Shocking, exhilarating, depraved, uplifting… Blood on Their Hands is an epic journey into the heart and soul of man; a rollercoaster ride from the jungles of Southeast Asia to a Los Angeles courtroom; a gripping story of choice and consequence, vengeance and justice, good versus evil.
But in Blood on Their Hands, even the good is flawed.
The story opens with the seemingly unrelated accounts of four men all going about their lives in different parts of the United States. They’re all American fifty-somethings; but there’s nothing “average” about any of them. They’re men with a past, a dark past, and thirty-two years earlier during the dying days of the Vietnam War, they’d been Bleeding Dog Company, a four-man super-elite Special Operations unit from the shadowy world of “black ops”. Two of the four despise one another. It undermines morale and on their last mission together, the Bleeding Dogs cross a line, and a stunningly beautiful young girl is brutally raped.
Though some are more guilty than others, all four have blood on their hands.
In the years that follow, each handles his guilt his own way, all convinced it’s behind them. But it’s not over; in fact, it’s only just beginning.
Nearly three decades later, their victim, now an American citizen, summons the courage to return to Laos where she tells her husband the full horror of what happened to her as a virginal fifteen year-old. Though he hides it well, he is consumed by a desire for vengeance, and eventually persuades his wife to tell her story to a national magazine.
The revelations kick-start a nationwide manhunt and, as the net tightens and the case against them gains irresistible momentum, the Bleeding Dogs meet up for the first time in thirty-two years, all sure in the knowledge they’re heading for the highest profile trial in U.S. legal history.
While the trial is televised live to a spellbound, watching world, three decades has nothing to diminish the mutual loathing two of the men feel for one another. In fact, it’s just like before, just like it was in South-east Asia, but with one key difference… this time it’s going to be settled once and for all, and a billion people are going to watch it happen, live on primetime TV.
Reviews, Comments & Endorsements
Potential readers always find it useful to see what those who have already read the book have to say about it. Here is a small selection of what our readers have had to say about Blood on Their Hands. We’d love to have your feedback too, so when you’ve read the book, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Stephen Akinsanya: Blood on Their Hands is a riveting legal thriller, and I speak as a practicing barrister specialising in the criminal law. This is a book that captivates you from first page to last, the author intelligently setting out the storyline early on, whilst at the same time cleverly establishing the characters in a way that has the reader identifying with each in turn. An easy and compelling read with thrilling highly believable courtroom drama, Blood on Their Hands looks made for the big screen! I especially enjoyed how it stirs the emotions and highlights the question of conscience that every human being must face during the course of their life. A must-have, must-read masterpiece that I couldn’t recommend more highly if I tried!!
Martin Nash: As an ex-military serviceman myself, I really enjoyed the way the author captures the mentality of the fighting man, troops who have different values and differing reasons for what they do. Blood on Their Hands conveys the archetypal personalities one finds in the ranks and expands tremendously as the characters are placed into a realism that can only have come from either first-hand experience or thorough intensive and painstaking research. Would I recommend it? Certainly! 100%!!
Leeann Pomeroy-Jones (Australia): Though Blood on Their Hands is very different from my usual read, it is without doubt, one of the best books I’ve ever read!! The storyline is very engaging, emotional, and super-intense and I especially enjoyed the way the author sets the story into its timeline. It’s a hard-hitting, gritty read that feels as if it reaches out the page and grabs you by the throat! I heartily recommend it and hope to see it published in Australia.
Margaret Griffiths: “Dear Phil…..I just thought I’d drop you a line to say how much I enjoyed reading Blood on Their Hands. It’s been a long time since I read a book I couldn’t put down. It was absolutely enthralling and all the way through, found myself hungrily turning the pages to find out what happened next. As a lawyer myself, now lecturing as a Professor of Law, I thought the author’s depiction of the build up to trial and then the courtroom dram itself, was not just tremendously gripping, it was simply electrifying! And what about the twist. Who saw that coming!!? More than just a great read; more like a quality life adventure!!
Dean Jones: Blood on their Hands is FANTASTIC!! I couldn’t put it down and read it in a day, the first 290 pages in one sitting without even a toilet break! As an avid reader, I’ve read many autobiographies, thrillers, war books etc. but I can honestly say nothing captured me the way this amazing epic did! But with all good things, there’s a downside – three actually! One is when you’ve finished it; two, is that you have to wait for a sequel and three, trying to read another book becomes impossible because it won’t be a patch on one!!
Marcia Postema (USA): Phil Davies has produced a sparkling gem of a debut novel. An author very much 'at home' with his craft, his storytelling is lyrical; bursting with chorus and refrain while the melody line is strong and true. A factual, investigative approach weaves itself throughout this prose; both strands working effortlessly together to offer a fully-faceted tale of the human heart. The author stays consistently focused and his love for the protagonists exudes an excitement that proclaims, ‘listen to this....’ The book is offered to the reader as a gift, infused with humility from a writer who gives freely of himself through his creation. It’s like the author personally invites us to climb into the drama, where he’s taken up residence, so much so it feels like we are offered a cup of tea with his tale! Hard to articulate, but Blood on Their Hands is a fusion of heart, mind and spirit that leaves the reader fully satisfied yet hungry for more. A genuine literary masterpiece.
Craig Walker: Already halfway through a good book, I picked up Blood on Their Hands just to read the prologue, just to get a flavour ready for my upcoming holiday read. Three hours later, I was 100 pages in, and totally hooked. The author sets the scene brilliantly, often in microscopic detail, so much so that you can’t help but be intrigued by the characters and especially, their weaknesses. As the story takes you ever forwards to the crime scene and beyond, you can’t help but gasp at the range of emotions, the confrontation, the geography, the historicity, and the constant wonder of how things would be different in a sliding doors moment. I don’t know how he did it, but the author succeeded in making me feel as if I was a fly-on-the wall with every paragraph; like I was right there, with the characters, sometimes even feeling like I was walking among them. Take the courtroom scenes, and even the final scene, as unpredictable as the characters themselves… absolutely brilliant and what a finale, another testament to a a master story-teller. Genuinely awesome!
Paula Lewis: I can honestly say that this is an absolutely brilliant book – the best I’ve read! I took it away with me thinking it would last me well into my holiday and ended up finishing it in two days! There is something in it for everyone: war, conflict, love story, and breathtaking courtroom drama etc. Amazing!! I loved the characters and the way they developed. Everything was so true-to-life, it was as if I was watching a film in my mind. Talking of films, Blood on Their Hands would make a true blockbuster movie!
Rev David Crabb: I couldn’t believe it, but my copy of Blood on Their Hands arrived from Amazon about midday and by the end of the following day, I’d read it! I found it impossible to put down, reading late into the night and picking it back up the following day to finish in one sitting!! The expertise with which the author has built the characters makes it difficult to believe that this is his debut novel. The research has to be appreciated, as does the sensitivity with which Phil has boldly handled difficult scenarios without compromise, yet in my opinion not overly gratuitously. I was taken on an emotional roller coaster and as the story came to its climactic conclusion found myself wanting more. Recommended without reservation!
Vincentia Bhika (South Africa) Blood on Their Hands is an exhilarating story that explores an inhumanity v. humanity type theme in great detail. Kingsbridge revels in his ruthless ways, McBride is remorseful and Frankie eventually allows himself to become the hapless victim of degradation. In stark contrast, the heroine is truly an admirable character as she bravely struggles not to allow her past to influence her future. Despite the various characters' reactions to a diabolical event that connects them, their destinies are unexpectedly intertwined over two decades later, with shocking consequences. Blood on Their Hands has something for everyone, regardless of age, nationality or gender. I would definitely recommend it as a must-read!
Matthew Hunt: Blood on Their Hands was an epic that refused to be put down. I have never read a book where it was so vital, so essential, to find out what came next. The twists. The turns. The tension. The confrontations. The emotion. All like nothing I’ve ever experienced in a book. And somehow the author dropped me right in the middle of it all. Like I was there, with a ringside seat. Captivated from virtually the very first page, I was hooked by the corruption and brutality of the story, and by the richness and ambience of the unfolding story. Intense and gripping, and with a climax to satisfy even the most discerning, I can honestly say that it was a pleasure to read Blood on Their Hands.
Clive Griffin: What a fantastic and unique book! What story!! I finished it in a day and
a half and couldn’t put it down. It was like my life was on hold till I found out what happened to the Bleeding Dogs! If only Phil Davies had more for me to read!!
Violet Griffiths: I'm not usually fussy when it comes to thrillers or war stories but I have two brothers and I wondered if Blood on Their Hands would be suitable for them as a Christmas present. Before I gave it to them, I decided to read it myself. It was incredible! It captured my interest from the very start and as each scene unfolded I couldn't wait to see what came next. The characters were so interesting! I just couldn't put the book down. As a Christian, I especially identified with the Michael McBride character and the way his exciting journey of transformation was so beautifully explained in such a non-preachy way. Blood on Their Hands is an ideal tool for evangelism, especially for men. I’ll be giving away a few more I reckon!
Gary Hoogvliet (New Zealand): In my role as a TV journalist and film-maker, I have read and previewed many books over the years, interviewing authors like Maeve Binchy, Jean Auel and Jeffrey Archer. So when I was introduced to Phil Davies and given a copy of his two recently released novels - Blood on Their Hands and 666 mark of the beast, to my shame, I didn’t read them for a while… A Christian who writes novels? Yeah right! Both books are gripping from first page till last, the kind you simply can’t put down. Neither is a ‘gentle Jesus meek and mild’ book. They might even make you a little uneasy in places. But what a read, and both have the potential to make great movies. Beautifully crafted and zealously researched, they’re great literary entertainment; the best books I’ve read in years! And yep, that surprised me!!
Gillian Jones: My reading interest is generally autobiographies and limited to holidays. Blood on Their Hands didn’t fit the usual mould therefore, but the minute I picked it up, it gripped me. Even though parts of the storyline are pretty graphic, it’s a page-turner that holds your attention and keeps you wondering what happens next, leading you all the way to the shattering conclusion! Brilliant!!
Wayman Berkatt (South Africa): I especially loved the way the author developed the lives and back stories of the fictional characters, and the way everything was meticulously woven into actual historical events. I honestly have never read a dictional story that felt so much like hard fact! The respective lives and legacies of McBride and Kingsbridge brilliantly displays not only the battle of good versus evil, but also how one's worldview influences both your response to, and your interpretation of, what good and evil actually is. I can heartily recommend this exceptional novel!!
Debbie Bullock: Blood on Their Hands is an epic read which might at first sight look as if it’s a man’s book and yes, the violence is fairly graphic but this is a story that is about much more than than war or action. It’s about character and choices, and it’s about the consequences of those choices! I was completely taken in by the characters, so much so that I couldn’t wait to see some of them get their come-uppance! The attention to detail is incredible throughout: the rivers, the street names, the towns are all real places and the mood, scene-setting and atmospheric ambience all combine to give enormous depth to the story. An amazing book!
Dave Dean: It’s hard to believe that Blood on Their Hands is a debut novel. Phil Davies writes with the maturity of authors with many more titles to their name. In many respects it’s reminiscent of a John Grisham or a Lee Child and certainly deserves its place on the shelf alongside any of their books. Beautifully crafted and zealously researched, Blood on Their Hands tugs on your heart strings and toys with your emotions. From the very first page, I was captivated by the storyline, engrossed in the characters and submerged into the various plot-lines. This was so much the case that I read the entire 500 pages in just a couple of days! There has to be a sequel!!
Tracey Metcalfe: Though this looked like a guy’s book to me, I decided to chance and am so glad I did. Blood on Their Hands cleverly callous blood thirsty action with genuine compassion and character identification and makes it a gripping read for male or female alike. The story draws you in bit by bit and so much that it’s difficult to live a normal life whilst it’s still unfinished on your bedside table! I also enjoyed the deeper level to the narrative which challenges your moral base, your thoughts and your reactions to events, posing awkward self-asked questions as to how you’d have reacted if was you, in the story.
Elroy Duckitt (South Africa): I couldn't put it down and loved the intricate quality of the character development which really is of the highest quality!! It was totally outstanding start to finish and must surely, already Ridley Scott or Mel Gibson considering it for their next big blockbuster. What a movie for the big screen… and what a book!!
Jenny Grant: Loved it!! Blood on their Hands is a fascinating, character driven journey following the lives of four young men as they travel physically, emotionally, and spiritually into middle age towards the brightest of spotlights. Emotions are portrayed in such a realistic, vivid style that you feel you are stood alongside them as they walk, experiencing their pleasures, feeling their pain and hurting their hurts. In many ways, it’s a study of men, how they make their choices and how they react to circumstances, with their reactions dependent upon their core character and what’s in their heart. Blood on Their Hands really is a rollercoaster ride of raw emotion that takes you on an enthralling journey!
Ann Brettle: As a prolific reader reading as many as three books a week, I was intrigued by the cover design and title of Blood on Their Hands. After working through the early chapters of background, I became more and more engrossed in the story. It is one of the best researched books I have ever read. This book is a rare find: an exciting story-line, with an incredible insight into one of the worse scenarios of human tragedy. It all makes Blood on Their Hands an amazing read. And for all you ladies out there, go buy the book; you won't be disappointed.”
Karen Thomas: I honestly couldn't put this book down! The “realness”, believability of the narrative and the accuracy of the research, effortlessly transport you into the heart of the action, so that you are totally in sync with both time and place. The characters fascinate you, each stage building on the previous till you have an insight into who they really are, and what’s made them who they are. I hated the ending, not because it wasn’t a fitting, if unexpected climax, but because there was no more book, no more story, no more insight, to be gleaned. Even so, over two months later, I still find myself thinking about my journey to South-east Asia! Yes, I’d recommend this book to anyone!!
Lawrie Davies: What an amazing book, and what a fantastic story! While Blood on Their Hands is a work of fiction, the realism is quite astonishing! With so many fantasy books flooding the market nowadays, it's truly a breath of fresh air to encounter such a highly believable story. From early 20th Century Ireland to a modern day Los Angeles courtroom, from gangster controlled Chicago to the Vietnamese jungle...this book takes you everywhere!!
Ann Edwards: When my husband brought this book home I didn’t think it was one for me. Much to my surprise though, I quickly engaged with the characters and became part of their world, to a point where I felt I was one of them. This was especially true of Mai-Ly and Bian. Though the ending didn’t quite satisfy me, all-in-all, I found Blood on Their Hands a totally compulsive read, a book that was impossible to put down!
Robin Wade: I was very impressed with Blood on Their Hands and with Phil’s story-telling ability. He has a real eye for character, a great ear for dialogue and the craftsmanship to weave an intricate plot through a perfectly convincing and highly believable novel.
Gareth Newton: I've just finished Blood on Their Hands and really I enjoyed it! It possesses all the hallmarks of a great leagl thriller - interesting characters, a good yarn, sparse dialogue, and a strong plot. The author weaves the story together well and the plot is a gripping one with the sense of "place" a particular strength in the writing, as is the careful and highly believable character development.
Owen Davies: I am not an avid reader. In fact, I’d go as far as to say I’ve never read a book cover to cover – until Blood on Their Hands! The ‘need to read’ may be a new experience but it certainly ticked all my boxes - a rich tapestry packed full of historical and geographical accuracy, laced with a real grasp of the environments in which the book is set. There were moments I could ‘smell’ the deep Laotian jungle and ‘hear’ the Mekong river gently flowing outside my bedroom window! The reality of this read is frightening, mainly because part of me believes that these events have actually been penned down in history - it all just seems to fit! Phil’s ability to create characters with whom the reader can have tremendous empathy is quite outstanding. I challenge any reader to deny the fact that at some point, they didn’t side with one of the defendants (McBride is my hero!) or struck out with the grief as they shared the pain with Mai-Ly and Thimay. And as for Phil's description of Bian...let’s just say we can’t wait for the movie!!
John Bullock: This is a book that has everything; a real life journey full of suspense, intrigue, vengeance, drama, strong characters and a blistering climax. At different times, it’s a war story, love story, legal story and the author’s attention to detail is quite remarkable throughout! Totally gripping!!
Julie Pomeroy: Usually, my reading stops at magazines but my daughter was raving about Blood on Their Hands so much, I thought I’d give it a go. It gripped me right from the start and whenever I put it down, found myself thinking about the next scene, the next chapter. I needed answers!! Yes, I loved the way the story unfolded and felt a real connection with all the characters especially the grandmother Mai-Ly. The scene at the gates to the US Embassy was mind-blowing and the raw emotion had me in tears for hours. FANTASTIC!!”
Chris Jones: Blood on Their Hands begins with some memorable pen portraits of the four main antagonists. It’s sets the scene very effectively for what’s to come before launching the quartet backwards to South-east Asia and Bleeding Dog Company. It’s gripping first page to last, partly because of the richness of the back-story, partly because of the brilliant use of history, time-lines and sense of place, and partly because of the way the author builds up the tension and excitement in the run-up to the climactic courtroom encounter. It really is amazing, and Phil Davies sure can tell a good story!!
Valerie Handford: What a great book! It’s an enthralling read cover to cover and very difficult to put down. My favourite character was Bian. She plays an epic part and never loses her dignity. It felt like the story came to life and at times I felt as if I were there with her and the rest of the characters.
Tony Spence (Ireland): I wasn't sure what to expect from Blood on Their Hands but it is very well written, holds your attention through every single one of its near 500 pages, and the unexpected twist to the final courtroom scene is enough to take your breath away!
Registered ISBN Number: 978-0-9562673-0-6
Book Type & Style: Bookazine in full colour
Total Number of Pages: 496
Recommended Retail Price: £9.99
Classification & Genre: Fiction - Legal Thriller
Product Dimensions: 208 x 134 x 31 millimetres
Original Publication Date: June 2009
Original Publisher: 21:Twenty-one Limited
Revised Publisher: True Vine Media Limited
Distribution & Marketing: True Vine Media Limited