Tag Archives: Blood Guilt

‘Blood Guilt,’ by Ben Cheetham

An interesting read, which I found, in the end, over the top and under the moral line. But definitely exciting and readable.

Ben Cheetham’s Blood Guilt tells the story of Harlan Miller, an English cop (in London, I assume, though I don’t think it’s ever specified) whose promising career ends when his young son dies in an accident. After that, Harlan slides into depression and alcohol, until one terrible night he kills a man in a bar fight.

Four years later, he’s out of prison. His wife would like to start over again, but Harlan just can’t find a way to care. His guilt consumes him.

Then a shocking thing happens. One of the sons of the man he killed is kidnapped. Ben takes hold of the hope that he can somehow redeem himself through using his investigative skills to find and rescue the boy. He has an advantage over the regular police in not being bound by rules of evidence – or limitations on the use of force.

The premise of Blood Guilt is intriguing, and I think it could have been, not only a good thriller, but an interesting moral experiment. However – for me – it didn’t entirely work on either plane. The action seemed to me excessive and improbable (in one instance, we’re treated to yet another hero who checks himself out of the hospital against doctor’s orders and somehow manages to function in violent action). And the moral elements – though they seemed promising – collapsed entirely at the end, in a climax that satisfied me in no way.

Maybe I’m blinkered by my Christian theology, but this story didn’t work for me. Your mileage may vary. It’s definitely a page-turner, though. Cautions for language and violence.