November 11, 2016 BLOG, BOOK REVIEWS, Fiction, PODCASTS4

BLOOD PASSAGE by Malcolm Pierce


5139ZTnnyPL._SY346_BLOOD PASSAGE by Malcolm Pierce taught me a lesson: don’t judge a book by its cover. Let me clarify that. I have never been drawn to fiction based on military experience, soldiers, murder and mayhem on the high seas.

But BLOOD PASSAGE gripped me in a way few fiction books do. Talk about being surprised.

The story line is intriguing: a former military man, Brian Francisco, wakes up on board an oil tanker and has no idea how he got there. His last recollection is falling asleep in his city apartment with his beloved dog, Danny, nearby. Bit by bit, he realizes he’s been kidnapped and is now being held under armed guard and is out in the middle of the ocean somewhere with no hope of escape. Worst of all, he has no idea why he has been kidnapped, where he is headed, and if he survives the voyage, what will become of him once he’s on land.

With his military training and knowledge of HVAC systems, Franciso manages to escape his jail cell on the tanker, and from that point on, all hell breaks loose as his prisoners try to find him. He, in turn, eludes them time and again, but not before he’s shot up just about the entire crew. I’m not going to spoil the ending by telling you what eventually happens or why he’d been kidnapped in the first place, but believe me, Malcolm Pierce takes his protagonist, his enemies and the reader on an unforgettable ride. The reasons for why this all happened will surprise you, as it did the protagonist.

What makes BLOOD PASSAGE so good? Is it just the clever plot? Not at all. Malcolm Pierce is one skillful writer. He keeps chapters short: super short. He alternates the chapters between his protagonist’s thoughts and plans, to those of the ship’s captain and his daughter. This necessitates changing the point of view from which the story is told: from first person to third person. Under the pen of a less skilled writer, this could create confusion for the reader. But not so with Malcolm Pierce.

Furthermore, despite the hell in which the protagonist has found himself, every so often he reflects on his situation with a subtle, self-deprecating sense of humor. While this tough military man fights for his life by killing people all over the ship, he is simultaneously deeply upset that he has had to take lives to save his own. And once in a while, in the midst of it all, he thinks of his beloved dog and wonders if he’ll ever see him again. The reader loves Francisco for his humanity. He is real. This is great characterization.

As the reader’s tension mounts to an all time high by the ending, Malcolm Pierce brings BLOOD PASSAGE to a satisfying close. What has Malcolm Pierce got in store in his next book, if he’s writing one? I can’t wait to read it.

P.S. Malcolm Pierce is a prolific novelist but a search for him on the net, on Goodreads and other sites, yielded photos of his book covers but no photos of, or information about him. What a pity! I hope he sees this review and lets us know a bit more about him! I suspect he might be Canadian as his books are only listed on

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  1. Malcolm Pierce

    January 5, 2017

    Hello – Malcolm Pierce here! Thank you so much for the kind words about “Blood Passage.” It’s gratifying to know you enjoyed it.

    Sorry for not contacting you earlier but I only just now read the note at the end of your review. I’d be happy to provide more information, especially (wink wink) a bit about my upcoming work-in-progress book, “Erased.” I hope you’ll reach out to me at with any questions.

    • Viga Boland

      January 5, 2017

      Lovely to hear from you Malcolm and I really appreciate you leaving me a note here. If you would like me to review your new book when it’s ready, I’d be happy to do so. Please visit my page at for information on what I offer as a reviewer And please tell your author friends about my Podcast/reviewing services. Keep up the great writing and here’s wishing you much success in 2017

      • Malcolm Pierce

        January 6, 2017

        I will certainly reach out when my next book is ready!

        And I should have mentioned in my first post…it turns out there are several different authors named “Malcolm Pierce.” Of the “Malcolm Pierce” books available, BLOOD PASSAGE is the only one I wrote; the rest are by other gentlemen.

        One other fun fact: Malcolm Pierce is actually my pen name. I’ve published an eight-book thriller/mystery series, a short story, and a children’s book under my real name, Steven F. Freeman (I’ve included my website in the appropriate box.) And believe it or not, there’s another Steven F. Freeman on Amazon, too! So if you see some book about the 2004 election, that ain’t me. My next book, “Erased,” will be published under my Malcolm Pierce moniker as its writing style more closely resembles that of BLOOD PASSAGE.

        • Viga Boland

          January 7, 2017

          Fascinating! No wonder I had trouble tracking you down when I was getting ready to write my review. I always like to find out all I can about an author before reviewing a book.

          I will definitely be looking up your website: thriller/mystery is on the top of my reading choices. I hope I can find the correct Steven F. Freeman on Amazon so I can read the previews and see if I like them.

          Thanks for replying and I look forward to reading (and reviewing?) Erased.

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