THE WRONG KIND OF BLOOD - Declan Hughes
Okay, so Ed Loy is a bit of a lone wolf character. He's also obviously been endowed with some sort of minor super-powers. You know the sort. No matter how much of a kicking he takes, no matter how much battering, beating, brawling and bashing goes on, Ed keeps on keeping on. He might limp a bit occasionally. He might grimace when a recent scar stings, but there's a job to be done and Ed's going to do that job. Of course this sort of character can get right up the reader's nose unless they have something else - that personality or style - that means you can forgive the minor super-human powers and just read the book. Ed's definitely one of those blokes for this reader at least.
It doesn't hurt that this is a complex tale. After 20 years Ed comes back to a Dublin that might have changed a lot, to people that haven't. Meeting up with old friends and acquaintances at his mother's funeral, the fabulous opening paragraph of this book happens - "The night of my mother's funeral, Linda Dawson cried on my shoulder, put her tongue in my mouth and asked me to find her husband". That has got to be one of the all time great openings, and luckily the tone and style that it sets remains through the book.
Ed finds Linda's husband, and along the way he finds out a lot about his father, his mother and the ties that bind them all back through the family lines. Typically Irish in that the family loyalties and enmities that go back generations, are faithfully carried forward to the current day; typically hard-boiled thriller in that it portrays a stark brutality, beautifully balanced by a central character that's as tough as nails and fragile as glass all at the same time.
THE WRONG KIND OF BLOOD is the first Ed Loy book, the second book is THE COLOUR OF BLOOD which I was lucky enough to read first. WRONG KIND OF BLOOD fills in where Ed has come from a lot, but both books stand alone and work as a series if you're lucky enough to get the order right.
Ed Loy hasn't been back to Dublin for twenty years. But his mother has died, and he has returned to bury her. Loy realises that the world waiting for him is very different from the one he left behind.
When an old school friend asks him to investigate the disappearance of her husband, Loy reluctantly agrees. And suddenly in the Dublin where he grew up - among the Georgian houses, Victorian castles and modern villas of Castlehill - Loy finds himself thrown into a world of organised crime, long-hidden secrets, corruption and murder.