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Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner Read the opening extract of the brand new Susie Steiner book before its publication on 05/04/2018

Reader Reviewed
A Line of Blood by Ben McPherson

A Line of Blood

Thriller / Suspense   Crime / Mystery   
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Starting as a murder mystery with a certain amount of police procedure running through it, this turns into a deeply traumatic, psychological thriller. The discovery by the narrator and his 11-year old son, Max, of the next door neighbour electrocuted in his bath kicks off the tale. It highlights the huge responsibility of parenthood. That the boy has witnessed such horror disturbs his father more than the boy! But then kids today are used to the blood and gore of their computer games. Max has therapy, the school is informed, he is cared for and watched but the event tears the family apart for different reasons. Past violence and back story come into play. I am afraid you may guess the end by about page 61 but getting there is thrilling. ~ Sarah Broadhurst

If you like Ben McPherson you might also like to read books by S. J. Watson, Herman Koch and Lionel Shriver.

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Lovereading Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.  You can read their full reviews by clicking here.

  • Phylippa Smithson - 'Now this is one credible, engaging and disturbing story of family love.  Murder or suicide?  If murder, who did it?  And it takes to the very final pages for it all to be answered. Clever stuff.'
  • Daran Bellingham - 'A fantastic novel that would easily transfer to TV. A psychological thriller that shows how sometimes the ties that bind us run deep and how lies that are told on the way can sometimes destroy what we hold dear.'
  • Caroline Mathews - 'An accomplished debut novel from Ben McPherson, this psychological thriller had me turning pages until way later than I should have been.'
  • Anne Cater - 'A Line of Blood is a complex, subtle and captivating psychological thriller, with characters who are flawed, dangerous and at times incredibly vulnerable.'
  • Ray Orgill - 'There are not many characters in the story but the ones that are, could be classed as essential.  An excellent mystery with a very surprising ending.'
  • Genevieve McAllister - 'A Line of Blood manages to be both a thriller and a compelling study into the darker side of what holds a family together.'
  • Dana Captainino - 'That the majority of characters are unlikable does not detract from the novel itself and the reader is subsumed in the plot until the ultimate truth is revealed.'
  • Suzanne Marsh - 'The originality for a chilling psychological thriller story is most certainly here. I have never read anything quite like this before.'
  • Liz Lyons - 'A brilliant and thought provoking debut novel...This book grips the reader from the very first page.'
  • Emma Smith - 'Ben has done a great job of exploring family relationships when put under strain...Ben McPherson did well to make flawed characters without them being irritating.'
  • Liz Stein - 'I quite enjoyed this book but found myself getting irritated with it, because the dialogue was repetitive and the story occasionally confused and erratic.'
  • Gavin Dimmock - 'An intense, psychological thriller; a gripping and absorbing debut from an exciting new British author...I found this to be a well written and thoroughly engaging tale.'
  • Nicola Kingswell - 'The writing style seemed to change half way through the book, and for the better. Overall, I enjoyed the story.'
  • Elaine Robertson - 'A Line of Blood would be an excellent choice for a book group as it throws up many discussion points and ways of thinking about the characters and their actions.'
  • Teresa O'Halloran - 'An impressive debut. A dark disturbing tale of an unexplained death and the dysfunctional family who live next door.'

Win Books from the Manon Bradshaw Thriller Series!

Persons Unknown, the second book in Susie Steiner's crime thriller series, is now out in paperback and to mark the publication we are giving away paperback copies of both Missing, Presumed and Persons Unknown to THREE lucky winners!

To have a chance of winning one of these fantastic prizes, click the button below. Please note that this draw is open only for UK residents and is free to enter, multiple entries from the same email address will only be counted once.

The draw closes on 30 April 2018. The winners will be notified by 14 May 2018,

Good luck!

Enter prize draw Draw closes: 30/04/2018


A Line of Blood by Ben McPherson

A chilling psychological thriller about family - the ties that bind us, and the lies that destroy us. Perfect for fans of Gone Girl. You find your neighbour dead in his bath. Your son is with you. He sees everything. You discover your wife has been in the man's house. It seems she knew him. Now the police need to speak to you. One night turns Alex Mercer's life upside down. He loves his family and he wants to protect them, but there is too much he doesn't know. He doesn't know how the cracks in his and Millicent's marriage have affected their son, Max. Or how Millicent's bracelet came to be under the neighbour's bed. He doesn't know how to be a father to Max when his own world is shattering into pieces. Then the murder investigation begins...


'Ben McPherson drew me into the life of an ordinary family and gave me a ringside seat to watch the fracturing of those relationships beneath the weight of a murder investigation. Gripping from the get-go, A LINE OF BLOOD will have readers wondering what they might be capable of in the face of the terrible isolation of self within a family running off the rails'
Tami Hoag

'#1 New York Times bestselling author of COLD COLD HEART 'It is both an extraordinary novel and thriller, and brilliantly written'
Claire Kendal

'McPherson displays a rare skill for creating characters with depth in a world that is splintering around them'
Daily Mail

'Ben McPherson has a very distinctive voice, and A LINE OF BLOOD is cleverly put together'
Val McDermid

About the Author

Ben McPherson

Ben McPherson is a television producer, director, and writer. He studied Modern Languages at King's College, Cambridge, and worked for many years in film and television production. From 1998 to 2007 he was a director and producer for the BBC. In 1998 Ben met the woman he would go on to marry at the Coach and Horses in Soho. Similarities to the characters in his novel, A Line of Blood, end there. Ben speaks fluent Norwegian and lives in Oslo with his wife and son. In 2012 he covered the Breivik trial for He is now a columnist for Aftenposten, Norway's leading quality daily newspaper.

Author photo © Thomas Bjørnflaten

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Book Info

Publication date

13th August 2015


Ben McPherson

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Harper an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers


432 pages


Thriller / Suspense
Crime / Mystery

Thriller / suspense



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