Saturday 12 April 2008

A Micro Review - Dead I Well May Be by Adrian McKinty

Gerard is eager to read this one, but until he has a chance to get his grubby mits on a copy and do his own review, Colman Keane, an avid fan of the noir and hardboiled has helped out by sending some thoughts on the first Michael Forsythe novel, Dead I Well May Be. So without further a foreword, take it away, Mr Keane.

I’m a bit late to the party considering Serpents Tail first published this in the UK in 2004, but as the saying goes better late than never!

Michael Forsythe, intelligent but unemployed, makes an enforced jump from Belfast to Harlem and swaps a grim future for an uncertain one. Soon in the employ of Darkey White – an Irish crime boss, Michael shows his mettle in the growing conflict with the Dominican gangs in the New York turf wars. Whilst proving his worth, Michael soon finds it doesn’t pay to cross his leader.

I enjoyed the change of settings as Michael moved from NI to the US and Mexico and back– flitting through the differing landscapes, and backwards and forwards through time as he recalls events from his past. His struggle to journey back and wreak violent revenge on Darkey is compelling.

Whilst there’s a fair bit of action throughout it’s not all bish, bash, bosh as McKinty’s prose is thoughtful and intelligent, without ever disappearing up his own arse.

The pace is relentless and the satisfactory conclusion cleverly leaves scope for a follow up.

What defines an Irish crime novel?

Is it the author’s birthplace or the scenery where the action plays out?

By any standards and whatever the definition, McKinty has crafted a superb book that is worthy of a place on the top table, on either side of the Atlantic.

Like a decent pint, Dead I Well May Be will leave you thirsting for more

Colman Keane

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