Debut Author Robert Pobi grew up in the art and antiques world before turning to full-time writing. It’s a good thing he did: his first novel, Bloodman, is a chilling and quite unique thriller that will keep your mind turning in horror long after the final page is turned.
The setting on the eastern tip of Long Island—mostly from Southampton to Montauk—provides an atmospheric backdrop for the horror that ensues. The wealthy and usually quiet Montauk area is rocked by a series of horrific murders, the victims found mutilated with the skin ripped from their bodies.
The local Police Department doesn’t know what to make with this kind of evil, so the FBI is called on in the form of the tormented Jake Cole. Jake has a unique gift in being able to ‘read’ crime scenes and create three-dimensional models of the crime scene in his head, allowing him to catch what other investigators might miss.
Jake is familiar with the area since he grew up there. His father is currently hospitalized following an Alzheimer’s-related accident. A famous American painter, Jacob Coleridge has been estranged from his son Jake Cole (who changed his name to not be associated with his family). The trouble is that Jacob’s home and art studio house thousands of odd portraits that all seem to be about the same thing—a faceless killer he refers to as the Bloodman.
Both father and son deal with their own version of ‘art,’ and lately their minds are filled with scenes of darkness. The question remains whether Jake can interpret his father’s madness to be able to find the clues he needs to stop Bloodman from killing again. But kill he does, and with each brutalized body Jake gets more and more wound up. To make matters worse, his wife, Kay, and son, Jeremy, have joined him at a Montauk beach house and may have put themselves directly in harm’s way. It seems Jake has a deep dark family secret that involves his mother being skinned alive by a murderer thirty years earlier—a crime he never forgave his own father for.
Pobi ups the ante by putting a Category 5 storm by the name of Hurricane Dylan in the mix, and Montauk is ready to absorb the brunt of the storm of the century. People evacuate the area while the wind begins to do its damage. Among those left behind are Jake Cole and the local Montauk PD, led by Sheriff Hauser. Can they defy Mother Nature and stop a supernatural-like serial killer? When Jake’s wife and son go missing, he has no choice but to push on at all costs.
At one point in the novel, Jake surmises that “Some families run on love, some run on anger and madness, some run on worse things.” This is a telling prophecy, and Bloodman is a serial killer thriller unlike most in this genre with a clever twist that even the most astute reader will not see coming. Highly recommended for those with a strong stomach who enjoy high-caliber thrill-rides.