Bruen, Ken - 'Sanctuary'
Galway based private investigator Jack Taylor receives an unusual note in the post one day that implies that a list of victims will be killed. Jack considers that this has nothing to do with him until a policeman (guarda) and a judge die in mysterious circumstances. When a nun and a baby are added to the list Jack decides that he has to find them at all costs.
As usual in stories of this kind, Jack doesn't get on with the local police and they seem to have their own agenda and delight in violent confrontations with him.
The story is told in the first person and Jack is a sort of Irish Philip Marlowe with all the heavy drinking, cussing and swearing that one associates with the Chandler characters, except that here, the staple drinks for Taylor are Irish Whiskey and Guinness whereas Marlow might use Bourbon and Budweiser.
There is a great deal of wry humour in this story and for any reader familiar with Galway city there are plenty of references to local landmarks, and many of the famous pubs are used as meeting points.
I've never read any stories by this author before but I was quite impressed and will certainly look out for his name in future as I see he has written over 25 other books.
Terry Halligan, England