Review: Blood Count by Robert Goddard
Bantam Press, €16.99, Hardback
Widower Edward Hammond is a respected surgeon looking forward to a skiing holiday in Austria. In the departure lounge at Heathrow, a young woman engages him in a conversation that utterly changes his life.
Thirteen years previously, the woman reminds him, he took a substantial fee to perform an off-the-books liver transplant on Serbian warlord Dragan Gazi, her father. It saved his life, but his survival resulted in his troops slaughtering thousands in the Balkan civil wars.
Her father is standing trial in The Hague on ethnic cleansing charges, and if Hammond does not help her track down the accountant who holds the key to the multi-million fortune the Serbian warlord squirreled away, she will tell the court that Hammond demanded his wife's death as part of his compensation for the operation.
Shocked by the claim, Hammond reluctantly agrees to find the accountant. But Marco Piravani doesn't want to be found, and Hammond is catapulted into a race against time that sees him criss-crossing Europe in the company of Gazi's former mistress, hotly pursued by a horde of killers who want Gazi's money for themselves.
As always, Goddard delivers a thoughtful and fast-moving tale with well-drawn characters.