THE BLOOMSDAY DEAD - Adrian McKinty
THE BLOOMSDAY DEAD is the third book in the Michael Forsythe "Dead" Trilogy - DEAD I WELL MAY BE and THE DEAD YARD are the earlier books. There's an awful lot to really like in THE BLOOMSDAY DEAD.
Firstly, it is the third book in a trilogy but I've been very remiss and haven't yet read the first two (which failing I vow to rectify). Didn't matter. You can follow the story, you can glean the back story of Michael and how he got himself into the mess that he's trying to resolve in THE BLOOMSDAY DEAD. And it is a big mess. Michael Forsythe has been in a Witness Protection Program - hidden in Lima, Peru trying to stay off arch-enemy Bridget Callaghan's radar. He had killed her fiancée Darkey years before, and after taking over Darkey's criminal empire, Bridget vowed revenge. She'd had quite a few attempts, but as one assassin puts it - Michael's 'un-fucking-killable'. But hostilities are temporarily shelved when two assassins in Michael's bedroom "suggest" a chat on the phone with Bridget is in order. Michael's somewhat confused to find she's not wanting to gloat over his final hour - instead she's asking for his help. Bridget's daughter has been kidnapped - and Michael has a deal on his hands. Get back to Belfast and find Siobhan in 24 hours - much will be forgiven.
Secondly, it is written in a wonderful voice. Whilst the book is dark and the violence is overt and extreme, it's balanced with a lovely touch of gallows humour. Not put on, the tone of the book fits with the world that the story inhabits. There are little observations of how much Ireland has changed since Michael had to run - small glimpses into Michael's mind and out through Michael's eye. The style of writing is compelling - lyrical - quintessentially Irish, at least to this reader. The story rips along at a rapid pace, but all the time you're allowed to feel you know Michael, you can understand him. He's a blunt, brutal man on one level - prepared, willing and able to do whatever it takes to stay alive, but on another level, he's a bit of softie. He's got a history with Bridget and for what it's worth - that means a lot to him.
Finally, it's just a darn good story. Perhaps this is where reading the first two books might, just might, give the reader the edge. There's obviously some threads being tied off in THE BLOOMSDAY DEAD. Knowing the full extent of the back story may just heighten the sense of finality - it certainly didn't make this book any less enjoyable. Really the only thing that wasn't enjoyable about THE BLOOMSDAY DEAD is that it looks like this is meant to be a trilogy and it's now over. And that's just flat out disappointing.
Michael Forsythe might be, as one of his assailants puts it, 'un-fucking-killable', but that doesn't seem to deter those who want him dead. He's ensconced in Lima, reasonably well hidden by the FBI's Witness Protection Programme, but Bridget Callaghan, whose fiancee he murdered twelve years ago, has an enduring wish to see him dead.