My debut novel THE PHLEBOTOMIST, published by Angry Robot Books, is now available for transfusion on-line and in stores everywhere. It comes in paperback, ebook, and audio. Order links and some reviews below.
To support herself and her grandson Isaiah, Willa works for the blood contractor Patriot. Instituted to support the war effort, the mandatory draw–The Harvest–has led to a society segregated by blood type. Hoping to put an end to it all, Willa draws on her decades-old phlebotomy training to resurrect an obsolete collection technique, but instead uncovers an awful truth.
Patriot will do anything to protect its secret. On the run and with nowhere else to turn, Willa seeks an alliance with Lock, a notorious blood-hacker who cheats the Harvest to support the children orphaned by it. But they soon find themselves in the grasp of a new type of evil.
File Under: Science Fiction [ Blood Will Out | This Might Hurt a Bit | Be positive | Bloody Nightmare ]
PRAISE FOR THE PHLEBOTOMIST
“A compelling dystopian thriller that presents a fallen world and proceeds to dissect it with sanguine enthusiasm using its refreshingly unconventional heroes.” – Indrapramit Das, author of The Devourers
“With The Phlebotomist, Panatier has created a unique, intricately imagined vision of a divided society, where cash-for-blood is a booming trade and society is split by government sanctioned exsanguination. Rich, bold and visceral, this is a layered, post-apocalyptic book you won’t escape from easily, and one which left me genuinely squirming in my seat.” – Gemma Amor, Bram Stoker Award nominated author of Dear Laura and White Pines
“A terrifying tale of governmental manipulation and control, set against the kind of global health crisis that used to be a futuristic “what if” but is now very much a “what might be”… equal parts fascinating and horrifying, and never not entertaining.” – Dan Hanks, author of Captain Moxley and the Embers of the Empire
“In The Phlebotomist, Chris Panatier gives us the unlikely female protagonists—a plucky grandmother, a tech-geek locksmith, and a teenager with swords—we didn’t know we needed, and sets them in a near-future world that terrifies because it feels so possible. Nuclear disaster? Check. Constant monitoring by Big Brother? Uh-huh. Invasion of both men’s and women’s bodies for the Common Good? That, too. At once grounded in legit science, and also so totally imaginative that you have to find out what happens next, this book will take root at the base of your brain, threading its tentacles into your spinal cord and requiring you to keep turning pages until the bloody end.” – Jessica Hagemann, author of HEADCHEESE
“A clever, inventive fantasy with a horrific twist that explores whether we are more than the sum of our parts.” – Tal Klein, author of The Punch Escrow
“Panatier’s world – wracked by war and held together by weary patriotism – seems all too close at hand, and his characters are as real as your next-door neighbors. His unlikely hero, Willa Wallace, takes on mankind’s oldest foes – poverty, prejudice, greed, and things more calculating and predatory – in this exciting and genre-challenging debut from Angry Robot Books. ” – R.W.W. Greene author of The Light Years
One of the most rewarding aspects of reading any book, regardless of genre or author, is when the narrative doesn’t go anywhere near where you expect it to go.
You could argue that should be true of any book since back-of-cover blurbs, the good ones anyway, should tantalise with possibility rather than act as some sort of temptingly brief rundown of the entire plot, but then there are books which seem to promise one thing and deliver quite another in the best and most spectacular of all possible ways.
Such a repeatedly-and-gloriously-zigs-when-you-think-it-will-zag book is The Phlebotomist by Chris Panatier, which totally subverts any and all expectations, delivering in the process an exhilarating thrilling read that pulsates with raw action, and rich affecting humanity.” – Andrew Gillman of SPARKLYPRETTYBRIIIGHT Blog – Full review HERE
…The Phlebotomist is a unique and hugely accomplished debut. That stunning hot pink cover and the out-there concept bely both the gravity of the social issues raised and the extreme and often violent lengths that some of the characters are prepared to go to in defence of their ideals. It’s a wholly original take on dystopian science fiction and a brilliant feat of imagination, which manages to be both accessible and intelligent. What’s more, it does it all without ever losing its heart, thanks to the utterly loveable Willa. Highly recommended. – Ollie Kirrage of Infinite Speculation – Full review HERE
“As a trained phlebotomist, I’m fully qualified to tell you that this book is bloody fun. Chris Panatier’s upcoming debut novel has satisfied a thirst I didn’t know I had for a dystopian heist adventure.
The Phlebotomist has been on my TBR ever since I first saw the stunning cover illustrated by the author himself. This book is as fun as it is surprising, with Panatier putting an interesting new twist on more than one genre mainstay. While the story can be read as scathing social and political commentary, I think Panatier mostly wants you to sit back and enjoy his bloody ride.
Willa is a badass woman tackling the world head-on in her aubergine boots and candy-pink wig. She is a loveable character, tired of the world and at the same time ready to see it burn if it means giving her grandson a better chance at life. At 60-something years of age she’s not your typical lead for a spec fic dystopian novel, but I found her point of view refreshing and interesting, one that we should definitely see more of in SFF. Willa and the tech-savvy, slightly unhinged Lock are absolutely my new favourite criminal duo.
With plenty of style, humour, action and a fantastic ending, I would absolutely love to see a screen adaption of The Phlebotomist. In the meantime, you can pre-order a copy of the book ahead of its release on 8th September.
Big thanks to Angry Robot for providing an advanced copy of the book in exchange for an honest review, and congrats to Chris Panatier for an awesome debut. — Jakeisreading.com Blog — Full Review HERE
“Right, where do I even start with this one? Maybe I should just leave it with a “GO AND GET THIS BOOK, NOW!” You won’t regret it at all but I guess you want more of a review than that.
Okay, so what I really loved about this book is our protagonist, a Reaper called Willa. A 60 year old grandmother that works for Patriot, a blood donation company, and does all she can to provide for her grandson in a dystopian near future. We get to see Willa change from the sweet and kind grandmother we all know to a mean machine during this story. Don’t get me wrong she is still sweet and kind but now knows how and is willing to get s**t done in order to keep those around her safe. Chris’ character development is fantastic and I really connected with all the characters throughout the story including the side characters.
Chris Panatier lands us straight in the centre of a country that has been ravaged by a recent war and we soon understand the consequences of the war and how the people adapted afterwards. We witness a country of titanic inequality amongst its population and this holds a mirror up to our current society and shows us how devastating inequality can be for everyone. I enjoyed the way that Chris Panatier approaches the subject of inequality and it will serve as an eye-opener for many people. Overall the world-building in The Phlebotomist is fantastic and if you are a fan of well crafted settings then this is for you.
Now I found the plot unique in its telling and it had me hooked and asking questions from the very first page. It’s a nice fast pace without feeling rushed and the story unravels at just the right frequency to keep the reader entertained. I certainly didn’t feel any lulls during this read and it kept my attention throughout.
Chris Panatier creates an interesting take on the classic dystopian future in his debut and I for one can’t wait to read more of his work in the future. The Phlebotomist is definitely for those that love dystopian novels, definitely for those that love a strong female lineup and definitely for those that love a little dose of conspiracy.” — Dean Osborne of FanFiAddict.com
“Bloody hell! This novel completely caught me offguard. The Phlebotomist by Chris Panatier is a dystopian science fiction read that features strong female characters who fight and topple over a corporation controlled by evil, cruel individuals…
With its original and unique premise, I was instantly hooked. The world building and setting were brilliant and well-detailed. Even with its intricate setting, the book was fast paced, and I liked how the secrets and surprises were placed just at the right time. There was even an instant where I had to pause for a moment to process what I just read. It was very unexpected, and I did not see it coming. Moreover, the author did a great job describing and potraying a country which was devastated by war. It showed inequality and what people could do to adapt and live.
One of the things I like about this book is the main character. Most dystopian novels I read featured young, attractive ones as their main character. However, in this one, Willa is a 60-year-old grandmother who would do anything to provide for her grandchild. It was refreshing to read someone who had wisdom and did not do impulsive actions and decisions. I also enjoyed the character developments. Lastly, side characters were amazing and interesting, too.
Overall, The Phlebotomist is an interesting story in a dystopian setting. I am looking forward to its sequel. 5/5 stars!” — Full Review at Levicorpvsblog
“Chris Panatier knocks it out of the park with The Phlebotomist. A post-apocalyptic science fiction novel that–for once–doesn’t include a love triangle, a trio of moody teens, or zombies. Amazing, right? Instead what you get is a protagonist in her sixties, and another in her sixties, both waging war to save their grandchildren against a life that is potentially much worse (or better??) than they could have ever imagined.
The premise of The Phlebotomist is great, the pacing is tight, and the atypical main characters are utterly refreshing. I want more stories like this, that toss the cliches out on their ears and give us real characters to care for and unusual situations for them to battle. Also,I loved the fact that the MC was a phlebotomist. Not a fancy doctor, not a kick-ass action hero, but a person that does a very specific job that rarely, if ever, gets recognition. Nicely done.
Excellent job all around for The Phlebotomist and Chris Panatier.” — Full starred review from Sci-fi and Scary
“The nitty-gritty: A bold, bloody high stakes plot, relatable characters, and a diabolical twist make this an standout book of 2020.
I absolutely love when a book surprises me, and I’m happy to say The Phlebotomist is one of the happiest surprises I’ve had all year. This book is sure to make my Best of 2020 list, and it wasn’t even on my radar until just recently. This isn’t an easy review to write, though, because there is a plot twist that happens around page 100 that I simply can’t talk about, which is sad because it’s a huge part of the story (but you’re better off not knowing, trust me)…
And speaking of characters, The Phlebotomist has a wonderful cast of kick-ass heroines, and I fervently hope there are going to be more books in this series, simply because I didn’t want to say goodbye to them at the end of the book. Willa is a sixty-something grandmother and not your typical protagonist, but I instantly connected with her.” — Full review at Books, Bones, & Buffy
“You guys, where do I even begin with this book? Like wow, it was the atmospheric dystopian sci-fi I didn’t know I needed in my life. And then add in the amazing female characters throughout and it’s truly just a drool worthy book. I mean, that cover should be reason enough to pick this book up, but the story was just so much more than I ever expected.” — Full review at Ya It’s Lit
“My Five Word TL:DR Review : Absolutely Bloody Brilliant, pun intended. The Phlebotomist is a book that really took me by storm…
Long story short I really enjoyed this. I couldn’t wait to pick it up, it was entertaining, fast paced, high octane, bloody, and violent, in places and emotional. What a ride.
The writing is really good. Panatier strikes a perfect blend between those tense moments where you’re holding your breath and then the relief that swiftly follows. He provides clear information about the world and the way of life. He provides his cast with very ‘real’ motivations and he manages to provoke heartfelt emotion. On top of this there is much drama and over the top heist style scenes that give you a real rush – not to mention woohoo moments.” — Full review at Lynn’s Book Blog
“Chris Panatier’s The Phlebotomist is a wild dystopian ride that took a turn I was not expecting but by which I was completely thrilled. It starts out as a Bladerunner-esque dystopia in which people must sell their blood to Patriot, the government, in order to survive and to help those in the Grey Zone, an area suffering from the aftermath of bombardment. This differs from the usual dystopian fare in that the main character is a grandmother, and I truly love seeing older characters in the spotlight. Yes, the younger ones can be fun, but having the experience of life while also learning that you don’t know as much about the role you play in society is such a refreshing thing for me to see.
While this isn’t your typical gritty dystopia, I recognized a lot of throwbacks to dystopian favorites while also being fresh and innovative. There are a lot of WTF moments that pulsed throughout because it’s full of secrets, political intrigue, and class exploration that feels so relevant toward today, especially with COVID, society collapse, and its criticism of governments exacting control over their citizens. Because it blends together elements of so many different genres — thrillers, science fiction, mysteries, and dystopias — I think it’ll appeal to a wide variety of readers. It’s definitely a fun, fast read, and I hope someday there’s another book set in this universe! It reads as a standalone with enough of an open to add more.” — Full review at Fairy Book Mother
“A fast, absorbing read, almost cerebral at times with themes that are current and spot on for events unfolding today, The Phlebotomist is a fresh take on an old tried and tested trope, given it a unique twist of its own that, in the end, was bloody good!” — Full review at Book Blurb
Some Early Returns from NetGalley
“This blew me away! So, here we have a book that purports to be a dystopia novel, and in the beginning, it rocks ALL of those characteristics. A totalitarian, autocratic government that has seized complete power due to a nuclear war – meaning that the common people must donate, and receive blood to survive. Society has degenerated into blood type social strata. If you have a blood type that can be safely given to other blood types, you are higher class,and so on and so forth. So it looks a lot like a regular dystopian novel, (and it’s jolly good, too, excellent reading) and then BAM! MAJOR PLOT TWIST! I read hundreds of books per year. I always see the plot twists, I always work out whodunit… And I didn’t see this one coming! It made the novel into a genre blending masterpiece. I don’t want to spoil the plot twist, but man, I was blown away by it. Incredibly skillfully written, I also loved that the main characters were black, the main protagonist is Old, and that there was miniscule romantic subplots, (and what the tiniest, literally one sentence subplot it was, was queer) I really recommend this book to anyone that has an interest in post apocalyptic, dystopian fiction, Atwood fans, etc.” — NetGalley review by Corinne C.
“Another reason why I loved this book is it’s nothing quite like anything I’ve read before, a medical dystopian mixed with a sci-fi element that felt scarily plausible on so many levels…Overall, a fantastic novel written to create a terrifyingly tense literary adventure, with chapters flowing easily into one another and just intoxicating the reader with futuristic technology, biological hacking and an array of other adrenaline pumping elements, The Phlebotomist is a dark, twisted debut you’re really not going to want to miss!” – NetGalley review by Danielle L.
“Wow – Panatier’s The Phlebotomist drives forward like a semi-truck, never content to let you sit quietly and process. With second to none worldbuilding, he’s layered traditional fantasy within sheets of science fiction, post-apocalyptic dystopia, and good old fashioned adventure. Like a parfait (or an onion), every time you think you’re comfortable and fully in control, Panatier pulls the rug out from under your feet with a new twist or a new shift to the paradigm of his world. Eschewing the traditional post-apocalyptic protagonists (star-crossed lovers, abandoned-at-birth youth, mysterious stranger with a past), his characters feel real, with understandable motivations and passions that drive them. Panatier did his research as well; his science feels accurate (always a risk when you use actual science vs making it up) and doesn’t detract from the plot. All in all, I can recommend this book wholeheartedly, without any reservations – I just need to go find out my blood-type so I can prepare (just in case).” – NetGalley review by Reid E.
“The Phlebotomist ticks every box that I want from a science fiction dystopian novel – an intricate social system, power hungry leaders, a bad ass main character seeking to overthrow the leaders, and a whole lot of feeling. Willa might not be your typical dystopian main character – she’s a grandmother in her sixties, wearing a bright pink wig – but that doesn’t stop her from being just as badass as any other dystopian main character you can think of. In fact, it makes her a bit better than most because she’s mature, level headed, and educated. This also cuts out the typical dystopian love triangle we normally get, and this just made me love The Phlebotomist more. The blood caste system affecting the social stratification was also fascinating. The level of detail that went into the blood was incredible, giving little tidbits at the start of each chapter that give you some more background on what the different types are, and different skills that a Phlebotomist would have. It felt surprisingly educational while being a fast paced story about trying to overthrow Patriot. There were some surprising twists throughout the book too, that take it to a new level of dystopian horror almost, and honestly, while I wasn’t expecting it, I was all for it. It suited the story fully, and the twists didn’t feel like they came entirely out of left field just to make the story progress. And for how surprising some of the twists were, and how action packed the story was, there was lot of heart involved. You feel for Willa and Lock, and the hardships they go through. It was a fine balance of cheering them on through all the action, and having your heart hurt, but it balances well and really pulls you in to the story. The Phlebotomist is one I absolutely recommend for fans of dystopian style books, and especially those that like a touch of horror tossed in for good measure. If you’re looking for a unique main character that you don’t often see in Sci-Fi, Willa is one to remember, and this is absolutely a book worth checking out.” – NetGalley review by Caitlin M.
“It’s been a while since a book about the near future has made me that excited. The Phlebotomist draws a very interesting future where blood has literally become the most important part of economy. We follow the story of a phlebotomist – Willa, trained around our present time, that has held the job title in the future, even though the job in the future bares very little resemblance. Willa now spends her entire workdays collecting blood donations that get sent to areas where people need transfusions because of radiation sickness. She’s managed to get a somewhat comfortable life for this post-apocalyptic world, when by sheer accident she starts uncovering the truth behind the system, in which she works and lives. I really liked the characters and setting, and how everything was explained. This made for quite a nice weekend read. The book seems open to a sequel and I’d be really happy if we get one. *Thanks to NetGalley and Angry Robot for providing me with an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review.*” – NetGalley review by Oxana T.
“This book is a roller-coaster ride from page one. It tells the story of Willa, a phlebotomist in a future society where the demand for blood has increased so much everyone over the age of 16 is required to give a minimum donation in the Harvest. For those who choose to give more, they are compensated by a government agency known as PATRIOT. Certain blood is worth more than others based upon its bio-compatibility. O-negative is the universal donor so it is valued the most as are the donors. People are essentially placed into a caste system based upon their blood type. I’ve read numerous books where people are placed into a caste system but none have been centered around their blood type. This was such a genius idea. Willa soon discovers things aren’t as they appear and thus begins the story of bringing down an entire social strata system.
Panatier does everything right in this book. There is never a dull moment with fast paced chapters full of excitement, action, twists, and turns. He beautifully weaves a society which is both horrifying yet believable, where politicians and high society members declare FAKE NEWS! and quell any type of uprising. Willa is such a great protagonist too. She is loyal, mild mannered, and content with her life until her eyes are opened. She is certainly someone I got behind and enjoyed reading about. With this being Panatier’s debut, I can only imagine what his ceiling is. This is a book that I would expect from a veteran in the industry. I have already raved about it to coworkers, book club members, friends, and family. The only problem is they will have to wait until September when it comes out. To summarize this long review: read this weird, twisted, wacky book. It has a chance at being the best thing you’ll read all year.” – NetGalley review by Jacob H.
“I’m just going to call this a ‘bloody good read’ now to get that over and done with. Now that is out of my system, on with the review: A lot of the contemporary dystopian novels I’ve read over the last couple of years seem to have focused on the same sort of character over and over again and I just can’t seem to escape him: a white middle-aged man, thrown into a dystopian world, separated from his family (who then briefly grapples with the fact that he is actually secretly relieved to be free of them), who manages to find time to squeeze in an affair (that he concludes is fine because he has decided his wife is probably dead), who mopes around for a few hundred pages until he inexplicably saves the day. This is not that book.” – NetGalley review by Gemma D.
“This book is crazy with action and it is impossible to be bored by it. Characters are great and no one is safe. Great read indeed! I am looking forward to read more of his author.” – NetGalley review by Katarzyna S.
“The Phlebotomist by Chris Panatier is a post apocalyptic, dystopian futuristic thriller with a conspiracy twist led by female protagonists who do the science and blow things up. Honestly, what more do you need to know? … I really enjoyed the book and as a fan of dystopian fiction, which can at times be BLEAK, this had a real heart and sense of humour to it. Highly recommend The characterizations and world building are great, and the books moves along with great pace. There is just enough science to make the book credible and really suspend your disbelief without it being too complicated for those of us who used to doze off in biology classes.” – NetGalley review by Emma A.
“First of all, can we please just admire the cover of this book? It jumped off the screen at me and I knew I had to request it. Second of all, the premise. This book is completely different from any other dystopian novel I have read. The book follows Willa, who works as a phlebotomist for the government. Citizens are required to donate blood by law, and are paid for any extra blood they can give. Willa is the primary guardian for her grandson, Isiah, after her own daughter’s life was taken by the blood trade. Third of all, Willa. A grandmother as the lead was totally different in a genre where most protagonists are young and healthy. The world building in this novel was exceptional. The blood districts, the harvest and the heart were all so well developed, without excessive info-dumping. I loved Willa’s character and her commitment to Isiah, and I especially loved her newfound friendship with Lock. Their personalities were very different, and yet they were both motherly and determined. Kathy was the ultimate surprise and I kept forgetting she was only fourteen.” — NetGalley review by Mairi C.