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Dead I Well May Be

Dead I Well May Be

A Novel

This Irish bad-boy thriller -- set in the hardest streets of New York City -- brims with violence, greed, and sexual betrayal.

"I didn't want to go to America, I didn't want to work for Darkey White. I had my reasons. But I went."

So admits Michael Forsythe, an illegal immigrant escaping the Troubles in Belfast. But young Michael is strong and fearless and clever -- just the fellow to be tapped by Darkey, a crime boss, to join a gang of Irish thugs struggling against the rising Dominican powers in Harlem and the Bronx. The time is pre-Giuliani New York, when crack rules the city, squatters live furtively in ruined buildings, and hundreds are murdered each month. Michael and his lads tumble through the streets, shaking down victims, drinking hard, and fighting for turf, block by bloody block.

Dodgy and observant, not to mention handy with a pistol, Michael is soon anointed by Darkey as his rising star. Meanwhile Michael has very inadvisably seduced Darkey's girl, Bridget -- saucy, fickle, and irresistible. Michael worries that he's being followed, that his affair with Bridget will be revealed. He's right to be anxious; when Darkey discovers the affair, he plans a very hard fall for young Michael, a gambit devilish in its guile, murderous in its intent.

But Darkey fails to account for Michael's toughness and ingenuity or the possibility that he might wreak terrible vengeance upon those who would betray him.

A natural storyteller with a gift for dialogue, McKinty introduces to readers a stunning new noir voice, dark and stylish, mythic and violent -- complete with an Irish lilt.
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  • Scribner | 
  • 320 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451613254 | 
  • July 2010
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List Price $19.99
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One: White Boy in Harlem

I open my eyes. The train tracks. The river. A wall of heat. Unbearable white sunlight smacking off the railings, the street and the god-awfulness of the buildings. Steam from the permanent Con Ed hole at the corner. Gum and graffiti tags on the sidewalk. People on the platform -- Jesus Christ, are they really in sweaters and wool hats? Garbage everywhere: newspaper, bits of food, clothes, soda cans, beer cans. The traffic slow and angry. Diesel fumes from tubercular bus engines. Heat and poison from the exhausts on massive, bruised gypsy cabs.

I'm smoking. I'm standing here on the elevated subway... see more

Articles About This Book

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Posted on Off the Shelf

Posted by Off the Shelf Staff

From the hard streets of Dublin to the back streets of New York from ex-Garda to ex-IRA these are men and women on the front lines of crime in Ireland - perpetrators as well as protectors - and all of them have stories as intricate, thrilling and...

About the Author

Adrian McKinty
Photo Credit:

Adrian McKinty

Adrian McKinty was born and grew up in Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland, when terrorism in Ulster was at its height. Educated at Oxford University, he then immigrated to New York City, where he lived in Harlem for five years, working in bars and on construction crews, as well as a stint as a bookseller. He is the author of Hidden River and Dead I Well May Be, which was short-listed for the Crime Writers' Association Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award. He lives in Denver, Colorado.

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