Stephan Talty

Black Irish

"'I have the distinct impression that this is one author that many readers will be adding to their ‘not to be missed’ list! '"


Buffalo is a town that should have scaled the great heady heights and become THE place to live and make your fortune. But that time never came for Buffalo. Now it is a place of two divides: the Irish (aka ‘The County’) and the rest of Buffalo. When Jimmy Ryan is found mutilated in a sacred place the Irish populace closes ranks.

Absalom Kearney is one of those anomalies: neither an outsider nor an insider. She simply is. Despite being adopted and brought up by her father, John Kearney, the local police hero who took her in after her drug addicted mother died Abbie has always been recognised as Kearney’s daughter but never as ‘one of Irish community’.

Now someone is killing notable personalities within that close community and they have closed ranks and are conducting their own investigation to find the killer. But Abbie Kearney is very much like her ex-policeman father and failure to catch this maniac is not an option. As more bodies are discovered, Abbie discovers that the truth lies many decades ago when she was a baby and is directly connected with a secret club ‘Clan na Gael’ and soon Abbie finds that all that is happening is about to strike very close to home.

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There is a raw edginess to ‘Black Irish’ that makes it stand out from the normal ‘serial killer thriller’. Yes, the deaths of these men are gruesome although I didn’t feel they were lingered upon. What Talty does is deliver a first-rate thriller with a three-dimensional lead detective who I sense will become even more outlined as the books progress. What Talty does with skill is show Absalom’s (or Abbie as she is called) isolation within the community she has grown up in but never really been accepted. Even her adopted father loved her with out-stretched arm. You feel she loves her father merely for being her protector than as a father figure. Although I greatly enjoyed ‘Black Irish’ there were a few issues. I would have liked Talty to chronicle the investigation by the Irish community a little more as I felt that would have held more intrigue. The end of the novel was slightly rushed but the promise is definitely there for this author to grow and perfect his craft with each new instalment. He has the perfect muse with Absalom Kearney and I look forward to Talty defining her even more. I would also like to see Dr. Reinholdt again as I felt that he was underused. You may be asking why with some criticisms that I still gave ‘Black Irish’ a five. Well, it is because I feel that this author and this series have great potential and this debut is the raw bones and the flesh will be added once other books are published. By the end of the book there is some resolution but there are the inevitable questions still to be answered for another day. I found ‘Black Irish’ a captivating read and I will be rushing to see what Talty throws at Kearney in his next novel. I have the distinct impression that this is one author that many readers will be adding to their ‘not to be missed’ list!

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