Black Irish

Black Irish

A Novel

Book - 2013
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In this explosive debut thriller by the 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.

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
"Luxuriantly cinematic . . . a compulsively readable crime thriller . . . Move over V. I. Warshawski; Buffalo gets its own crime novel heroine." -- The Buffalo News
"A suspenseful debut novel with a circuitous plot . . . Black Irish is simply a riveting read." -- Booklist (starred review)
"Talty shows his chops when recounting [Buffalo's] Irish roots." -- Kirkus Reviews
"Talty does a fine job portraying the cohesiveness of the Irish, their loyalty to one another, and their obsession with their history. . . . A memorable story of betrayal and vengeance." -- Publishers Weekly
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, c2013
Edition: 1st ed. --
ISBN: 9780345538062
Branch Call Number: FIC Talty 3558
Characteristics: 320 p


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Mar 21, 2015

I should have stopped reading this book. I should have just put it down. Maybe as early as discovering that Abbie Kearney was yet another dysfunctional cop that wasn't loved as a child, was transferred to somewhere else because she couldn't cut it where she was or when I saw she actually only drove a car through red lights & only did fishtails & skids. Or maybe I should have put it down when Abbie broke into a person's house, leapt on him, Shoved a gun into his mouth & a few minutes later had sex with him.
Certainly the killer was twisted & the crimes grizzly but I found it unbelievable that he had time or the means to perform the rituals he performed. I also had to question why the author was trying to imply that there were several suspects when there was really no evidence that anyone else could be doing it.
I question a man writing about a female. I don't think this author gets women. I decided that about the time that Abbie fell through a hole in the ice, got out, crawled so many feet to a hut & thin blanket & after about an hour went back to her car fishtailed back to work & never mentioned it again. Can't recommend this book.

Sep 15, 2014

an okay read. Talty seems to be transitioning from true life to fiction.

hania4987 Aug 08, 2014

elegantly gritty

Jul 28, 2013

A murder mystery, this story keeps you turning the pages. Set in Buffalo, New York with emphasis on Irish history with the IRA and British rule in Northern Ireland. I liked how the story evolved around historical facts and how troubles from times gone by can still haunt the present. I give this book three and a half stars as it strays away from your average "who done it".

Cdnbookworm Jul 12, 2013

This mystery novel is set in Buffalo, but some of the plot takes place on the Canadian side of the Falls too. Absalom Kearney has come home to Buffalo to look after her father, the legendary cop John Kearney, who is suffering from Alzheimer's. She has become a cop too, one every bit as good as her adoptive father. Kearney adopted her when she was just a toddler and even though she has tried to find out more about the mother who gave her up, she hasn't been able to discover anything except for the neighborhood she lived in, the East Side. She grew up in the County, the bastion of Irish Catholicism in the city. But now something is going on in the County, men are being killed, tortured in horrible ways, and no one is talking. Abby learns of a secret Gaelic Clan, the Clan na Gael, that she thinks is running a parallel investigation to her own and warning people against talking to her. But Abby is smart, quick to make connections, and determined to get to the bottom of things in this case. With a trail leading back to the unrest in Ireland, this case has a deep past and lots of twists and turns. This looks to be the first in a continuing series, and I look forward to seeing more of Abby.

Jul 06, 2013

Great detective story....hope he writes more! Enjoyed reading about Buffalo and the neighborhoods he describes in his book. A trip down memory lane for sure!!!

emily8 May 09, 2013

Terrific - Highly recommended hope he writes about a score more of these "Abbie" novels - Buffalo never looked so bad, or is it so good?

ChristchurchLib Apr 08, 2013

"Returning to the working-class Irish-Catholic community of her childhood in South Buffalo to care for her ailing policeman father, Absalom Kearney joins the police department and begins receiving cryptic messages from a twisted serial killer only to find her investigation stymied by her own colleagues. A first novel by the best-selling author of Empire of Blue Water." April 2013 Thrillers and Suspense newsletter

Mar 17, 2013

Engrossing thriller with interesting characters. Detective Abbie Kearnan learns you can go home again, except it won't be the place you remember. She returns to take care of her adoptive dad & while attempting to solve a series of murders, she ends up learning more about where she came from & the man she has called her father.

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