McKinty, Adrian - 'The Bloomsday Dead'
THE BLOOMSDAY DEAD by Adrian McKinty is the third in a series of thrillers featuring reformed Irish gangster Michael Forsythe. As the book opens, Michael is living a relatively quiet life as head of security at a Lima hotel, courtesy of the US Witness Protection Program. However his tranquility is soon spoilt by a team of hitmen sent by his enemy, Bridget Callaghan, in revenge for the murder of her fiancÚ, mobster Darkey White. After foiling the assassins, Bridget makes Michael a tempting offer - she will wipe the slate clean if Michael can find and rescue her young daughter, Siobahn, who has recently disappeared, presumed abducted. Michael takes up her offer and returns to Ireland after an absence of over ten years, leaving a trail of carnage behind him as he meets various threats to his life as he looks for traces of Siobahn in various murky quarters of the Northern Irish underworld. It so happens that it is Bloomsday when Michael returns to Ireland (hence the title) - but Michael has rather different motivations than the typical Bloomsday tourist in Dublin.
THE BLOOMSDAY DEAD is an action packed thriller, with pretty much an attempt on Michael's life per chapter, and guns and knives proliferating on all sides. Despite the action and high corpse count, the quality of writing is uniformly very high. The book is tightly plotted and dialogue is crisp and convincing. McKinty writes with a biting wit, and manages to induce a queasy sympathy in the reader for his anti-hero Forsythe, so that you root for him despite his unethical tactics in his quest to find Siobahn. The only slight quibble I have is that a major plot twist is signposted a little obviously, early in the book. I look forward to reading the earlier books in the series, and catching up on Forsythe's intriguing back-story.
Read another review of THE BLOOMSDAY DEAD.
Laura Root, England