The Blood Detective (Nigel Barnes #1) - Dan Waddell
In the world of crime writing, it takes a clever man to figure out a new angle, given the plethora of books featuring both police and private detectives of all kinds. However, The Blood Detective manages to do just that.

The eponymous protagonist is a genealogist, who becomes involved in helping to solve a series of murders when someone realises that the figures carved into one of the victims in fact refers to an entry in the birth register. When our hero, Nigel Barnes, figures out the link between this murder and another, it's a race against time for him to establish just who might be next.

It's an intriguing read, partly because of its novelty but also because the main characters (Barnes and the two police officers he works with) are well-drawn and sympathetic. I look forward to seeing if the author can recapture this in the sequel (Blood Atonement), though I'll have to wait since it's not due out till August 2009.