Exchange Alleyby Michael Walsh
In this powerful debut novel Michael Walsh delivers an unparalleled jolt of dark, scintillating suspense that blends John Le Carre
"JFK assassination buffs will enjoy bushwhacking their way through this labyrinthine debut…Walsh orchestrates a gripping tale of the horrors that were set in motion the day a president was murdered." —PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
In this powerful debut novel Michael Walsh delivers an unparalleled jolt of dark, scintillating suspense that blends John Le Carre with James Ellroy.
Lt. Francis X. Byrne, a smart, ambitious homicide detective on the rise, lives in a rundown Hell's Kitchen apartment and knows far less about his own life than he believes. Struggling with his temper, his drinking and his relationship with a woman who has him outclassed, Byrne is trying to solve the gruesome slaying of a Danish diplomat and following the trail of Egil Ekdhal's short life into a world where beautiful people play the most dangerous of games.
But as Byrne gets closer to Ekdahl's true identity, he collides with the one man he loathes more than any other: his own FBI agent brother. Tom Byrne has broken every rule in pursuit of a spy's Holy Grail: the KGB's top-secret file on Lee Harvey Oswald. It's a dossier that the FBI, the CIA and even the Mafia desperately want—a file stained by blackmail, intimidation and suicide.
Beginning initially inside a secret CIA dungeon, this first novel from music journalist Walsh (Andrew Lloyd Webber, not reviewed, etc.) quickly cuts to the discovery of a naked, bullet-ridden, castrated male corpse in the Rockland County woods not far from an abandoned BMW with Danish diplomatic plates registered to a Manhattan address. NYPD Homicide Lieutenant Francis X. Byrne studies the corpse in the gruff and tough style we expect from seen-it-all New York cops until he finds, inside the BMW, a photo of two women, one of whom seems to be Byrne's mother minus 30 or so years. The unsettled Byrne pockets the photo, makes a call on the Danish consulate, and lets Ingrid, who's not afraid to be a sexy Danish cliché spy, take him (as a prelude to seduction) through some of Manhattan's more disgusting kinky sex clubsclubs that were frequented by the murder victim, a Danish consulate employee named Egil Ekdahl, who had his own perverse version of an Oedipus complex. Walsh punctuates numerous in-your-face close-ups of urban debauch with giddy flashbacks that reveal Ekdahl's true identity as a KGB spy who had something to do with a Russian defector who may have been a KGB spy with information about Lee Harvey Oswald and a plot to kill John F. Kennedy. The story falls apart when Byrne's sputtering, mean-spirited brother Tom, an FBI agent, swaggers onto the scene with revelations about Cold War sexual blackmail and the news that nothing is as it seems, including their dear old mom. Byrne is forced to accept the notion that good and evil are relative in more ways the one.
Crisply written and thoroughly preposterous mean-streeter. An afterword implies a factual basis to some of the author's fictive imaginings.
- Diversion Books
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Meet the Author
Michael Walsh is the author of the bestselling Devlin novels—Hostile Intent, Early Warning and Shock Warning—as well as a being a journalist and screenwriter. His prequel/sequel to the movie Casablanca, As Times Goes By, was translated into at more than 20 languages. He won the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award for music criticism while at the San Francisco Examiner and went on to become the music critic for Time Magazine, and the writer of five popular books on classical music, musical theater and opera. His column for the National Review under the name of the taunting, ultra-liberal, wannabe screenwriter, “David Kahane” lead to his book Rules for Radical Conservatives, which was published in 2010. His forthcoming books include the next two Devlin novels and The Devil’s Pleasure Palace, a work of political non-fiction.
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Did not trancfer from book to nook well