritty thriller.
'The Blood Whisperer tells the story of Kelly Jacks, a former CSI and ex-con who is now working as a crime-scene cleaner. When she investigates an apparent suicide, Kelly is quickly forced to go on the run from the police, local gangsters and Russian killers. Non-stop action, great characters and twists-and-turns abound. Loved it.'
'. . . the writing is brilliant, the plot masterful and the characters all well thought out and executed . . .
I highly recommend The Blood Whisperer, it is a brilliant read.'
South African reader, Rosemary's review at Amazon.com
'The Blood Whisperer by ZoŽ Sharp has restored my love for the thriller/mystery genre, and reminded me what it is about the genre that I love so much.
'This is a standalone novel featuring Kelly Jacks. It tells the story of how Kelly ended up on the other side of the spectrum, as a clean-up specialist rather than a crime scene specialist.
'Kelly is a really strong character, and I certainly would not mess with her. She has some serious skills which she picked up when she was serving time in prison for murder, and she is not scared to use them when necessary. She is on a mission—she is determined to clear her name of the latest charges against her, and will not stop until she gets the answers. Things don't always go according to plan though, and she finds herself in some difficult situations.
'It is a great story, with lots of twists and turns I never saw coming, and yet when they burst onto the page I was both amazed and impressed.
'As is usual with ZoŽ Sharp, the writing is brilliant, the plot masterful and the characters all well thought out and executed, which is a huge plus for me—I like to feel a connection to the characters portrayed.
'I am unashamedly a 'people watcher', I like to know what makes people tick, and ZoŽ Sharp nails this perfectly—her characters come alive on the page, from the main character to the random guy in the office, they are all people with a history, they are people you would either like to get to know, or would avoid at all costs.
'It is always such a pleasure to read a book by this author. I highly recommend The Blood Whisperer, it is a brilliant read.'
'. . . Kelly Jacks is a character that I instantly fell in love with . . . an outstanding book.'
'Kelly Jacks is a character that I instantly fell in love with. She is in possibly the worst position possible having served time behind bars for a crime she didn't commit, and not only that but she was a serving police officer at the time. It took me a matter of pages rather than chapters to get into the story and it soon became apparent that Kelly Jacks has to now look out for number one. She is pretty guarded (understandable), and to people who don't know her hard work (again totally get that!). She is currently working for another retired copper as a cleaner of crime scenes. Her working buddy Tyrone I really liked (although Zoe was NOT impressed with what happened there) as well as her boss and former colleague Ray.
'Before long the story starts to unravel as Kelly's casual observation that a crime scene looked wrong starts a chain reaction of death and some serious skulduggery. I found myself racing through the book as Kelly's situation seemed to become more perilous with each nugget of information she uncovered. Before I knew it I was racing towards the end and once again feeling that feeling of disappointment that I had read it far too quickly! I just couldn't help myself and think that ZoŽ Sharp fans will feel the same. I'm almost shocked that this is her first standalone book, although I'm secretly hoping we may see Kelly Jacks again in the future (I can dream).
'This was an outstanding book and one that I think people will love. If I were you, I'd get this either in your shopping basket or downloaded at the next available opportunity; I don't think you will be disappointed.'
Best Crime Books voted The Blood Whisperer one of their Top Ten Books for 2013
'. . . a new heroine who's just as hard and intriguing a character as the inimitable Charlie. I would 100% recommend this book. Excellent read.'
Jane Roe's review at Amazon.co.uk
'This may be unsurprising to those of you who've read The Charlie Fox Series by ZoŽ Sharp, those that haven't, you really should, you're in for a real treat! In this book ZoŽ introduces a whole new cast of characters and a new heroine who's just as hard and intriguing a character as the inimitable Charlie.
'Meet Kelly Jacks. A meteoric fallen star of the Crime Scene Investigative world, Tried, Convicted and Time Served for Manslaughter. Jacks now works crime scene clean-ups. But can she let her old life and its circumstances and injustices alone when her instincts scream at her that something's wrong with a scene she finds herself confronted with? Lol of course she can't! What follows on the streets of London and its surrounding Counties is a rollercoaster ride of murder, intrigue, violence, gangsters, police manipulation and being hunted by the Russians . . . ZoŽ leads you on a merry ride with twists and turns aplenty.
'If you like the crime, mystery genre then you could do no better than to give this a go. It's well worth the reasonable entrance fee and ZoŽ never fails to pack a punch and her characters are so easily brought to life in the mind's eye. I guarantee you won't be disappointed in what ZoŽ calls her first stand alone novel. If this is the first then I hope it's the first of many.
'I would 100% recommend this book. Excellent read. :)'
'The book kept me hooked from the first page . . . a vulnerable heroine . . . manages her situation believably. A splendid read—enjoy!'
Outlaw-in-Exile's review at Amazon.co.uk
'I am a fan of Zoe Sharp's "Charlie Fox" character, so I decided to try this book. I was a little nervous that the main character seemed similar to "Charlie Fox" and it's not always certain that writers of long established series can branch out successfully into standalones.
'The book kept me hooked from the first page. Wrongful imprisonment, Blood droplets, suicide or was it? Intelligent and interesting. Messy plot twists that gave a real life feel and refreshingly human characters. Ms Sharp is talented at writing with a light touch and letting readers fill in the details with assumptions whilst reading—and then challenges those assumptions.
'Kelly Jacks is a vulnerable heroine who doesn't resort to whinging when life gets tough—but equally manages her situation believably. I gave up on the injury count early on but equally this seemed reasonable given the situations that the characters landed themselves in.
'A splendid read—enjoy!'
'ZoŽ does it again. The characters are as well drawn as ever . . . a perfect way to spend an afternoon.'
BadFrog's review at Amazon.co.uk
'Like the other reviewers, I had concerns about this book after following Charlie Fox for so long.
'I'll admit it—I was totally wrong. I finished the book in two goes and my only regret is that we are unlikely to come across Kelly again. The characters are as well drawn as ever, complete with faults and failings and things being as untidy as in real life. Add in a twist that I didn't see coming and it was the perfect way to spend an afternoon.
'Bring on Carnifex!!!'
'An avid Charlie fox fan, this has brought out a new and exciting heroine. I loved it and am waiting for more! Hurry up Zoe!'
Charlotte Russell's review at Amazon.co.uk
'Breathless murder mystery'
'Loved it! The Blood Whisperer is a brilliant, complex story delivered at ever-increasing pace.
'With a prison term for a murder she didn't commit not long behind her and a talent for reconstructing crime scenes that she can't switch off, Kelly Jacks's guarded personality is wonderfully brought to life by ZoŽ Sharp. When it seems that her worst nightmares are repeating themselves, who can she trust? The police who put her in jail? The husband who didn't love his murdered wife? Anybody?
'The twists and turns will keep you on the edge of your seat right to the end.'
Mark Henwick's review at Amazon.co.uk
'Excellent book from ZoŽ Sharp'
'This book had more twists and turns than a road, you have an idea of what is happening then it all changes again, maybe this won't be a stand alone, I think that this main character could be made into a series . . . maybe in your spare time ZoŽ . . . Great read, will recommend.'
tm peagram's review at Amazon.com
'I love the Charlie Fox series, but I also love the character of Kelly Jacks. All of Ms Sharp's books are a must read! They are superbly written always with a surprising twist at the end. I highly recommend any of ZoŽ Sharp`s books.'
moboston's review at Amazon.com
'A gripping read with believable characters'
'I've read everything from this author that I can find. Blood Whisperer is an excellent read. My advice—don't start until you have time to read it through. This is a real page turner that you won't want to put down.'
Coffeeman's review at Amazon.com
'Keeps you guessing and very hard to put down'
'ZoŽ is the master of writing strong, capable and street wise women and Kelly Jacks is no exception. Thoroughly enjoyed meeting her and following her on this journey. First murder mystery style book I have not been able to guess whodunnit by the end.'
Sherilee Nickels's review at Amazon.com
'Read this quick and be first to discover another new female heroine'
'I have followed ZoŽ Sharp's other female heroine "Charlie Fox" and have been waiting for the next in that series, when I found this on Amazon. This is going to be another awesome character to follow, twists and turns throughout the book, had me guessing and (I didn't click to the twist early on in the book, which can be disappointing!). Cant wait for the next book. If you enjoy the Charlie Fox character and ZoŽ's style of writing you will be sure to enjoy this. This author is recommended by Lee Child, and in fact is how I first found out about her. Amazon have all the Charlie Fox books available!'
luvsbooks' review at Amazon.com