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Starving Men by S.E. Finkielman

Writing.ie | Book Reviews | Crime/Thriller

By Kirkus Reviews

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An absorbing tale brimming with politics, historical details, and mystery.

In this debut thriller, a psychiatrist in Northern Ireland enlists a professional killer to exact long-awaited revenge on behalf of his country.

Dr. Michael Gleeson, whose father was an active member of the Irish Republican Army, counsels individuals with ties to the decommissioned IRA. His latest patient is Turlough O’Sullivan, an admitted killer suffering from problems like OCD. Michael offers Turlough a paying gig: find and kill John Bingham, aka Lord Lucan, who fled London decades ago under suspicion of murdering his wife and a nanny. Michael’s motive is surprising: One of Lord Lucan’s ancestors evicted citizens from their homes during Ireland’s Great Famine. Michael has other targets for Turlough as well—descendants of powerful men whose actions resulted in the deaths of well over a million Irish people. Over in London, Irish police detective Maggie O’Malley, on temporary assignment to Scotland Yard, investigates Lord Lucan’s murder. When she connects three recent homicides, she may discover a familial link to Michael. But it may be worse for Michael if the “organization” he works for makes the same connection, as the murders would likely derail attempts at peace in Northern Ireland. Complicating matters even further is Michael’s hit list, still with some names not crossed off. Finkielman’s novel is rich in history, particularly specifics about Northern Ireland’s political unrest. Characters from that country are largely sympathetic, their ancestors having endured many atrocities. But the author certainly doesn’t champion the protagonist’s deeds. Enhancing the tale is a rock-solid murder mystery. As Lord Lucan left behind notes professing his innocence, Maggie scrutinizes the unsolved crime, which pushes her closer to Michael. This whodunit has a discernible, enthralling narrative arc that reaches a gratifying resolution before the end. And though the story is more character-driven than action-oriented, Finkielman’s pithy writing gives it an unwavering momentum.

An absorbing tale brimming with politics, historical details, and mystery.

(Note: The reviewer says ‘Northern Ireland’ in the first sentence, whereas Michael Gleeson was born in Belfast but the book is actually based in Dublin).

(c) Kirkus Reviews

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