“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Blood, Glorious Blood

Christmas hadn’t meant much to me in a long while, but I had always liked Advent, the way the anticipation was so intense it could make you clean forget the inevitable letdown in store, just like a bottle, or a woman. Although when a priest sends for a private detective three days before Christmas, the distinction between anticipation and let-down tends to blur: the only thing you can properly be prepared for is the worst.”
      Declan Hughes, THE PRICE OF BLOOD
Yep, it’s Dublin PI Ed Loy, courtesy of Ireland’s very own Ross Macdonald, Declan Hughes, whose latest Ed Loy novel THE PRICE OF BLOOD hits the shelves in March. The good news? It’s only the third in a proposed five-book series. The synopsis-style gist runneth thusly:
Father Vincent Tyrrell – brother of noted racehorse trainer FX Tyrrell – summons private investigator Ed Loy and then simply gives him the name of a missing man – Patrick Hutton – and expects him to take the case. When an exasperated Loy protests that a name does not a case make, Tyrrell pleads the sanctity of the confessional as an excuse for saying no more, but assures Loy the matter is sufficiently grave to merit an investigation.   Loy takes the case, in part because he is hard up for money, so much so that he is double-jobbing: hired by a young couple to find out who is dumping refuse on the green space across from their house, the trail leads Loy to an illegal dump where he finds the body of a young man; before the Guards arrive, Loy finds a phone number on the body, which also bears a distinctive tattoo. The number links to a prominent Dublin bookie who, in turn, links to FX Tyrrell.
  Meanwhile, a dark-haired beauty called Miranda Hart inveigles herself into Loy’s company, offering information about the Tyrrells and more besides. All the while Leo Halligan, the third and most dangerous of the Halligan organised crime family, is out of jail and on Loy’s trail for helping to send his brother down.
  When a body is discovered in a shallow grave on the Wicklow / Kildare border with the same tattoo as the first, Loy discovers it’s the distinctive tattoo sported by jockeys who ride for the Tyrrellscourt Stables: it all points to the body being Patrick Hutton’s, and to the trail leading to FX Tyrrell himself.
  Against the climactic backdrop of the Leopardstown Racecourse Christmas Festival – four days of racing that enthrall the entire country, from the punter lurching from pub to betting shop to the society ladies dining in private boxes high above the turf – as FX Tyrrell attempts to break the course record for winners, Ed Loy must let the light in on the secrets told in the dark of the confessional; he must uncover the blood spilt and the money spent, all the trading and dealing, the gambling and breeding that make up THE PRICE OF BLOOD.
There’s an actual price on blood now? God be with the days when you could have a pint of blood for a flagon of cider and 20 Woodbine, no questions asked …

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