This Irish bad-boy thriller -- set in the hardest streets of New York City -- brims with violence, greed, and sexual betrayal.
"I didn't want to go to America, I didn't want to work for Darkey White. I had my reasons. But I went."
So admits Michael Forsythe, an illegal immigrant escaping the Troubles in Belfast. But young Michael is strong and fearless and clever -- just the fellow to be tapped by Darkey, a crime boss, to join a gang of Irish thugs struggling against the rising Dominican powers in Harlem and the Bronx. The time is pre-Giuliani New York, when crack rules the city, squatters live furtively in ruined buildings, and hundreds are murdered each month. Michael and his lads tumble through the streets, shaking down victims, drinking hard, and fighting for turf, block by bloody block.
Dodgy and observant, not to mention handy with a pistol, Michael is soon anointed by Darkey as his rising star. Meanwhile Michael has very inadvisably seduced Darkey's girl, Bridget -- saucy, fickle, and irresistible. Michael worries that he's being followed, that his affair with Bridget will be revealed. He's right to be anxious; when Darkey discovers the affair, he plans a very hard fall for young Michael, a gambit devilish in its guile, murderous in its intent.
But Darkey fails to account for Michael's toughness and ingenuity or the possibility that he might wreak terrible vengeance upon those who would betray him.
A natural storyteller with a gift for dialogue, McKinty introduces to readers a stunning new noir voice, dark and stylish, mythic and violent -- complete with an Irish lilt.
'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 is dead, and he has returned home to bury her. He soon realizes that the world waiting for him is very different from the one he left behind all those years ago. 'Tommy said you found people who were missing', Linda Dawson tells him the evening of his mother's funeral. Linda's husband has disappeared. She doesn't want the police involved. So reluctantly, Loy agrees to investigate. 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 violence. And murder.
Still stinging from his unceremonious ouster from the Garda Siochana-The Guards, Ireland's police force-and staring at the world through the smoky bottom of his beer mug, Jack Taylor is stuck in Galway with nothing to look forward to. In his sober moments Jack aspires to become Ireland's best private investigator, not to mention it's first-Irish history, full of betrayal and espionage, discourages any profession so closely related to informing. But in truth Jack is teetering on the brink of his life's sharpest edges, his memories of the past cutting deep into his soul and his prospects for the future nonexistent.Nonexistent, that is, until a dazzling woman walks into the bar with a strange request and a rumor about Jack's talent for finding things. Odds are he won't be able to climb off his barstool long enough to get involved with his radiant new client, but when he surprises himself by getting hired, Jack has little idea of what he's getting into.Stark, violent, sharp, and funny, The Guards is an exceptional novel, one that leaves you stunned and breathless, flipping back to the beginning in a mad dash to find Jack Taylor and enter his world all over again. It's an unforgettable story that's gritty, absorbing, and saturated with the rough-edged rhythms of the Galway streets. Praised by authors and critics around the globe, The Guards heralds the arrival of an essential new novelist in contemporary crime fiction.
I chose each of these for the simple reason that they are all the start of series characters for each author. They've each published more after these novels so, especially in the case of Bruen, they have backlists just waiting to be explored. If you havn't read any of these guys, I hope you check them out and enjoy them as I have.