The New York Times
The Color of Blood (Ed Loy Series #2)by Declan Hughes
Still adjusting to being back on Irish soil, PI Ed Loy finds himself caught up in a deadly web of lies, betrayals and shrouded histories. Shane Howard, a respected dentist from the venerable Howard medical family of Dublin, asks Loy to search for his missing daughter. The only information available is a set of pictures portraying nineteen-year-old Emily in a series
Still adjusting to being back on Irish soil, PI Ed Loy finds himself caught up in a deadly web of lies, betrayals and shrouded histories. Shane Howard, a respected dentist from the venerable Howard medical family of Dublin, asks Loy to search for his missing daughter. The only information available is a set of pictures portraying nineteen-year-old Emily in a series of very compromising positions.
Seems like a pretty easy case to Loy . . . until people start dying. The very same day that Loy meets Howard, Emily's mother and ex-boyfriend are brutally stabbed to death. But that's only the beginning.
Loy discovers that the Howard family is not all that it seems. For years their name has stood for progress and improvement within Dublin's medical community, but that is only what's on the surface. The true legacy of the Howards is one of scandalous secrets, the type that are best left unearthed. Against his better judgment, Loy is drawn into the very center of the Howards' sordid family history, and what he finds could ruin more than reputations.
In The Color of Blood, Declan Hughes once again brings the city of Dublin to life in all its gritty glory. The dark realities of the streets converge with the lethal secrets of the past in a sinister and graphic thriller that will have readers on edge right up to its shocking conclusion.
The New York Times
Irish playwright Hughes follows up his successful contemporary crime debut, The Wrong Kind of Blood(2006), with another gripping and gritty whodunit set in his native Dublin. PI Ed Loy, who's still adjusting to his return to Dublin after two decades in Los Angeles, gets hired by affluent dentist Shane Howard, the son of a legendary local doctor, to locate Shane's errant teenage daughter, Emily. Loy quickly tracks down Emily, but the sordid intimate relationship she's enjoying with a cousin proves only to be the tip of the iceberg for the Howard family's dysfunction. After several murders, including that of Emily's boyfriend, Loy finds that the roots of the violence may be in the distant past. The sharp writing and strong local color distinguish this novel from the common run of thrillers, though the pileup of corpses at the end is an overly neat way of tying up too many loose ends. (Apr.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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The Color of Blood
The last case I worked, I found a sixteen-year-old girl for her father; when she told me what he had done to her, I let her stay lost. The case before that, I provided a husband with evidence of his wife's infidelity; that night, he beat her to death, then hanged himself in the marital bedroom. Now I was calling on a man who by nightfall would be the prime suspect in two murder cases. Maybe one of these days, I'd get a better class of client. Maybe someday. Maybe not today.
The late October sun hung low in the grey morning sky, a silver glare behind the mist that had blown in south of Seafield. At Bayview Harbour, I swung sharp right up a steep lane and parked by a double-fronted stone Victorian house with a brass plaque on the wall that read "Shane Howard—Dental Surgeon." I opened the low gate and walked along a cobbled path bordered by glistening rowan trees, their berries flaring blood orange through the mist. Crows on the roof beat their wings and made their low tubercular moan. At the heavy green front door, I looked back and breathed in air that was dank and clogged with salt and the musk of rotting leaves. It was the cleanest breath I'd draw until it was all over.
The hall was dimly lit by a dust-stained chandelier with only two working bulbs. Framed photographs of green-shirted Irish rugby players in action hung from the picture rail. The receptionist had snow blond hair and high cheekbones and midnight blue eyes and an engagement ring with red stones that made me think of a crab claw. I gave her a card with my name and what I did for a living printed on it and her eyes widened with anxiety; shecompressed her lips and nodded at me gravely and reached for the phone.
"It's all right, Anita, I'll deal with Mr. Loy."
The speaker was a swollen man in his midforties encased in a charcoal three-piece wool suit that bulged like a bull's pelt. He had a port glow to his full jowls, a plume of dark grey hair swept back from his oily brow and a complacent expression in which boredom and self-satisfaction vied for supremacy. He inclined his head to one side and flexed his protuberant eyes and fleshy mouth in a brisk rictus of acknowledgment. The gesture made him look fleetingly like a gigantic Oriental baby. I looked at the floor and noticed his feet: like those of many fat, self-important men, they were very small.
"Denis Finnegan, Mr. Loy. Mr. Howard's solicitor. I wonder if I might have five minutes of your time." His voice was like the quiet oily purr of an expensive car.
"Mr. Howard spoke to me himself," I said. "He didn't say anything about a solicitor."
Finnegan did the Oriental thing again with his face, this time with a lot of blinking and sighing, as if to deplore the free will with which his client had unaccountably been gifted.
I raised an upturned palm toward him and nodded; Finnegan turned on his heel and, beckoning with a nod of his huge head, began to climb the stairway halfway down the hall. Through a glass door, three patients sat around a large mahogany table, leafing through magazines. I followed Finnegan up the stairs and into a small dark sitting room off the first-floor return. A bare yellow bulb hung from the cobwebbed ceiling; there were concertina files and drug company cartons piled against the ocher walls and a dusty three-piece suite arranged around a low table. Finnegan sat on the couch; I took one of the creaking chairs; it was the kind of antique furniture you felt might break if you shifted in your seat.
"I assume my client has told you everything," Finnegan said, and waited for me to reply. I waited for him to continue. We sat for a while in the ensuing silence. Finnegan crossed an ankle over one knee. His socks were red silk, and his tiny polished brogues gleamed in the yellow light. He raised his eyebrows expectantly, as if it was only a matter of time before I told him what he wanted to know. I stood up and made for the door.
"Mr. Loy, I understood we were going to talk," he said, his voice yelping a little.
"So did I. But you're not talking."
I opened the door. Finnegan stood up surprisingly quickly and waved his hands at me. They were pudgy hands, and they matched his socks.
"Please sit down, Mr. Loy," he said. "I won't take up too much of your time, I assure you."
I shut the door behind me but stayed standing. Finnegan crossed the room, handed me a business card, then retreated to his seat and nodded briskly, ruefully, as if conceding his ill-judged choice of tactics.
"Mr. Howard didn't ask me to, ah, intercede with you today."
"No kidding. I guess he hasn't told you why he wants my intercession either. Well, if he hasn't, I'm not going to."
Finnegan pursed his lips and raised his eyes, if not quite to heaven, at least to the dirty yellow bulb above his head, and steepled his index fingers together; after an interval of meditation, or silent prayer, he exhaled loudly through his nose and began to speak.
"My client's mother recently passed away. She leaves a substantial property on several acres adjacent to the Howard Medical Center. That property, and the lands surrounding, are currently the cause of some contention between my client and his wife."
"And between your client's wife and your wife. You are married to Shane Howard's sister, Sandra, aren't you?"
Finnegan nodded slowly, thoughtfully, his eyes vanishing momentarily into the folds of his crimson jowls.
"You do your homework, Mr. Loy."
"This is Dublin, Mr. Finnegan. I just keep my eyes and ears open. "The Color of Blood. 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
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If you like the detective type of fiction this is a solid, if workmanlike, novel. Certainly one to pick up for a good read and pass a rainy day.
After spending twenty years in Los Angeles, private investigator Ed Loy returned to his hometown of Dublin to bury his mother (see THE WRONG KIND OF BLOOD). He has stayed in the Irish capital although he finds it quite different from the seedy neighborhood he grew up in as the city has given way to an affluent gentrification. --- Dentist Shane Howard of the highly regarded medical family hires Ed to find his missing teenage daughter, Emily. The only apparent clues are a series of photos starring Emily in various sexual positions that to the sleuth are not poses. --- Ed barely blinks as he quickly locates the nineteen years old runaway. She is enjoying a tryst with her cousin. However, the case takes a bizarre lethal spin as someone bludgeons to death Emily's mother and her former boyfriend. Someone wants to insure the family reputation remains intact even if homicides are the only way to keep scandals interred. Unable to accept that the case is done, Loy investigates who the killer is. --- The sequel to THE WRONG KIND OF BLOOD is a gritty dark look at the new money that has brought a revival to Dublin through the eyes of a former resident who only recently retuned to the city. The whodunit is cleverly designed to enable Ed to peel back the outer layer of the veneer of the Howards to the rotting core in the center. Though the climax is too simple of a clean sweep, THE COLOR OF BLOOD is a terrific Irish noir. --- Harriet Klausner