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Black Irish: A Novel by Stephan Talty
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Black Irish: A Novel (edition 2013)

by Stephan Talty

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1685570,815 (3.61)50
Member:cammykitty
Title:Black Irish: A Novel
Authors:Stephan Talty
Info:Ballantine Books (2013), Hardcover, 336 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:**1/2
Tags:Early Review, Irish, immigration, mystery

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Black Irish by Stephan Talty

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Rating: 4* of five

The Publisher Says: In this explosive debut thriller by the New York Times bestselling author of Empire of Blue Water, a brilliant homicide detective returns home, where she confronts a city’s dark demons and her own past while pursuing a brutal serial killer on a vengeful rampage.

Absalom “Abbie” Kearney grew up an outsider in her own hometown. Even being the adopted daughter of a revered cop couldn’t keep Abbie’s troubled past from making her a misfit in the working-class Irish American enclave of South Buffalo. And now, despite a Harvard degree and a police detective’s badge, she still struggles to earn the respect and trust of those she’s sworn to protect. But all that may change, once the killing starts.

When Jimmy Ryan’s mangled corpse is found in a local church basement, this sadistic sacrilege sends a bone-deep chill through the winter-whipped city. It also seems to send a message—one that Abbie believes only the fiercely secretive citizens of the neighborhood known as “the County” understand. But in a town ruled by an old-world code of silence and secrecy, her search for answers is stonewalled at every turn, even by fellow cops. Only when Abbie finds a lead at the Gaelic Club, where war stories, gossip, and confidences flow as freely as the drink, do tongues begin to wag—with desperate warnings and dire threats. And when the killer’s mysterious calling card appears on her own doorstep, the hunt takes a shocking twist into her own family’s past. As the grisly murders and grim revelations multiply, Abbie wages a chilling battle of wits with a maniac who sees into her soul, and she swears to expose the County’s hidden history—one bloody body at a time.

My Review: The Doubleday UK meme, a book a day for July 2014, is the goad I'm using to get through my snit-based unwritten reviews. Today's prompt is to discuss one's favorite crime novel, in honor of some British crime-novel beano.

Now. There are those *significant glares* who claim to be all innocent tra-leee-laaaaaah when accosted and reminded of their culpability as Satanic Book Warblers. Oh, just all the eye-battings and who-meings and fan-wavings of an amateur production of Gone With The Wind. Here is the evidence linking my purchase of this novel from its proximate warbler Bonnie to the ur-Warbler, the coven's second-in-command after the Greater Trilliumated Warbler herself, the Ombre-crested Satanic Book Warbler. Go on, click through. The guilty party is even bolded for your convenience.

Despite there being naggingly annoying lapses in continuity at three or four points, I was sucked into the violent and rage-filled vortex of this book from the get-go. The story, a standard one, is told at a breathless pace in direct, unpretentious language. The setting is seared into my memory. I feel as if I could find the park, drive the streets, point to the places I'd read about. I'm sure as hell not stopping for the cops there, Absalom/Abbie excepted.

The family secrets, the community guilt, the larger and wider implications of the vicious and bloody killings, make this procedural far more than an afternoon's entertainment. It's not Art, it's excitement! It's brutal and tough and doesn't give a flying fuck if your girlie-girl feelies are all bent. It's too busy setting you up for the next bashing!

I liked the hell out of it. It's good, every now and then, to sluice the nicey-nice from one's brain with a bracing dose of mean as fuck because I wanna be. There is NO oxytocin released in the reading of this book. Adrenaline, yes; androgen, oh my yes. We won't go into the testosterone release figures. Post-menopausal women are cautioned that they might find themselves assuming male secondary characteristics.

The sensitive members of the party are STRONGLY cautioned not to so much as handle this book. Don't do it, don't even contemplate it. Not for yinz.

Fans of the 87th Precinct, we found you a new writer to follow!


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
( )
4 vote richardderus | Jul 17, 2014 |
Pretty good, moved along well. A bit of a surprise at the end. ( )
  NHNick | Apr 18, 2014 |
This is a hard to put down, well-written novel. Talty introduces some well developed characters and background for them that is both interesting and fun to read. The back-story and historical research is nicely integrated.

There are few twists that were completely unexpected, which is not easy to do in this day and age, given all the murder/thriller/suspense novels, and stories and films and television shows....

Talty is an author to watch and I'm looking forward to reading more of his fiction and non-fiction. I can't believe I waited as long as I did to read this and when it was due at the library and I had to wait for someone else to read it, I was biting at the bit waiting for it! I finished it in a couple of days of so much reading I had sore eyes!

If you like mysteries/suspense/thrillers, I highly recommend this book. ( )
  homericgeek | Apr 14, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Black Irish, by Stephan Talty, is a disturbing novel exploring the pain we inflict on each other in the guise of loyalty. Abby Kearney is from the Irish section of Buffalo called the County. She is from the County but not of the County. She was adopted as a toddler and never quite fit in. Grown, she left to attend Harvard and become a cop in Miami. Now she's back. She has joined the Buffalo police force and a series of horrific murders challenges her ability to work within this closed community.
This suspenseful, tension-filled novel includes graphic depictions of violence which are integral to the plot. Although I felt some aspects of the resolution could have been better integrated into the story, it was an effective and satisfying conclusion.
I found the story as affecting the second time I read it as the first. It was worth both readings and I will be looking for the book's successor. The second Abby Kearney novel, Hangman, is due out this May. ( )
  margitc | Jan 10, 2014 |
bsalom “Abbie” Kearney grew up in Buffalo, NY, but never felt at home. Adopted as a young child by an Irish-American cop Abbie has grown up in a community composed mainly of those of Irish descent where hair is either red or mousy brown and skin is fair. Abbie’s black hair is one of the reasons that she stands out. This close-knit community doesn’t accept outsiders and takes care of its own. Good or bad “the community” will handle it. Now she has returned to Buffalo to care for her father who is dealing with the complications that Alzheimer’s brings. She’s also come home as a police detective with a Harvard degree. Strike three? There’s a serial killer on the loose and Abbie is in charge of the investigation.

Jimmy Ryan, a dutiful employee of National Grid and a member of “the community”, making his rounds reading meters disappears. He awakens blindfolded and tied to a chair. There’s someone in the room with him. Jimmy can feel the presence of a body “The thing moved around in front of him. He could feel its physical mass. It was as if some ancient animal sense had woken along the nerves of his skin to compensate for the loss of sight.” The “thing” unties one of Jimmy’s hands and makes him trace a scar on the things forehead. Jimmy knows that a message is trying to be conveyed, but what? What has Jimmy done to deserve this kind of hatred?

Two days later Abbie arrives at the Ryan household responding to a missing person report trying to get to his wife before the machinery of the community shuts her off. Dealing with Patty Ryan is like trying to get blood out of the proverbial stone. Abbie knows that Patty is holding back, they both know that at this point they’re looking for a body, and that the community is on the case. The body is found, but it’s not just a body. It’s clear that the killer is sending a message and that he’s not done.

This is a very fast-moving and engaging mystery. The history of Buffalo was fascinating as it ties to Ireland and the brutal history on Irish and American soil. A true page turner and the beginning of a terrific new mystery series.

Now we wait (patiently?) for the next Absalom installment. ( )
  libsue | Dec 9, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345538064, Hardcover)

In this explosive debut thriller by the New York Times bestselling author of Empire of Blue Water, a brilliant homicide detective returns home, where she confronts a city’s dark demons and her own past while pursuing a brutal serial killer on a vengeful rampage.

Absalom “Abbie” Kearney grew up an outsider in her own hometown. Even being the adopted daughter of a revered cop couldn’t keep Abbie’s troubled past from making her a misfit in the working-class Irish American enclave of South Buffalo. And now, despite a Harvard degree and a police detective’s badge, she still struggles to earn the respect and trust of those she’s sworn to protect. But all that may change, once the killing starts.

When Jimmy Ryan’s mangled corpse is found in a local church basement, this sadistic sacrilege sends a bone-deep chill through the winter-whipped city. It also seems to send a message—one that Abbie believes only the fiercely secretive citizens of the neighborhood known as “the County” understand. But in a town ruled by an old-world code of silence and secrecy, her search for answers is stonewalled at every turn, even by fellow cops. Only when Abbie finds a lead at the Gaelic Club, where war stories, gossip, and confidences flow as freely as the drink, do tongues begin to wag—with desperate warnings and dire threats. And when the killer’s mysterious calling card appears on her own doorstep, the hunt takes a shocking twist into her own family’s past. As the grisly murders and grim revelations multiply, Abbie wages a chilling battle of wits with a maniac who sees into her soul, and she swears to expose the County’s hidden history—one bloody body at a time.

With Black Irish, Stephen Talty stakes a place beside Jo Nesbø, John Sandford, and Tana French on the cutting edge of psychological crime thrillers.

Advance praise for Black Irish
 
“Abbie Kearney is one of the most intriguing new suspense protagonists in memory, and Black Irish marks the captivating start of a brilliant thriller series.”—Tess Gerritsen, New York Times bestselling author of Last to Die
 
“A memorable story of betrayal and vengeance.”—Publishers Weekly

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:00:55 -0400)

Returning to the working-class Irish-American community of her childhood in South Buffalo, homicide detective Absalom Kearney begins receiving cryptic messages from a twisted serial killer only to find her investigation stymied by her own colleagues.

(summary from another edition)

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