Thursday, February 13, 2014

Review of All the Dead Voices by Declan Hughes (John Murray, 2009)

Private Investigator Ed Loy has been hired to do two jobs.  The first is keep an eye on up-and-coming footballer Paul Delaney, who seems to have fallen into the orbit of Dublin gangster, Jack Cullen.  The second is to look into the murder of a tax inspector fifteen years previously on behalf of his daughter.  The case was seemingly solved, but the convicted man was released on appeal after evidence withheld from the first trial came to light.  That evidence revealed that Brian Fogarty had been investigating the tax affairs of three men, two known gangsters, George Halligan and Jack Cullen, and a now wealthy businessman, Bobby Doyle who is on the verge of opening a landmark bridge in the city.  Cullen is a long time member of the IRA and is now in a bitter dispute with the INLA over drug turf in the city.  The last thing he wants is Loy digging around in the past.  Then two hoodlums that attack Loy are found dead, and so is Paul Delaney, and the past rushes forward to meet the present, and a complex and dangerous game starts to unfold.

All the Dead Voices jaunts along at a nice pace, with plenty of intrigue and action as private investigator Ed Loy tries to make sense of the two cases he’s taken on that quickly become entwined in lethal ways.  Hughes writes with an engaging voice and quickly hooks the reader in.  The characterisation and social and historical context is nicely realised, with a good sense of place regarding Dublin and the tail-end of the Celtic Tiger boom and the period immediately prior to the peace process.  The story is quite complicated, yet the plot remains clear to follow, with a nice mix of threads and intrigue.  However, one does have to suspend one’s sense of belief for the plot to work given the coincidences of the two intersecting plots, Loy's acquaintance with a number of characters,  and at a number of points I kept wondering why Loy was still alive?  Nevertheless, the story is an entertaining and enjoyable addition to the Ed Loy series.

1 comment:

Kelly Robinson said...

I like a "complicated story," I suppose. This sounds like a good one.