Troubled Blood Trigger Warning Guide

This guide is written to help someone who wants to read Troubled Blood, but does not do well reading graphic descriptions of violence. There are no real spoilers, just warnings of material that is graphic in nature and may be hard for some readers to take. Most are references to the character of Dennis Creed and the book within the book written about him, The Demon of Paradise Park. So there will be warnings that a character will be reading passages of the book or thinking about things that were in the book, but no specifics about what that means at the time or if it has any relation to the ultimate outcome of the story. I will have explanations at the end to fill in material that is in the parts that are hard to take.  See the footnotes for each chapter.

An * means there is a note for that chapter. No spoilers of the final outcome of the story.


“Safe” – there is nothing in this chapter that is grisly. There could be a passing reference to Creed or a mention of his deeds, but no description.

“Minor” – this chapter may contain more of a mention of something Creed or another character did, but no graphic details.

“Alert” – this chapter will have things that are grisly and graphic. In each case, I’ll say where to stop reading and where it is Safe to start again, giving the last Safe line and the first Safe line. There is one chapter where that will be very hard, since graphic lines are interspersed throughout it, so I’ll recommend skipping most of that chapter. I will include a summary of what happened in the skipped section in the notes at the end of this list.

Page numbers refer to the UK hardcover edition ISBN: 978-0-7515-7993-2.

For questions about the topics of the chapters, you can contact me @Zoesong11 on Twitter or @zoesongs on Tumblr for it.

Ch. 1 – Safe

Ch. 2 – Safe

Ch. 3 – Safe

Ch. 4 – Minor — has mention of Creed, and just the description of what is in the book The Demon of Paradise Park that both Strike and Robin will read parts of. No content.

Ch. 5 – Safe

Ch. 6 – Minor – a tiny bit of a mention of what Creed did, but no detail. 

Ch. 7 – Safe

Ch. 8 – Alert – Read until Strike starts reading The Demon of Paradise Park. Stop at p. 75, “At nine o’clock…”  Skip to p. 82 to “Strike’s mobile rang.” *Summary of the skipped part is below.

Ch. 9 – Alert – Read until you get to where Robin starts to read the Creed book on p. 89. It will say “Chapter 5.” Skip to p. 91 to the line, “Twenty minutes after boarding the train…”

Ch. 10 – Safe

Ch. 11 – Safe

Ch. 12 – Safe

Ch. 13 – Safe

Ch. 14 – Safe

Ch. 15 – Safe – a mention of Robin continuing to read the book, but no detail; nothing descriptive.

Ch. 16 – Safe

Ch. 17 – Safe

Ch. 18 – Safe

Ch. 19 – Safe

Ch. 20 – Safe

Ch. 21 – Safe

Ch. 22 – Safe

Ch. 23 – Safe

Ch. 24 – Safe

Ch. 25 – Safe

Ch. 26 – Safe

Ch. 27 – Minor – most is Safe; at end of chapter there’s a conversation about another suspect and brief mentions of crimes that he committed. Not graphic detail, but a mention of the act that was done. If you want to skip, stop on p. 310 with “It was the first time Shanker had ever given Strike such a warning.” Skip to the next chapter. *

Ch. 28 – Safe

Ch. 29 – Alert – most is Safe, but Strike watches a film that has graphic things in it. Stop on p. 326 at “Doubtless because he wasn’t thinking as clearly…” and skip to the end of the chapter.*

Ch. 30 – Safe

Ch. 31 – Safe

Ch. 32 – Minor – brief mention of the content of that film, no graphic details

Ch. 33 – Alert – Robin reads more of the Creed book. Stop after paragraph on p. 374 where Robin opens the book: “Robin opened her eyes…she continued to read.” Start again at the bottom of p. 377 with “The chapter ended here.” *

Ch. 34 – Minor — p. 391 brief mention of the content of the film, no graphic details. If you want to skip it, just stop at “What about the film?” and skip to the top of the next page at “One of Talbot’s best mates…”

Ch. 35 – Safe

Ch. 36 – Safe

Ch. 37 – Safe

Ch. 38 – Safe

Ch. 39 ­– Safe

Ch. 40 – Minor – No Creed stuff, but conversation with mention of porn and human trafficking, one mention of an awful thing done to a human-trafficking victim. The chapter is too important to skip, but you could skip pp. 489-490 to avoid worst of that conversation, from the line, “When you look at it objectively” to “If no one else wants pudding…” or to avoid all discussion of the topic, skip pp. 488-493, from “…troubled background…” to the end of the chapter. *

Ch. 41 – Safe

Ch. 42 – Safe

Ch. 43 – Safe

Ch. 44 – Safe

Ch. 45 – Safe

Ch. 46 – Safe

Ch. 47 – Safe

Ch. 48 – Safe

Ch. 49 – Safe

Ch. 50 – Safe

Ch. 51 – Alert – mention of what happened to another possible victim of Creed.

Stop after paragraph on p. 618 that begins, “Robin took the paper” and pick up on p. 620 with “And that’s when I got permission to write to him” (although you might want to skip the second letter because it’s just creepy, but otherwise there is not graphic stuff there).*

Ch. 52 – Alert — Stop on p. 634 at “Some deaths are a mercy” and pick up again on p. 635 to “She flicked backwards in the notebook…” *

Ch. 53 – Alert – mention of what Creed did with the body of one of his victims. Stop on p. 638 after the second paragraph with the words, “Susan Meyer.” Pick up again on p. 640 at “Have I got time for a fag?” *

Ch. 54 – Alert – Strike on train to Truro for Easter – reading Creed book. Stop on p. 657 at “After flicking through the book…” and start again on p. 659 at “In spite of the coffee…” Also contains a suicide attempt, but nothing graphic. *

Ch. 55 – Safe

Ch. 56 – Safe, but has some graphic sexual material as they interview a retired prostitute

Ch. 57 – Safe

Ch. 58 – Safe

Ch. 59 – Safe

Ch. 60 – Safe

Ch. 61 – Minor – just a mention of the kinds of crimes that a gangster had perpetrated in his youth

Ch. 62 – Safe

Ch. 63 – Safe

Ch. 64 – Safe

Ch. 65 – Safe

Ch. 66 – Safe

Ch. 67 – Safe

Ch. 68 – Alert – interview with Creed starting p. 842. Stop on p. 849 before you get to the heart of the interview. Stop before “The second possibility…” Start again on p. 858 at “You’re full of shit…” *

Ch. 69 – Safe

Ch. 70 – Minor – Not graphic, but the finding of a body.

Ch. 71 – Safe

Ch. 72 – Safe

Ch. 73 – Safe – (very safe!)


*Summary of skipped material (minor spoilers just of those details, not overall plot; be careful only to read the part for each chapter.)

* Ch. 8 – Contained Creed’s list of crimes and his family history; he was unwanted and abused as a child. There’s an interview with his mother; it’s very pathetic, you do feel sympathy for her and for Creed as a child.

* Ch. 27 – Shanker says that if someone messes with Ricci, he’ll do terrible things to them; ends with a mention of a heinous act that Ricci’s gang did in retaliation for something crossing him. Mentions that the lion ring that Strike mentions was given to Ricci by a mob boss. Strike shares that he’s investigating the Bamborough case, and Shanker warns him that, “If Mucky Ricci’s the answer, you need to stop askin’ the question.”

* Ch. 29 – Strike retrieves the projector and the film from his landing, makes himself some stir fry, and watches the film. It turns out to be a snuff film with graphic details of what gangsters do to a woman before killing her. One of the men in the film, whose faces are all covered or out of frame, has a large gold ring on it.

* Ch. 33 – Robin reads sections of the book that described more of the terrible things that Creed had done, as well as interviews with the woman whose home he was living in. He had a basement flat in her building. She just thought he was a nice lonely young man, possibly gay. Interviews with the family of one of his victims expressing their rage at what he did.

* Ch. 40 – Jonathan’s friends, Kyle and Courtney, are discussing women’s empowerment and Kyle thinks that porn is a woman’s right to use her body as she chooses. Strike enters the conversation sharing some of his experiences when he was an SIB investigator where he dealt with human trafficking and how porn is full of it. He describes a horrific incident. They parry the issue back and forth and something they say about rape victims makes Robin aware that Jonathan must have told his friends about her history. She is appalled that these topics have come up during the dinner party and have continued to be discussed, partly because of Strike, and she tries to shut it down. Strike gets up and leaves and Robin follows him.

* Ch. 51 – the skipped part has a scrap of a book that Creed was writing in prison that indicates that a woman he had held was Margot Bamborough. The letter to Tucker had a code in it that said that his daughter had cried for her mother before she died. Tucker has an idea where he thinks his daughter and Margot might be buried.

* Ch. 52 – brief mention of trauma that Strike observed when he was struck by the IED attack and Robin recalls what she supposed could have happened to Margot in Creed’s basement.

* Ch. 53 – the skipped part has Robin visiting a lake where Creed had dumped the body of one of his victims. She thinks about the other victims and the awful things he’d done to them. Then she heads to the café where she and Strike are meeting the Bayliss sisters to interview them.

* Ch. 54 – the skipped part of the Creed book discusses Creed’s relationship with his landlady, whom he had been drugging to keep her from finding out what he was doing to his victims in his basement flat, but now was drugging her just because he was tired of dealing with her. He’d asked her about her will, wanting to be named in it. He had been growing bolder, risking contact with street dealers to get the drugs that he needed to eventually kill her.

* Ch. 68 – Interview with Creed. The gist of the interview is that Strike is trying to outwit Creed by withholding which victim he is investigating. He hopes Creed will reveal something about one or the other woman, or both. Creed thinks he’s looking for info on Brian Tucker’s daughter, so attempts to string Strike along, but eventually Strike tells him he’s been hired by Margot Bamborough’s daughter, so he’s been wrong. Creed confesses to killing Tucker’s daughter, gives some details, but won’t say where she’s buried. Strike pretends to be disgusted and fed up with Creed, gets up and tells him he’s full of shit, and then Creed gives him the supposed clue.