Black Irish by Stephan Talty
A Novel

75%

13 Critic Reviews

And it’s a compelling, superbly crafted backcloth for a fast-paced mystery packed with intriguing twists and turns, grisly serial killings, a brilliantly suspenseful game of cat and mouse… and all written in Talty’s fine line in crisp, clear, descriptive prose.
-Guardian

Synopsis

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

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


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Stephan Talty

See more books from this Author
STEPHAN TALTY is a widely published journalist who has contributed to the New York Times Magazine, GQ, Men's Journal, Time Out New York, Details, and many other publications. He is the author of Escape from the Land of Snows, the best-selling Empire of Blue Water, The Illustrious Dead, and Mulatto America.
 
Published February 26, 2013 by Ballantine Books. 336 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Dec 08 2013
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for Black Irish
All: 13 | Positive: 10 | Negative: 3

Kirkus

Below average
on Dec 16 2012

This Buffalo-based novel turns out to be more notable for its area history, moody setting and occasional smart turn of phrase than for the thuggish heroine.

Read Full Review of Black Irish: A Novel | See more reviews from Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

Good
on Dec 10 2012

Talty...does a fine job portraying the cohesiveness of the Irish, their loyalty to one another, and their obsession with their history.

Read Full Review of Black Irish: A Novel | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Book Reporter

Good
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on Apr 19 2013

...a near-future pilgrimage to visit some of the landmarks mentioned here is all but assured...You may be able to resist that siren call, but you won’t be able to resist BLACK IRISH from its opening page to its stunning conclusion.

Read Full Review of Black Irish: A Novel

Zimbio

Good
Reviewed by Irish Sudolf on Nov 19 2013

With Black Irish, Stephen Talty stakes a place beside Jo Nesbø, John Sandford, and Tana French on the cutting edge of psychological crime thrillers.

Read Full Review of Black Irish: A Novel

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Pam Norfolk on Jul 24 2013

And it’s a compelling, superbly crafted backcloth for a fast-paced mystery packed with intriguing twists and turns, grisly serial killings, a brilliantly suspenseful game of cat and mouse… and all written in Talty’s fine line in crisp, clear, descriptive prose.

Read Full Review of Black Irish: A Novel | See more reviews from Guardian

Lancashire Evening Post

Good
Reviewed by Pam Norfolk on Dec 02 2013

Black Irish is a superb page-turner and the steely Abbie’s chilling battle of wits with the maniacal killer is psychological crime drama at its best.

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Crime Fiction Lover

Below average
Reviewed by DEATHBECOMESHER on Feb 21 2013

For me, the book’s main negative feature was Absalom herself. She is a square peg in a round hole...It was as if the bare bones of a great central character were there, but just needed a bit more flesh to bring Abbie to life properly.

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Mystery Scene

Good
Reviewed by Debbi Mack on Dec 02 2013

Stephan Talty paints a bleak picture of South Buffalo and immigrant ways gone awry in her well-crafted debut novel. The final revelation not only solves the murders, but forces Abbie to face facts about her own blood relatives and their transgressions.

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Popcorn Reads

Good
Reviewed by MK on Feb 26 2013

Stephen Talty has delivered an excellent nail-biting psychological thriller in Black Irish. I was shocked that it is his first thriller...

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Sharon's Garden of Book Reviews

Good
Reviewed by Sharon Galligar Chance on Mar 15 2013

Talty brings out the big guns of great mystery writing – serial killer, uncooperative witnesses, a brilliant detective and plenty of clues that lead to a spine-tingling, intriguing who-dun-it that will leave readers shivering in anticipation of the outcome.

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Bookgasm

Below average
Reviewed by Alan Cranis on Apr 08 2013

Perhaps the demanding weight of his chosen theme for his first work of fiction left him bound to the deficiencies of his narrative and main character. Or maybe he simply needs to rely less on unfounded expectations and find out what it is that truly makes thrillers work.

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A Book a Week

Excellent
on Mar 05 2013

...I was shocked at the final turn that the events took. This exceptional novel has everything thriller fans have come to expect and gives them more than they could ever have hoped for.

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2 Heads Together

Good
Reviewed by Susan on Sep 23 2013

This is a very fast-moving and engaging mystery. The history of Buffalo was fascinating as it ties to Ireland and the brutal history on Irish and American soil. A true page turner and the beginning of a terrific new mystery series.

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Reader Rating for Black Irish
75%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 328 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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