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Blood Standard

(Isaiah Coleridge #1)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  1,212 ratings  ·  238 reviews
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 moneyma
Hardcover, 321 pages
Published May 29th 2018 by G.P. Putnam's Sons
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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Jeffrey Keeten
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
”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 had spilled. As ever, blood was the currency of my existence. Blood was the standard.”

 photo Walruses_zpsjbggjkdc.jpg
Coleridge--defender of animals.

Isaiah Coleridge bears the name of a poet, but he doesn’t express
Jan 19, 2021 rated it really liked it
I picked this book up because I've been meaning to try out Laird Barron. I've heard he was an excellent horror author and I found a used hardcover cheap. Excellent! I'll give him a try.

I realized very quickly that I was not in fact reading a horror novel. This was a noir, a dark and gritty one, but very much in the realm of probability (with obviously exaggerations for fiction's sake). Even still I could see a horror influence from the author. He's known for cosmic horror, which if there is a mo
Dan Schwent
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-books, 2018
When he sees his fellow gangsters killing walruses for fun, Isaiah Coleridge chops one of them in the throat and winds up exiled to a work farm in upstate New York. A teenage girl also staying at the farm disappears and Isaiah means to find her, stirring up a hornet's nest of gang members and corrupt law enforcement...

2017 was the year of Laird Barron for me. I managed to read every book he had in print so it was a no-brainer that I'd pick up this one, his first foray into crime fiction. Barron'
Laird Barron's "Blood Standard" is a top-notch crime fiction story that has a great narrative voice even from the beginning. Take a half-Maori (a Polynesian ethnic group who is indigenous to New Zealand) mobbed-up enforcer at odds with his ex-military father (who killed his mother) and finds himself exiled by the Outfit from Alaska to the Hudson River Valley. Talk about two wildly different neighborhoods. Isaiah Coleridge is a tough guy with a heart of gold, keen about wreaking mayhem among his ...more
I received a free advance copy from NetGalley for review.

Apparently the American mob is just like Starbucks in that they’ve got franchises everywhere, including Alaska.

Isaiah Coleridge is an enforcer who has been working this frozen turf for a while, but he gets in big trouble after crossing a deadly local boss. That earns him a vicious beating as well as a dangerous enemy. He’s also exiled from Alaska and sent to live on a farm in upstate New York as part of his punishment. Isaiah is content to
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm on team Coleridge. Until he punches me in the ribs (I'm kind of delicate). Brimming with memorable characters, action, nastiness, and well, fun (that's my kind of fun, and I imagined Laird cackling wildly as he wrote parts of this book). ...more
Aug 06, 2018 marked it as to-read
This ARC is an uncorrected advance proof. Publication date is May 29, 2018.
Aug 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book in a new hard boiled detective series featuring Isaiah Coleridge, a mob enforcer who was working in Alaska until being exiled to upstate New York (near the home of his estranged father) after a problem involving walruses pissed off the wrong man. Isaiah is half Maori, has a fondness for classic literature and can't stand seeing animals abused.

Isaiah has been given a cover story to explain his arrival at Hawk Mountain Farm and Center for Symbolic Studies, run by the elderl
Philip Fracassi
Jun 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: genre, modern-lit, crime
BLOOD STANDARD is an outstanding crime novel immersed with style, wit, and pages filled with a tipped-over-barrel of violence. Barron succeeds in telling a compelling page-turning mystery while simultaneously (and most entertainingly) filling out the character of Isaiah Coleridge, a massive bulldozer of brute force with a penchant for wisecracks to cover an underlying river of cunning.

Coleridge does not fear the things most men fear, and the anomaly drives his reputation for being one of the bad
Brandon Petry
Apr 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Time to get fucking excited people! This was an excellent read. I read it in one sitting and only wish I could read it again for the first time. My ridiculously high expectations were met and now I just want that second book in the series.
Isaiah Coleridge is a great protagonist and the kind of well developed hard-boiled character I love to see cinder blocks chucked at. What I mean is, when your hero is this well drawn from the start, like Isaiah is, and you know you're in the hands of a writer
h o l l i s
The concept of this mob-enforcer turned fixer pseudo detective novel is fascinating. Throw in a diverse lead (half Maori, but 100% badass) who has a weakness for dogs, action the like you would see in a Jason Statham-style movie, violence, gangs, politics, dirty cops, and occasionally laugh out loud dialogue, and BLOOD STANDARD probably deserves all the stars. But I felt pretty removed from the story, perhaps due to the style of writing, or perhaps because for all the seriousness of the plot, no ...more
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley
I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley to read and review.

BLOOD STANDARD by Laird Barron is about Isaiah Coleridge, who’s father is a descendant from coal miners down south, and mother is a Maori from New Zealand, and is an enforcer for the Chicago division of the Outfit, who’s been assigned to Alaska for some time and finds himself in trouble when he interferes with an illegal hunt for walrus ivory by a made man he’s assigned to.

Vitale Night, the man Isaiah assaults
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whatever else I think about this book - the first in the crime-thriller category by this author - I cannot deny his way with words. Even when the going takes gruesome turns, the main character, Isaiah Coleridge, has the chutzpah of a Raymond Chandler private eye combined with the philosophical musings of the late Robert B. Parker's Spenser.

And that's a good thing; otherwise, Coleridge - once a mob enforcer - wouldn't be a particularly appealing guy. Big, brawny and half Maori, he manages to get
Michael Hicks
Blood Standard might be one of the best crime thrillers I've read in recent years, and while I'd put Isaiah Coleridge in the vein of a Jack Reacher-like protagonist, Laird Barron produces a work of violent noir that wins on its own merits and kept me hooked the whole way through.

Isaiah Coleridge is a Maori/Caucasian-mixed hitter for The Outfit, a mafioso crime syndicate that has assigned him to Alaska to keep the men there from getting into too much trouble. In the book's opening moments, Coler
M Griffin
Apr 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Laird Barron is one of my favorite writers, and I always snap up every new thing he publishes. Some Barron fans might be nervous, seeing him shift genre focus a bit (though crime lords and gangs and rough dudes and the seedy underbelly have always comprised the greater part of his world), but I say there's nothing to worry about on that count. This still feels like Laird Barron, just a streamlined and slightly more wry or sarcastic version. Blood Standard is completely engaging and satisfying al ...more
When I saw that Laird Barron had a hardboiled detective series out, I had a typical fangirl moment of squeaking and running as fast as I could to get a copy of the first book. There are many amazing horror writers out there, but Mr. Barron is definitely my favorite, and I was quite curious to see how he would do with in the noir/thriller genre. And holy cow, he did not disappoint!

Because it’s Laird Barron, there is some seriously violent stuff in “Blood Standard”; I don’t read a ton of hardboile
May 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a tough guy, somewhat noir mystery thriller. While it's in the vein of Spillane's Mike Hammer, it's much better done & takes place today. I'm going to give this 4 stars, although it's more of a 3.5, but it does seem like the beginning of a beautiful relationship. Isaiah is tough as nails, strong as a bull, about ordinary intelligence, & subject to moods. He also gets beat up a lot & the plot was well tailored for him. It's twisty, unexpected, & takes a tough guy without a lot of scruples ...more
Kelsie Maxwell
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ftr-read
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 enthrall
Frank Errington
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"What did I have, what did I know? Everything and nothing. I'm not a detective, I'm merely a man with less exacting scruples than most."

That particular quote from Isaiah Coleridge tells you most of what you need to know about Blood Standard.

Admittedly, I'm a bit late to the party in reading this work which came out nearly a year ago, but with the sequel, Black Mountain, due in a couple of months, I figured I better read this one first.

Blood Standard is very much a stand-alone novel, it's also a
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I came to this book somewhat familiar with Laird Barron's otherwordly horror work, having read the Imago Sequence and some other short stories several years back... and I don't know what I was expecting, to be completely honest. But Barron is surprisingly strong in this milieu, easily settling into character-driven crime fiction without diminishing his capacity to render dreamlike scenes or poetic descriptions of the wilderness, which is quite the trick to behold. While there isn't any real "hor ...more
Sep 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Former Alaskan wiseguy enforcer Isaiah Coleridge is keeping a low profile in upstate NY when he takes the risky road of searching for a missing young woman. The plot is secondary to the development of Isaiah's character in what I sincerely hope will be a long running series. His fearless tenacity and rapier wit kept me rapidly turning the pages of this outstanding debut crime fiction. ...more
David Agranoff
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Laird Barron is not a surprise or a revelation to those of us who read horror and dark fiction, I have read short stories in various collections and reviewed The his collection Imago Sequence in 2012. I was a big fan of the reality-bending novella The Hallucigenia. It is a strange family drama that twists through the lens of a horrific injury and hallucinogenic episodes. Barron is known for weird, sometimes surreal stories that highlight the darkest notions of horror with a cosmic sense of dread ...more
Jul 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, crime
Barron is a pretty big name in weird fiction (the best subset of horror). I guess he did everything he wanted there, so he tried his hand at crime fiction, noir fiction to be precise! He clearly did his homework as many of the noir tropes are there.

- main character who constantly gets beaten up (remember Chinatown?)

- brutal main character with a chequered and violent past, but ultimately with a heart of gold (Byronic Hero? Knight In Sour Armor?)

- SPOILER (view spoiler)
Mar 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Laird Barron's writing is my new latest obsession. Needless to say, I was highly entertained by his protagonist, Isaiah Coleridge, although I could not shake the vision of Jason Momoa, which was a pleasant thought. When I told Laird (on Facebook) that Momoa could not be "unseen" while I read Blood Standard, he "hearted" my post, and admitted that he also saw the charming and sometimes alarming actor as the former hit man.

As far as the story, I will leave that to future readers to unravel. I am
Natalie M
A Maori mobster is a first but it worked in this Mafia style crime novel. A bit of everything you would expect from brutality, to extortion, and missing people. Not a bad read and if you like this genre you’ll enjoy the classic gangster elements.
Scott Rhee
Known primarily for his horror/dark fantasy/new weird, Laird Barron cuts his teeth in the crime/mystery/mafia genre with “Blood Standard”, introducing a frightening yet lovable new (anti)hero that is reminiscent of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher and Robert B. Parker’s seminal hero, Spencer.

Isaiah Coleridge is a hulking Maori mob enforcer in Alaska. He’s done a lot of bad things, and while he once dreamed of being a good guy, the role of very bad guy just kind of fell into his lap. Unfortunately, he ma
Ronald Morton
Dec 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Back in the early 2000’s I spent a few years trying to track down a copy of some of the early Ligotti collections, off the strength of a single Joshi quote about The Last Feast of Harlequin being the natural successor to Lovecraft or some such. This was way before the Penguin collection, and probably about the time one of the boutique presses started reprinting Grimscribe and Songs of the Dead Dreamer (probably misstated a bit of the preceding, as I typed it out all from hazy memory, and I want ...more
3.5 stars

"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 t
Benoit Lelièvre
This novel was a major change in style and tone for Laird Barron, but it was great nonetheless. When you know how to write, you can just write, you know? It's like Miyamoto Musashi once said: “If you know the way broadly you will see it in everything.” There's that quality in Laird Barron's writing.

So what is there in Blood Standard to get excited about? A tremendous new character for once. A crafty subversion of organized crime tropes and subtle hints of horror for starters. There's a nice gam
Oct 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Laird Barron's crime novel Blood Standard is a a great, dark take on the Raymond Chandler/Robert B. Parker school of "tarnished knights." Though it's not a horror novel like Barron's previous books, it does have at least one pretty horrific moment and a nice shout out to the late, great Michael Shea. Definitely on the the first great genre novels of 2018. ...more
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Laird Barron, an expat Alaskan, is the author of several books, including The Imago Sequence and Other Stories; Swift to Chase; and Blood Standard. Currently, Barron lives in the Rondout Valley of New York State and is at work on tales about the evil that men do.

Photo credit belongs to Ardi Alspach

Agent: Janet Reid of New Leaf Literary & Media

Other books in the series

Isaiah Coleridge (3 books)
  • Black Mountain (Isaiah Coleridge #2)
  • Worse Angels (Isaiah Coleridge #3)

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