The Blood Taster

A fascinating and accomplished mystery novel

On a visit to the village where he was born, a television presenter is plunged into his past. He remembers his parents, his brother - his parent’s favourite with whom he is now permanently at loggerheads - and a fairground showman with piercing eyes and an unusual act: the taste of just one drop of blood was enough for him to tell everything about the person it came from. Since the day this man healed his brother, the storyteller has suspected him of having played a sinister role in their family.

The narrator is asked to look after a little Colombian girl whom the blood Mafia wishes to kidnap in order to use her blood for a rejuvenation cure. She lives in a sterile glass enclosure, as she has not built up any immunity to Western diseases during her life in the high mountains. The storyteller feels pursued and menaced. But by whom? Someone drowns in the old well of his Spanish country house. But who?

Paul Koeck brings these bizarre facts together in a compelling intrigue. This book is more than a thriller about pure blood (which does not exist), primeval purity and contamination. More than all this it is, about the way memory works. Koeck lays bare töe tricks played by the psychological defence system that is an intrinsic part of our memories. We like to remember the things that confirm our reassuring ‘certainties’, but the real truth is often the mirror image of the things we hold so dear.

The story’s structure reflects the process of remembering by leaping backwards and forwards in time. This gives the storyteller (who is also an architect) marvellous opportunities for erecting permanent or temporary constructions and linking them to others until everything fits perfectly. The structure is so convincing yet so subtle that it is tempting to start reading all over again as soon as you finish the last page, just to unravel its secrets. De bloedproever is a fascinating and wonderfully accomplished novel.

Without a doubt the best thing he has ever written. A surprisingly deft composition, exciting and fascinating, a gripping narrative. A deeply-felt novel, written with traditional craftsmanship.

De Morgen


De bloedproever (1999). Fiction, 372 pages.


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