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Saturday, September 08, 2007

Read Ireland - Irish Crime Fiction

Read Ireland Book Reviews – Issue 390 – Irish Crime Fiction ----------------------------------------------------------- Contents: 1. The Dust of Death by Paul Charles 2. In the Woods by Tana French 3. A Secret Place by Patricia Rainsford 4. Second Burial by Brian Nugent 5. The Four Courts Murder by Brian Nugent 6. The Colour of Blood by Declan Hughes 7. The Wrong Kind of Blood by Declan Hughes 8. Sweetwater by Paul Charles 9. Cross by Ken Bruen 10. Bishop’s Pawn by K.T. McCaffrey 11. Borderlands by Brian McGilloway ------------------------------------ 1. The Dust of Death by Paul Charles (Hardback; 23 Euro / 30 USD / 15 UK; 286 pages) The bloodied body of a crucified man is discovered in the Second Federation Church in an Irish Heritage Town on the first Friday of summer. The investigations by Inspector Starrett of the Serious Crime Unit and his young team soon reveal a County Donegal that is not nearly as righteous as its many churches might suggest. The body is that of local master carpenter James Moore, whom Starrett discovers was having a relationship with the wife of the pastor of the same Second Federation Church, and she has mysteriously disappeared. Meanwhile, it transpires that Moore’s own wife had started to get close to her childhood sweetheart. While investigating Moore’s past Starrett learns that the carpenter might have witnessed a local professional villain in action. Starrett is in his mid forties, dresses well, likes a pint of Guinness and is a decade into his third career. The locals say he may have a sixth sense: he’s not so sure but has been eternally grateful when that special something or other has kept him out of trouble and come to his aid while on a few of his cases. As Starrett conducts his meticulous investigation, recently widowed Maggie Keane calls and he has to accept that he still has the same feelings he had for her as a teenager. This is the first book of a major new crime series. (The first order received for this book will also receive a free copy of Charles’s previous crime novel, Sweetwater!) ------------------------------------ 2. In the Woods by Tana French (Trade Paperback; 15 Euro / 21 USD / 11 UK; 486 pages) When he was twelve years old, Adam Ryan went playing in the woods one day with his two best friends. He never saw them again. Their bodies were never found, and Adam himself was discovered with his back pressed against an oak tree and his shoes filled with blood. He had no memory of what had happened. Twenty years on, Rob Ryan - the child who came back - is a detective in the Dublin police force. He's changed his name. No one knows about his past. Then a little girl's body is found at the site of the old tragedy and Rob is drawn back into the mystery. Knowing that he would be thrown off the case if his past were revealed, Rob takes a fateful decision to keep quiet but hope that he might also solve the twenty-year-old mystery of the woods. ---------------------------------- 3. A Secret Place by Patricia Rainsford (Trade Paperback; 15 Euro / 21 USD / 11 UK; 376 pages) Gina is on the run from a lot of things, but the one that's going to get her into most trouble is prison. She and two mates are in hiding, depending on her uncle - a man with connections - to get them out of the country, which is going to be pretty tricky - on account of the man with his head blown off whose car the girls were seen running from. Although he's a cop, Rob is on the run in another way: refusing to face facts about his beloved wife's coma. Meanwhile, he throws himself into trying to figure out why the wealthy solicitor, Billy Hendrick, ended up with his brains all over the dashboard of his lovely car and what three young ones, no more than petty criminals, could possibly have to do with it. -------------------------- 4. Second Burial by Brian Nugent (Trade Paperback; 15 Euro / 21 USD / 11 UK; 280 pages) Sergeant Molly Power of the Irish Police Force Murder Squad is on duty when the call comes in. A young African man, Shad, has been attacked and left for dead on the Dublin Mountains. He crawls to the nearest house and raises the alarm, but he dies later in hospital. Shad's injuries are strange and deeply disturbing. Was he the victim of a racist attack, sadism, a punishment, or some mysterious sacrificial ritual? Inspector Quilligan and Molly Power launch a murder investigation - it is like none they have ever experienced before. Shad's younger brother, Jude, is grief-stricken and mystified by his brother's cruel death. He swears a solemn oath to find his brother's killer, but the more he uncovers about Shad's life and relationships outside their Nigerian community, the more he realises how dangerous and twisted some people can be!. In this compelling and moving story of callous murder and a brother's loss, Andrew Nugent brilliantly depicts the cultural diversity of Dublin and with wit and charm reveals the strength of faith and community when confronted with naked ruthlessness. (Also available in Hardback, priced at 25 Euro) ------------------------------------ 5. The Four Courts Murder by Brian Nugent (Paperback; 10 Euro / 14 USD / 7 UK; 346 pages) A superbly entertaining and suspenseful debut crime novel from Irish Benedictine Monk Andrew Nugent. When a Dublin High Court judge is found dead - slumped in his chair, his neck snapped by a well aimed kick - many would say he got what he deserved. But Inspector Denis Lennon and Sergeant Molly Power soon unearth a far more dangerous and complex case than simple revenge. There's the handsome, fair-haired young man whose flights of fancy and secret liaisons lead them down many a dark alleyway; the judge with an unusual but lucrative hobby; the strange connection with a rural community; the good-looking Tae-Kwando teacher. Elegant, charming and clever, Andrew Nugent deflates the pomposity of the law, the police force, and Irish rural mythology in a novel as ingenious as it is witty and compelling. -------------------------------- 6. The Colour of Blood by Declan Hughes (Trade Paperback; 15 Euro / 21 USD / 11 UK; 346 pages) Emily Howard is nineteen years old, slim and petite with a pale complexion and a red rose tattoo. She is also missing. She disappeared three days ago, and now her father has been sent photographs of her naked body. He is desperate to find her. So he calls Ed Loy, a private investigator who knows the dark streets of Dublin better than most; a man who will find Emily Howard within twenty-four hours. But locating Emily turns out to be only the beginning. Within hours, Emily's ex-boyfriend is found murdered, and Loy finds himself in a race against time to catch a killer -- and to unearth the many dark secrets the Howard family have kept long buried. Second book in the Ed Loy series. ---------------------------------- 7. The Wrong Kind of Blood by Declan Hughes (Paperback; 10 Euro / 14 USD / 7 UK; 330 pages) ‘The night of my mother's funeral, Linda Dawson cried on my shoulder, put her tongue in my mouth and asked me to find her husband. Now she was lying dead on her living room floor, and the howl of a police siren echoed through the surrounding hills ...' Ed Loy hasn't been back to Dublin for twenty years. But his mother has died, and he has returned home to bury her. Loy soon realizes that the world waiting for him is very different from the one he left behind all those years ago. When an old school friend asks him to investigate the disappearance of her husband, Loy reluctantly agrees. And suddenly in this place where he grew up -- among the Georgian houses, Victorian castles, and modern villas of Castlehill -- Loy finds himself thrown into a world of organized crime, long-hidden secrets, corruption and murder. The first book in the series. --------------------------------- 8. Sweetwater by Paul Charles (Paperback; 10 Euro / 14 USD / 7 UK; 280 pages) Christy Kennedy is an Ulsterman living in leafy Primrose Hill and working in vibrant Camden Town. He loves the art of detection, he's addicted to the puzzle of the crime. Now, while recuperating from an injury, he is working on a Missing Person case when an acquaintance of his, Harry Ford, is murdered. The investigation uncovers the lives, loves and disappointments of four university friends, one of whom, a Father Vincent O’Connor, may also be involved in the Missing Person case. However, the suspect list goes beyond this group of friends, when Kennedy discovers just how ambitious one of Ford’s work colleagues was. The young and enthusiastic WPC Dot King joins the team as they try to solve perhaps the most complicated murder any of them have ever worked on. --------------------------------- 9. Cross by Ken Bruen (Trade Paperback; 15 Euro / 22 USD / 11 UK; 284 pages) Cross (kros/ noun, verb, & adjective) means an ancient instrument of torture, or, in a very bad humour, or, a punch thrown across an opponent's punch. Jack Taylor brings death and pain to everyone he loves. His only hope of redemption - his surrogate son, Cody - is lying in hospital in a coma. At least he still has Ridge, his old friend from the Guards, though theirs is an unorthodox relationship. When she tells him that a boy has been crucified in Galway city, he agrees to help her search for the killer. Jack's investigations take him to many of his old haunts where he encounters ghosts, dead and living. Everyone wants something from him, but Jack is not sure he has anything left to give. Maybe he should sell up, pocket his Euros and get the hell out of Galway like everyone else seems to be doing. Then the sister of the murdered boy is burned to death, and Jack decides he must hunt down the killer, if only to administer his own brand of rough justice. --------------------------------- 10. Bishop’s Pawn by K.T. McCaffrey (Hardback; 25 Euro / 36 USD / 18 UK; 220 pages) Investigative journalist Emma Boylan is shocked to read her own obituary notice. Intrigued, she sets out to uncover who or what is behind the deception. Her investigations lead her to re-examine some reports she'd written as a rookie journalist and one story in particular seems to have a bearing on current events. It concerns the illegitimate daughter of a Catholic bishop who shot herself in full view of a number of witnesses that included Emma. And now, a decade later, some of these witnesses have met with mysterious ends. An unknown killer is on the loose, singling them out one by one. Digging deeply into deeds from the past, Emma follows a trail of corruption and betrayal. Now her name is next on the list. Can Emma stop the killer before she becomes a victim herself? ------------------------------ 11. Borderlands by Brian McGilloway (Trade Paperback; 14 Euro / 20 USD / 10 UK; 230 pages) The corpse of local teenager Angela Cashell is found on the Tyrone-Donegal border, between the North and South of Ireland, in an area known as the borderlands. Garda Inspector Benedict Devlin heads the investigation: the only clues are a gold ring placed on the girl's finger and an old photograph, left where she died. Then, another teenager is murdered, and things become further complicated when Devlin unearths a link between the recent killings and the disappearance of a prostitute twenty-five years earlier - a case in which he believes one of his own colleagues is implicated. As a thickening snow storm blurs the border between North and South, Devlin finds the distinction between right and wrong, vengeance and justice, and even police-officer and criminal becoming equally unclear. A dazzling and lyrical debut crime novel, "Borderlands" marks the beginning of a compelling new series featuring Inspector Benedict Devlin. ------------------------------------- Previous Issue: -------------- Read Ireland Book Reviews – Issue 389 – Irish Fiction ----------------------------------------------------- Contents: 1. Julius Winsome by Gerard Donovan 2. I Predict a Riot by Colin Bateman 3. 12:23. Paris. 31st August 1997 by Eoin McNamee 4. The Companion by Lorcan Roche 5. According to Luke by Gerard Stembridge 6. The Glass Room by Kate Holmquist 7. The Midnight Choir by Gene Kerrigan 8. Zoli by Colm McCann 9. The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty by Sebastian Barry ------------------------------------ 1. Julius Winsome by Gerard Donovan (Trade Paperback with dustjacket; 15 Euro / 20 USD / 10 UK; 210 pages) Julius Winsome lives in a cabin in the hunting heartland of the Maine woods, with only his books and his dog for company. That is until the morning he finds that his dog has been shot dead, and not by accident. From this starting point, Gerard Donovan weaves an extraordinary tale that explores ideas of revenge and the threat of the wild, but one that is also a tender and heartbreaking paean to lost love. Narrated by the unforgettable voice of Julius himself - at once compassionate, vulnerable and threatening - it reads like a timeless, lost classic. ------------------------------------ 2. I Predict a Riot by Colin Bateman (Trade Paperback; 15 Euro / 20 USD / 10 UK; 530 pages) Colin Bateman's hugely witty new novel will take you to the darker corners of a city bursting with intrigue, extortion, greed, love, murder, carrot cake and every twist, turn and outrage of human behaviour in between. A city moves in mysterious ways. Walter has a rubbish job but so has Margaret, a security guard at Primark, and when they meet through a dating agency, neither is who they seem. Margaret's married for a start and Walter's encounter with her husband Billy leaves him black and blue. Billy's a dodgy accountant for politician and racketeer (who can tell them apart?) Pink Harrison who has fingers in so many pies he's about to get them burnt. Superintendent James Mallow, CID, a hardened copper at the end of his career, is determined to nail Pink and when a dismembered body is discovered, Mallow thinks he's got his man. Meanwhile Redmond O'Boyle, professional terrorist and occasional birdwatcher, is languishing in a Columbian jail and his only way out is to kill himself and trust in reincarnation. The delicate threads of the city weave and interweave until its clear somebody's got something on somebody else. -------------------------------- 3. 12:23. Paris. 31st August 1997 by Eoin McNamee (Trade Paperback; 16 Euro / 22 USD / 11 UK; 235 pages) It's August 1997. As the century grinds to a close, Diana Spencer and her Egyptian lover are visiting Paris. An international fixer puts a team in place to watch the Princess. Former Special Branch man John Harper is recruited as part of the team. Ritz Hotel Deputy Director of Security Henri Paul and paparazzo supreme James Andanson are their surveillance targets. But they are not the only ones watching Spencer, and soon much more sinister forces are on the move... ----------------------------------- 4. The Companion by Lorcan Roche (Trade Paperback; 15 Euro / 20 USD / 10 UK; 312 pages) In this subversive, comic extravaganza, Dublin-born Trevor washes up in New York as companion to Ed, an impossibly rich, terminally ill young man. A bizarre, twisted friendship develops between the co-dependents but we are also introduced to Ed's bed-ridden, morbidly obese, sexually perverse mother; his guilt-ridden father, the Judge, who rarely emerges from his dusty office; the cold-hearted physiotherapist on whom Trevor becomes fixated, and the pot-smoking Caribbean chef who becomes his confidante. In this tale of obsession, control and madness, the dynamics of love, patience and understanding are explored. Upbeat, defiant, dark and morally ambiguous, this effervescent narrative enters the mind of the film-school dropout whose story it tells. An Irish take on "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and "A Confederacy of Dunces", it announces an exciting new talent in Irish literature. ----------------------------------- 5. According to Luke by Gerard Stembridge (Paperback; 9 Euro / 15 USD / 7 UK; 236 pages) Now that their children are almost reared, Frank and Norma Reid can congratulate themselves on a job well done - the eldest married and settled in their second favourite city, New York; their first boy in a marvellous job in the National Museum, the younger girl with a truly inspiring (if exhausting) passion for social justice, and the baby - well, he may be young, but he shows every sign of being quite the performer, like his Dad. They could pat each other on the back - thirty-odd years of happy marriage is not to be sneezed at - if it wasn't for a vindictive investigation into Frank's legal career. Suddenly, their lovely family starts to behave very strangely, and the elder son, Luke, is worst of all: when it comes to his father's alleged misdemeanours, he appoints himself judge, jury and executioner. And it looks like he will stop at nothing to achieve his version of justice ... --------------------------------- 6. The Glass Room by Kate Holmquist (Paperback; 9 Euro / 15 USD / 7 UK; 333 pages) On the morning of her thirty-seventh birthday, Louisa Maguire takes a long hard look at her life and doesn't much like what she sees. Her mother didn't want her. Her husband is a womanizer. Her best friend keeps trying to seduce her. All she has left are her two beloved children, a hectic career photographing Dublin's beautiful people...and a longing to turn back time and start all over again. When two long-forgotten faces turn up in her studio, Louisa's mind is flooded with memories of her bohemian childhood in New York and of a summer in the Hamptons when she was seventeen. When her first love also arrives in Dublin, Louisa's life is turned upside-down and she is forced to confront the devastating truth about why she has always put security before passion and sex before love. ---------------------------------- 7. The Midnight Choir by Gene Kerrigan (Paperback; 10 Euro / 14 USD / 7 UK; 340 pages) Tense and expertly plotted, "The Midnight Choir" is a stunning portrayal of life on the edge of society. This title is set in Dublin. Joshua Boyce watches jewellers from a rented flat across the road, noting the comings and goings as he plans a job; Dixie Peyton, desperate for cash, attempts to mug an American tourist, threatening him with a syringe purporting to contain HIV-infected blood; Detective Inspector Synott calls on an alleged rape suspect, already convinced of the boy's guilt; gangland leader Lar MacKendrick is working out, getting back in shape after brother Jo-Jo was viciously murdered. Meanwhile in Galway, Garda Joe Mills apprehends a jumper from a pub roof and discovers that the man is covered in dried blood. In "Little Criminals", Kerrigan gave a small insight into a previously unseen underworld. In "The Midnight Choir", that world explodes. We enter a gritty landscape of characters with questionable and contrary ideals; all struggling to survive in a time and place that's constantly knocking them back. Everyone has an axe to grind; criminals and police alike live by their own code, with both sides resorting to desperate measures as a means to an end. Law enforcement is often murky, and getting away with it is everything, no matter which side you're on. "The Midnight Choir" is a magnificent accomplishment, a powerful and intricate novel, driven to the last page at a tremendous pace by an original voice. ---------------------------------- 8. Zoli by Colm McCann (Paperback; 10 Euro / 14 USD / 7 UK; 364 pages) The novel begins in Czechoslovakia in the early 1930s when Zoli, a young Roma girl, is six years old. The fascist Hlinka guards had driven most of her people out onto the frozen lake and forced them to stay there until the spring, when the ice cracked and everyone drowned - Zoli's parents, brothers and sisters. Now she and her grandfather head off in search of a 'company'. Zoli teaches herself to read and write and becomes a singer, a privileged position in a gypsy company as they are viewed as the guardians of gypsy tradition. But Zoli is different because she secretly writes down some of her songs. With the rise of the Nazis, the suppression of the gypsies intensifies. The war ends when Zoli is 16 and with the spread of socialism, the Roma are suddenly regarded as 'comrades' again. Zoli meets Stephen Swann, a man with whom she will have a passionate affair, but who will also betray her. He persuades Zoli to publish some of her work. But when the government try to use Zoli to help them in their plan to 'settle' gypsies, her community turns against her. They condemn her to 'Pollution for Life', which means she is exiled forever. She begins a journey that will eventually lead her to Italy and a new life. Zoli is based very loosely on the true story of the Gypsy poet, Papsuza, who was sentenced to a Life of Pollution by her fellow Roma when a Polish intellectual published her poems. But Colum has turned this into so much more - it's a brilliantly written work that brings the culture and the time to life. ----------------------- Available Again: --------------- 9. The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty by Sebastian Barry (Paperback; 12 Euro / 18 USD / 9 UK) Following the end of the First World War, Eneas McNulty joins the British-led Royal Irish Constabulary. With all those around him becoming soldiers of a different kind, however, it proves to be the defining decision of his life when, having witnessed the murder of a fellow RIC policeman, he is wrongly accused of identifying the executioners. With a sentence of death passed over him he is forced to flee Sligo, his friends, family and beloved girl, Viv. What follows is the story of this flight, his subsequent wanderings, and the haunting pull of home that always afflicts him. Tender, witty, troubling and tragic, "The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty" tells the secret history of a lost man. ----------------------------------- Special Offer for Those Who Read This Far! Order any 3 books from the above two newsletters and I shall send you a 'surprise' fourth novel which I think you will like based upon you order! ----------------------------------- Thank you for your continued support. It is vital for the continuation of this service! If you appreciate receiving theseregular emails, I respectfully request that if you are considering ordering any of these books that you do so through Read Ireland. Using these emails to order books from other suppliers does NOT support Read Ireland nor the continuation of the service. I very much appreciate your patronage. To order books from the Read Ireland Book Review – simply return the Newsletter by clicking your reply button. Please DELETE the books you do NOT want and LEAVE the books you DO WANT to order. Please note that prices for these books on the Read Ireland website may differ from those quoted above. Alternatively, you can send an email to the order department at: Please be sure to include your full mailing address and credit card details including expiration date. You might like to split this information into 2 or 3 emails for security. You can of course also post your order to: Read Ireland, 392 Clontarf Road, Clontarf, Dublin 3,Ireland. Telephone and Facsimile number is: +353-1-853-2063. Read Ireland Web Site Home Page: or Please visit often! If I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you very much for your continued support and custom. Sincerely, Gregory Carr @ Read Ireland
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