Hired by Father Vincent Tyrrell to find Patrick Hutton, a jockey missing for 10 years, Ed Loy quickly finds himself investigating not one but two grisly murders in playwright Hughes's stellar third novel to feature the Dublin PI (after 2007's The Color of Blood). At the same time, Loy must stay on his guard against members of the Halligan family, who blame him for the incarceration of one of their own. An innocent fling with the mysterious Miranda Hart leads Loy ever deeper into the heart of a complex drama that spans decades and involves several members of the powerful Tyrrell family. At least one murder turns out not to be what it seems. Beaten up, warned off and yet undaunted, Loy uncovers a horrible series of secrets, leading to a violent and labyrinthine conclusion at a famous Irish horse-racing festival. This intelligent, often brutal thriller will have readers' hearts racing from start to finish. (Mar.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
The Price of Blood (Ed Loy Series #3)by Declan Hughes
Even the best private eye needs more than a name to find a missing person—but that's all the information Ed Loy gets from Father Vincent Tyrrell, brother of prominent racehorse trainer F. X. Tyrrell. Loy is not without luck, however, and a phone number inadvertently discovered on an unidentified body sends him digging deep into the Tyrrells' family history.
Even the best private eye needs more than a name to find a missing person—but that's all the information Ed Loy gets from Father Vincent Tyrrell, brother of prominent racehorse trainer F. X. Tyrrell. Loy is not without luck, however, and a phone number inadvertently discovered on an unidentified body sends him digging deep into the Tyrrells' family history. But there is more to this revered clan of horse breeders, traders, and gamblers than meets the eye—a fact confirmed by the death of two more people with connections to the Tyrrells. On the eve of one of Ireland's most anticipated sporting events, Loy is betting his life in order to disrupt a twisted killer's master plan.
Deadly passions beget dark secrets in a chilling story that will have readers on edge throughout, as award-winning author Declan Hughes once again paints an arresting portrait of an Ireland not found in any guidebooks.
The third title in Irish playwright Hughes's (The Wrong Kind of Blood; The Color of Blood ) acclaimed series of gritty Dublin thrillers featuring P.I. Ed Loy portrays the downside of the booming Irish economy. The real estate bubble has many young Dubliners in over their heads, days away from foreclosure and being forced to move into seedy subdivisions teeming with family gangs. His own dwindling bank balance finds Ed taking more domestic disturbance cases than he'd like, stuck doing surveillance in the same seedy subdivisions. When Father Vincent Tyrrell summons him to help with a very different kind of family matter, the change sounds appealing: he's to track down a missing member of the legendary Tyrrell horse racing dynasty. The case seems surprisingly simple after he finds a phone number linked to the missing Tyrrell in the pocket of a corpse while pursuing another matter. But Ed suddenly discovers himself caught in a web of drugs, race fixing, gambling, incest, and serial murder among the rich and famous. The family implodes violently, threatening to destroy Ed with them. It all comes down to a bet on a deadly long shot at the famous Leopardstown Racecourse Christmas Festival. Hughes's abilities to craft a "Dublin noir" crime novel and to expand the character of Ed Loy combine to make this a welcome addition to an eminently readable new series. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ 11/1/07.]-Susan Clifford Braun, Aerospace Corp., El Segundo, CACopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Read an Excerpt
The Price of Blood
An Irish Novel of Suspense
Three weeks before Christmas, Father Vincent Tyrrell asked Tommy Owens to fill in for George Costello, who had been the sacristan at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Bayview for thirty years until he was rushed to the hospital with inoperable stomach cancer. A lot of Father Tyrrell's parishioners were outraged, to put it mildly, since Tommy was known as a dopehead and a malingerer and a small-time drug dealer, one of the die-hard crew who still drank in Hennessy's bar, and not a retired Holy Joe shuffling about the church in desert boots and an acrylic zip-up cardigan like George Costello, God have mercy on him. And fair enough, the first time I saw Tommy on the altar in cassock and surplice, it was a bit like something out of a Buñuel film.
But what a lot of his parishioners didn't know was that Tommy had been one of Father Tyrrell's most devout altar boys until he was eleven, when the sacrament of confirmation had the unintended reverse effect of enfeebling his faith entirely, or that since Tommy's mother had dropped dead of a stroke a month ago, Tommy had been haunting the church, the only soul under seventy at ten mass every morning. Now he was standing by to clear the altar after eleven-thirty mass on the last Sunday in Advent as I stood and made the best fist I could of rejoicing with the rest of the congregation about Emmanuel's imminent arrival.
O come, thou Dayspring, come and cheer
Our spirits by thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death's dark shadows put to flight.
The altarcloths and hangings were purple; the tree was decorated and the great crib was installed in a side altar; the fourth candle on the wreath had been lit. Christmas hadn't meant much to me in a long while, never mind Emmanuel, but I had always liked Advent, the way the anticipation was so intense it could make you clean forget the inevitable letdown in store, just like a bottle, or a woman. Although when a priest sends for a private detective the day before Christmas Eve, the distinction between anticipation and letdown tends to blur; the only thing you can properly be prepared for is the worst.
Looking at Tommy, now he had stowed his vestments in the sacristy, I wondered if those graying parishioners streaming past me with their damp winter coats and their filmy eyes and their scent of lavender and pan stick and dust had revised their opinion of him; certainly he was a far cry from the goateed, straggle-haired ne'er-do-well of just a few months ago. The haircut and beardless chin came from the Howard case he had worked with me (a case he was in no small way the cause of; a case in which, not incidentally, he saved my life), but the rest of it—the multicolored acrylic jumper that was not a zip-up cardigan but may as well have been, the relaxed-fit cords, the soft-soled shoes—was close enough to George Costello to reassure even the most doctrinaire old biddy of the strength of his devotion. And of course, Tommy dragging his ruined foot—the result of a stomping from George Halligan for stealing his brother Leo's bike back when we were kids—surely completed the picture of harmless piety. To my eyes, it looked like nothing but the antic shades of mourning, the haphazard motley of confusion and grief.
Tommy came down the aisle toward me; I stood out from the pew and genuflected; he turned and I trailed after him to the altar, where there was another genuflection from us both, old enough to have had it bred into our bones. For all the Godless years I worked in L.A., people found it strange that I could never break the habit of crossing myself when I passed a hearse, or heard the tolling of a church bell. I still can't. I stepped up onto the altar to make for the sacristy, but Tommy turned left and exited through the side door. I followed out into the bright, cold morning and Tommy led me down a path to the rear of the churchyard. We stopped at a low metal gate beneath a row of bare sycamore and horse chestnut trees glistening with frost and Tommy, still determinedly avoiding my eyes, pointed over it to a redbrick Victorian villa fifty yards away.
"I know where the presbytery is, Tommy," I said. "Sure didn't we once have thirty sacks of pony nuts and four dozen bales of hay sent there, for the crack?"
"And Father Tyrrell knew it was us," Tommy said. "Down to the school the next day with him."
"He knew it was you," I said. "You know why? Because you gave the deliveryman your real name."
"I didn't," Tommy said. "I said Timmy Owens, not Tommy."
"Yeah. A mystery how he caught on to us, really."
"I never gave you up, Ed."
"You didn't need to, sure everyone knew we hunted as a pair. Jasus, the clatter he gave us."
"He went easy on you. They always did. They knew deep down you were a good boy. You were just easily led, that's all, by tramps the like of me."
I laughed at that, my breath pluming in the crisp air, and Tommy's face creased into something like a grin. It was the longest conversation we'd had since the funeral.
"How're you making out with this sacristan thing, Tommy?" I said, half fearing he'd say something like "'Tis a great comfort," or "Sure 'tis the will of God," in reply.
Tommy grimaced, looked over his shoulder at the last of the 'oul ones straggling out of the church, shrugged and lit a cigarette.
"It's not exactly me, is it?" he said. We both laughed at that, furtive, back-of-the-class laughter in the chill noon sunlight.The Price of Blood
An Irish Novel of Suspense. Copyright © by Declan Hughes. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Meet the Author
An award-winning playwright and screenwriter, Declan Hughes is cofounder and former artistic director of Rough Magic Theatre Company. He was Writer-in-Association with the Abbey Theatre and lives in Dublin with his wife and two daughters.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews
Declan Hughes is developing as one of the better Irish novelists. This is a good piece of work. I would fault it on being over-plotted ... there is way to much stuff going on that doesn't advance the story and also does not add color to the story. Almost as though he gets sidetracked by his own fancies and it takes him a bit to get back to the story. But if you're a fan of the detective genre, this is a solid piece of work and well worth the read.
In Dublin, Father Vincent Tyrrell hires private investigator Ed Loy to find missing jockey Patrick Hutton. The case is made complex by the fact that his client offers only a name and that Hutton disappeared about a decade ago. Loy wants to say forget it as he figures he has little chance of finding the man, but the fee is too good to ignore.-------------- Loy knows he must tread the streets very carefully as the Halligan family plan to rough him and more because they hold him culpable for one of them residing behind bars. As he makes inquiries on another case involving a homicide that leads back to Father Vincent¿s brother affluent business mogul F.X. Tyrell, Loy soon finds himself investigating two other related homicides connected to the Tyrell family. Beaten severely and told to back off or else, Loy keeps digging until the trail takes him to the four-day Leopardstown Race-course Christmas Festival.--------------- In his third appearance (see THE COLOR OF BLOOD and THE WRONG KIND OF BLOOD) Loy does what he does best: gets tattered and threatened but keeps on ticking. The story line is fast-paced from the opening request and though filled with neat twists never slows down until the final altercation. Bruised, battered and beaten, Loy still conducts intelligent inquires whose link is F.X. Private investigative fans will enjoy Declan Hughes¿ strong Irish mystery.------------ Harriet Klausner