Blood Standard by Laird Barron

Blood Standard

Laird Barron

A former mob enforcer, Isaiah Coleridge now lives a quiet life. However, when a teenage girl disappears, he delves back into the underworld to find her.

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Award-winning author Laird Barron makes his crime fiction debut with a novel set in the underbelly of upstate New York that's as hardboiled and punchy as a swift right hook to the jaw--a classic noir for fans of James Ellroy and John D. Macdonald.

Isaiah Coleridge is a mob enforcer in Alaska--he's tough, seen a lot, and dished out more. But when he forcibly ends the moneymaking scheme of a made man, he gets in the kind of trouble that can lead to a bullet behind the ear. Saved by the grace of his boss and exiled to upstate New York, Isaiah begins a new life, a quiet life without gunshots or explosions. Except a teenage girl disappears, and Isaiah isn't one to let that slip by. And delving into the underworld to track this missing girl will get him exactly the kind of notice he was warned to avoid.

Advance Galley Reviews

The tale moves you forward through the roads of Isaiah, he has had it tough, wants out of mob and any other organizations, but finds himself amongst bad men again in search of a girl that nobody would pay too much attention to search for. He feels indebted to family of a farm that gave him some shelter and solace, wants to do a good turn for a change. Writing with some solid potency and reflections on a terrible world that needs terrible counteractions, with someone prepared and able to take care of himself. One brave scene evoked in this tale where a man just has to to save a poor puppy from cowardly men will plant some empathy for our main protagonist, half-Maori Isaiah Coleridge, “Military brat to teen menace. Gangs, fight clubs, eventually the Outfit. Your path went downhill on a bobsled with no brakes.” But he has a chance to put things right. Call it atonement, payback, or paying forward whilst trying to go legit or something close to it. Isaiah is the real deal, man with heart and kicks ass, menacing going berserk on any deserveth, he is setting a standard the blood standard and the rest best keep up once he finds his ground as fixer/detective. In his words, “Blood had spilled. As ever, blood was the currency of my existence. Blood was the standard. It would always be this way. Men with guns, men with knives, men with evil intentions. My world, my tribe. My calling.” And there will be another chapter in his life, with a forthcoming work out May 2019, can’t wait to read it, and I leave you with words as a new world opens up, “There’d be a vetting process until I got a feel for the trade. A calibration of lethal force versus delicacy and discretion. Fixing wasn’t quite as straightforward as my previous existence as a hitter. Every day presented a new problem, an unforeseen complication. Definitely the kind of work that merited hazard pay. The only detail that mattered? I didn’t have to do anything or kill anyone that I didn’t really want to. Famous last words.”

Laird Barron’s Blood Standard is about a toughened, seen-it-all mafia hit man with a soft heart for animals and troubled young people. Isaiah Coleridge is a multi-layered protagonist, and his story is told in an interesting way. I enjoyed reading this crime novel from Penguin First to Read’s program, but I didn’t care enough about Isaiah to want to read future books featuring him, should this be the first of a series.

Blood Standard is a story with an interesting sounding plot. It's a four star read overall. It definitely had some aspects I didn't like as much as others. Overall, it's decently written and decently plotted.

Isaiah Coleridge was a hitman for the mafia due to his soft spot for innocence, aka animals, children and the elderly he hurts a mafia boss that is killing a walrus group. This leads to some animosity and banishment from Alaska to a ranch. A mystery with many crossing stories with a wide range of characters crossing paths you are constantly being moved forward and entertained. I really enjoyed this book! It was witty and snarky and had enough blood guts and drama to keep you moving right through it. I enjoyed the way the story was told too. You would get a detail that piqued your interest and then it felt like a movie was playing in my head as the details came out. I would highly recommend this to anyone that likes mafia stories, mysteries, quick reads.

"I was Oppenheimer's dread in microcosm, a miniature atom bomb. A destroyer of small things. Not worlds, nothing so grand, but individual bodies, individual lives. In little more than a week I'd crossed purposes with mercenaries, gangsters, white supremacists, hillbilly moonshiners, gangbangers, and Feds. Blood has spilled. As ever, blood was the currency of my existence. Blood was the standard." Isaiah Coleridge is a hitman for the mafia with a soft spot for *animals, children and the elderly*. When he witnesses a mafia boss kill a walrus his natural instinct is to react with force. Instead of being killed he is exiled to rural New York. Shortly after his arrival his caretakers' granddaughter disappears pulling him back into the underworld he just narrowly escaped. Blood standard is a hard boiled mystery with many different characters crossing paths. At times I found it difficult to keep track. Yet it managed to be a slow burn. This was my first time reading Laird Barron and if for no other reason than the half Maori, champion of the innocents*(see above), mountain of a man that is Isaiah Coleridge (envision Jason Momoa), I will be reading him again.

Middle of the road for me. Great potential, but couldn't get myself pumped. The story wasn't easy to get into, but decent characters.

Isaiah Coleridge, the son of a white army officer and a Maori woman, a mountain of a man, works for the Outfit in Alaska. When he attacks his boss over an illegal walrus slaughter, he gets exiled to a farm in the New York Catskills. As he recovers from his severe beating he is put to work by the owners, Virgil and Jade Walker and makes friends with Lionel, a paranoid war vet with issues of his own. When, Reba, the Walker's granddaughter, goes missing and the police show little interest, Isaiah takes it upon himself to find her. In his quest, he goes up against mercenaries, gangsters, white supremacists, hillbilly moonshiners, gangbangers, cops and the Feds. All the while working within his own code of ethics. A quick and exciting read. I enjoyed this take on gangsters, with an anti-hero that you want to succeed. Thank you First-to-Read for this free e-copy of "Blood Standard".

This novel was written from a different perspective than most. I appreciated Isaiah's wit and underlying humor. It took me a bit to get into the book, but I am glad I stuck with it. I am not sure I would call this a crime thriller though. More like a trip through the more corrupt portions of our nation. Thanks First to Read for my advance copy!

DNF @ page 101. I could not get into this book at all. Isaiah's character fell flat, and I didn't feel any of the tension that I'd been expecting this story to have. The stakes didn't feel high to me, and I didn't care about the girl's disappearance or Isaiah's decision to get involved with it. The writing style didn't work for me, and the Maori representation also felt rather iffy to me. By page 100, I didn't feel compelled to finish it. Not a good read for me.

I really tried to like this, because it has potential. However, there was too much going on to keep up with. It started distracting me from the story and I had to keep re-reading sections. I surrendered about halfway through. I think it’s definitely a good story, the writing style just wasn’t for me.

This book is told from a very different perspective from most of the books I read. I can appreciate that it is different from other missing girl thrillers because the character of Isaiah is so unique. I did not finish this book. I tried really hard, but it never captured me. I read half of the book before surrendering. There is a lot to keep track of. I think this book is fine, but it wasn't my thing.

I have no idea how I have missed reading a Lavie Tidhar work until now. Having now read this one, I'm sure it won't be my last. Perhaps I'm meant to start with his noir fiction. Blood Standard is not long yet is somewhat of a slow read--a gradual build-up with subtle nuances, even the action sequences are sometimes restrained or understated. This is simply an observation, not a criticism. In many ways, the slowness, restraint, and subtlety are this book's strengths. Isaiah Coleridge is a giant of a man, in size, in attitude, and in guts. In his own words: "I'm made for the abuse. Darker it gets, the better." Half-Maori, he is a mob enforcer until his temper lands him in trouble with a man higher up on the totem pole. Coleridge may seem a simple man at first then he starts revealing many layers. He is a thug and a philosopher, comfortable with violence yet possessed with glaring tenderness, a man with no regrets yet one with many goals still to be accomplished. His relationships are also fraught with complications, making you more engaged with his story. He is flawed, perhaps irreversibly, yet he is extremely interesting. He is a man with a high threshold for pain, physical, mental, and emotional, and capable of dishing much pain himself. He lives life according to his unique personal code, a code that allows him to harm as much as save, offend as much as defend. Tidhar's writing style is one I very much admire--an economical prose subtly peppered with cleverness and insightful. He is Shakespearean in that he is aware of the fine line separating tragedy and comedy, or understands that tragedy and comedy are not separated after all, simply kissing cousins. The humor is as subtle and finessed as the main character is brusque. You find yourself reading a line and quietly chuckling, then a few paragraphs or even pages later, you are reminded of the line again and acquire even greater appreciation for its depth and meaning. Sometimes, you silently regret your lack of real life encounters with gangsters simply because you desperately want the opportunity to use a line from the book to demonstrate your purloined cleverness. BLOOD STANDARD has well-developed characters, a writing style that is easy to read even while it masks a great amount of depth, mysteries within mysteries. Noir fiction at its finessed finest.

Blood Standard is the first book I’ve read by Laird Barron so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Isaiah Coleridge is a “retired” mob enforcer who has basically been put out to pasture. He has been put into exile and is doing chores on a farm for an old couple. In their own way, they welcome and accept him, and when their granddaughter goes missing Isaiah intends to find her. In the beginning it took a little work to stick with the story, but I’m glad I did as it got better as it went along. While this may not be one of my favorite books, I think Isaiah is a really interesting character and, now that the introduction book for the character is done, I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.

This was okay but I don't know that I will continue the series. It was just too much. You have the mob, the ex-Intelligence Officer father, the mercenaries, the good samaritan farmers, the local Native-American gang bangers, the corrupt local police, and the meddling FBI. I normally like this types of stories but this one was just too much and needed some editing.

Having never read a Laird Barron novel, I wasn't sure what to expect (but it sounds as this book is a stand alone in his work and takes a different turn from his normal genre), BUT.. this story was just a wonderful surprise. I don't read very much in the old school, 'hard boiled' original gangster style of stories. I loved finding that this was of that style, but modern. Yes, the book is violent and disturbing. Yes, It's also quite funny. Isaiah Coleridge is hard hitting and fits into his mobbed up lifestyle easily and yet he has a good heart and throws out witticisms no matter what kind of insanity he's currently up to. The writing is well done, even the minor characters are interesting additions and the pace moves briskly. Loved it

I hate reviews with spoilers so you won't read any here. All you'll get is my humble opinion about the quality of this novel. Loved it! I'm new to this author and was impressed. Mr. Barron introduced me to my new man crush, Isiah Coleridge. Isiah is half Maori and a modern-day warrior utilizing his skills as a mob enforcer. He’s a killer with a soft spot for animals, especially dogs, and wayward women. I was captivated from start to finish. Plenty of action and enough mystery to keep me enthralled. I hope to see more books featuring Mr. Coleridge. I was chosen to read an advance copy of this book as part of Penguin’s First to Read program. However, the opinions expressed in this review are 100% mine and mine alone.

I wasn’t sure if I would finish this one, and it took me a couple of weeks to do it, but I am glad I did. Isaiah is a great character - a bad guy but you can’t help but like him. He has a soft spot for the innocents, which leads him into trouble. The supporting characters could have been developed more, I had trouble keeping them straight. Overall a good read and I am hoping there are more to come with Isaiah.

Noir fiction isn't a genre that I usually read so I went into this book not really sure what to expect. Truth be told, I almost fled the scene after reading a quite disturbing animal cruelty sequence that essentially sets the stage for the story. Luckily, I persevered and read on and I'm quite glad I did. Isaiah Coleridge is a hitter. While doing his thing in Alaska, he stumbles into trouble and is sent packing to New York. There, he takes up residence at a farm with a family who is willing to let him work away his past. When Reba, a teenage girl, disappears, Isaiah knows he will do whatever it takes to find her. The path he has to follow is a scary one though, filled with gangsters, dirty cops, and numerous unscrupulous others. Overall, I really liked this book. The characterization of the main character is fascinating. He is flawed, incredibly violent, sometimes misguided, and yet possibly has a heart of gold. Not your typical hitter at all. The story itself is a page turner. The reader never knows what to expect next. While there are some rather violent scenes and two particularly brutal animal cruelty incidents (which were difficult for me to read), the story itself was really good. I'm glad I had the opportunity to read it and look forward to more from Laird Barron in the future!

This was a great read. The main character is a former hit man with a heart of gold. And a soft spot for dogs. Isaiah Coleridge is an interesting character. He's an effective fighter when he's in pain, so the more Isaiah has been hurt the more dangerous he becomes. In Blood Standard Isaiah has plenty of opportunities to feel physical pain as he gets on the wrong side of mob bosses, skin heads, and law enforcement. Blood Standard is brutal and full of heart. I didn't want it to end.

If you’re looking for the next great horror story don’t bother reading this. But, if you’re looking for a great crime thriller then this one’s for you. Laird Barron has switched it up a bit with his latest novel. Reading like a pulp fiction paperback Blood Standard (An Isaiah Coleridge Novel) features an anti-hero hitman turned inadvertently good guy. Isaiah Coleridge of Maori/Caucasian descent has done his fair share of killing while working for the mob but when he witnesses big shot mafioso, Vitale shooting walruses for the hell of it in Alaska something in him snaps. Isaiah crosses the line and lashes out at Vitale sending him to the hospital. Now a marked man Isaiah finds himself holed up on a horse farm outside of New York City. Here the story gathers momentum. Ruby, the granddaughter of the couple that runs the farm has gone missing. Not one to sit by Isaiah makes it his mission to find the girl while still trying to maintain a low profile. Mixed up with some petty drug dealing, Ruby’s disappearance may have some involvement with one of the rival gangs that reside in town. Isaiah finds himself peeling back the layers of the local underground while staying one step ahead of his own pursuers. This is a fast-paced, tightly knit read. Barron has a way with words that brings his story alive. There is so much subterfuge and side stories going on that you are kept at the edge of your seat. You think you finally have things figured out and then BAM, nope, gotta keep on reading! So, if you’re in the mood for a hard-hitting thriller with plenty of blood and gore thrown in this is the next read for you! You can also find my review here...

A real good, fast read....a very strong, flawed hero character....assisted by some other strong, flawed hero characters! Lots of strength, muscle, violence, testosterone-type action! Some real good guys & some real bad guys....all mixing it up! I liked the use of the language/lingo of the mob/military..... Short, quick chapters make for a fast read...I might've done this in 1 day! No 'rest for the wicked' in this adventure! I don't mean to make this sound all 'dark & violent' tho... it gave a nice nod to pets, libraries, & a good country day too! This is the 1st I'd read from this author, but will definitely be reading the next in this series. I received this e-ARC from Penguin's First-To-Read Giveaway program, free & in return for my own unbiased fair/honest review.

This was a fantastic read for me. I enjoyed it beginning to end. My only complaint would be some of the secondary characters were not as memorable as they could have been but I enjoyed every moment. I really hope there's a sequel

Thanks for a copy to read and review. Isaiah is one impressive character and I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Eye catching cover and the book does follow the blurb. This is a first by this author and the blurb caught my eye so I decided to give this book a try even though it's not my normal genre read. I must say though that the book was impressive, even though I got lost a couple of times with the military jargon that I'm not familiar with. All you need to know is that this is one tough dude. He acts like a sadist since every time he gets tortured he actually is able to get through the pain, like a mind over matter type deal. He also has like nine lives since a lot of the scenes have him getting so close to death only to watch the reaper slide by him. One lucky guy. After an incident in Alaska he has to lay low and chooses to do so at a farm in upstate NY. While there a girl goes missing, and he investigates it. Caught in a war between two gangs, he takes on everyone to learn the fate of the missing girl. It's an amazing ride, I hope there will be more books with Isaiah. Five stars of entertainment! Loved it!

I started this book and wasn’t sure if I would finish it. Glad I stuck with it. Isaiah is such an interesting character. In fact, he reminds me of Lee Child’s Reacher but he isn’t a loner. The violence in this book isn’t too bad. I did confuse secondary characters at times. There were a lot of them. Liked the story line and I’m looking forward to more stories with these characters.


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