Publication date: October 31, 2021 Links:  Amazon  |  Goodreads J oey’s a mechanic. One night, she receives a call from her best friend, ask...

Review || Bleedmore, Bodymore by Ian Kirkpatrick

Raven with red bleeding eye on purple background


Publication date: October 31, 2021


Joey’s a mechanic. One night, she receives a call from her best friend, asking for his car to be picked up from the infamous body dumping grounds of Baltimore: Leakin Park. When she arrives, there’s little more around than a stalled-out car and a couple of ravens, so she leaves only with the car. Back at the body shop, it doesn’t take long for the smell of rot to permeate the trunk. Inside? A corpse. The cops say her friend did it. His absence is his guilt, but Joey knows better. She will find her missing friend and she will prove his innocence.

But something isn’t right in Baltimore. It’s not just the feeling that someone is always watching from the city’s abandoned buildings... Her search for her friend reveals something much worse hiding under the city. A ghost town, a reaper, regret. Suddenly, the city’s rage and the stink rising out of the dirt make much more sense. 

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Bleedmore, Bodymore is a YA fantasy horror with a very nice nod to Greek mythology. Our protagonist, Joey, is thrown immediately into the fray, showing up in the slums of Leakin Park after a call requesting a tow. Only there's a body in the trunk of the car of her friend and her friend is nowhere in sight. Who is the person in the trunk? Did her friend kill him? If he didn't, why has he disappeared? Down the rabbit hole goes Joey into a whole different world transposed on the city of Baltimore and Leakin Park.

I was all for the atmosphere of this read. It's dark and gritty showing the shadowed side of Baltimore. There's a dank and mealy vibe coating everything and you can conjure the wet asphalt and garbage smell in the air without even trying. That's where the novel excelled. The pacing worked well enough though there were some slowdowns and breakneck parts. 

Where it lost me was taking a hard right turn beyond the murder and mystery sticking us straight into mythology and the underworld. I was expecting paranormal. That wasn't the problem. Additionally, I love a good mythology/horror combination, but I was honestly confused enough to backtrack thinking I missed something. Once I reoriented myself, I loved the addition—this dark underworld filled with a ghost town, a river of regret to drown in, heart-devouring raven shifters, a reaper, and dead-but-not-dead abusive alcoholic fathers. (Tw - abuse, alcoholism, and suicide)

I didn't care so much for Joey aka Josephine. I wanted to like her and I wanted to care about her plight but it didn't happen. She never quite made it past a one-dimensional character for me. She comes across as being very immature and she makes some extremely stupid decisions for seemingly no other reason than "I'm tough and edgy". If I had to hear about her licking or sucking on her lip piercing ONE MORE TIME, I was going to lose it. As far as the secondary characters went, the most interesting ones were Charon and Val. I wanted to know more about them. This is a continued series though so surely the author will expand on that later.  

There's plenty here that worked well of though. There is loads of action and it moves the story along fairly quickly. Joey is actually pretty witty and some of the dialogue will give you a laugh. There's some great imagery as well and the atmosphere is top notch. I feel like this would be better promoted as urban fantasy versus horror, though it certainly contains horror elements. Hopefully, book two can address some of the weaknesses and give a stronger more cohesive read.