Saturday, November 25, 2023


Title: A Good Rush of Blood 

Author: Matt Phillips

Publisher: Run Amok Crime

Pages: 312

My GoodReads Rating: ⭐⭐


A Good Rush of Blood was exactly that. It felt as if I was shadowing Creeley, not just reading.


At 39, Creeley Nash, unwed and poor, is a drug runner. She is lonely and faces nothingness in her life. As a 14-year-old, she ran away from her home in Palm Springs 26 years ago. Running away from her mother, Blossom, a prostitute who had no love to give her daughter.


When Animal, her handler, sends her on a run to Palm Springs, Creeley goes unwillingly. In Palm Springs, she learns that her mother has been imprisoned for life for having killed a 17-year-old boy, Levi Mackey. Blossom says, she didn’t kill him and Creeley believes her. So begins her effort to find the real killer and exonerate her mother.


Meanwhile, Animal is threatening her to bring back his stash and the money she’s collected for him. When she refuses, he sends goons to ‘take care’ of her. Also, it becomes increasingly clear that there’s a huge coverup, at a high level, behind keeping Blossom in jail.


How’s a girl supposed to go about getting her mother exonerated in the face of such huge challenges? Will Creeley succeed in her goal? Will she make peace with her mother?



It’s amazing how Creeley picks up her own tribe, particularly when her own mother isn’t much of a real mother to her. The members of this tribe are a host of interesting characters, Amber, a queer librarian with a mohawk; a Kimmie, a gay man who befriends Creeley; Monty, a corrupt cop, and Paul, an old friend who’s now a violent criminal.


The writing was potent and urgent. It kept me on edge throughout. The style of the writing, described as neo-noir, revels in the sleazy and shady side of life, where dark tendencies might find comfort. You get the dreary sense that any wins in this world are hard won, and Creeley will always be looking over her shoulder, never at peace.


The focus of the book is the murder and Creeley’s investigation to find the real killer.


We find ourselves sympathizing with Creeley, even though she is a drug runner, part of a crime syndicate, and her choices and actions destroy innocent lives. The action is so continuous and intense that we aren’t afforded any time to philosophize about the wrongness of what Creeley does for a living.


The lines between good and bad, right and wrong are blurred here. So we have Animal, the wannabe drug kingpin, making sure that Creeley is safe and not subject to any sexual harassment, not out of concern for her but because she’s the best drug runner he’s had.


We learn more about Creeley’s life through the flashbacks, aptly titled History Lessons, that the author shares with us.


The only characters I felt for, besides Creeley, were Ross, Paul, Amber, Levi and Kimmie, perhaps because they showed us their weaknesses and vulnerabilities. I didn’t care much for Blossom. 


 (I read this book on NetGalley. Thank you to the author, the publisher and NetGalley.) 


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