Michael's pure and relentless pursuit of Darkey, and a dazzling epilogue set in 2003 in which his past catches up with him, could not be improved upon. McKinty, who now teaches in a Denver high school, is a writer to watch, and Dead I Well May Be, as a portrait of violence and revenge, is a gem. Patrick Anderson
McKinty's second novel is a brutal tale of revenge starring a young illegal immigrant from Ireland who chooses a criminal career in New York over unemployment in Belfast. Arriving in the city in the early 1990s, the antihero Michael Forsythe lands a spot as an enforcer for Irish mobster Darkey White. Though Forsythe at first keeps his hands relatively clean, he soon racks up a significant number of kills in skirmishes with rival crews as well as with Dominican gangs warring for control of the streets. An affair with his boss's girlfriend leads to a setup: he and his mates are trapped in a drug sting in Mexico and abandoned in a remote prison. "If someone grows up in the civil war of Belfast in the seventies and eighties, perhaps violence is his only form of meaningful expression," McKinty writes early in the novel, and the bulk of the story recounts Forsythe's grisly efforts to escape and avenge himself, including a stint with a Dominican group seeking to oust Darkey White. The pace is brisk and energetic, but Forsythe remains a cipher-a self-educated intellectual who listens to Tolstoy on tape during a stakeout but exhibits puzzlingly little interest in finding an alternative to the gun and the knife. The dark, brooding tone is reminiscent of Dennis Lehane, but McKinty has yet to achieve Lehane's depth and complexity. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
A breakout second novel (after Orange Rhymes with Everything, 1997) careens boisterously from Belfast to the Bronx, and 'tis naught but Troubles all the way. Michael Forsythe's on the run, everlastingly it seems. He's 19, psyche-scarred, battle-scarred, Belfast-scarred, so that violence has become "his only form of meaningful expression." To avoid jail, he slips out of the O.C. (Old Country) and into the States, illegally, and almost at once finds his talents in demand: he's good with his fists, his guns, icy in a tight spot, and noticeably cleverer than most. It's 1992, crack is king, and an ambitious Irish gangster named Darkey White wants his turf free of the Dominican influence. Michael's made to order for him-until, that is, the advent of Bridget. Bridget is beautiful, reckless, and, to Michael, fatefully irresistible: "Aye, you can imagine her . . . summoning you to a barrow in the earth. You would know all this and still you would bloody follow her." And Michael does-to his cost, because she belongs to Darkey, who, while unreservedly pleased at Michael's performance on his behalf, has zero tolerance for hanky-panky. Michael and three young colleagues are dispatched to Mexico, on a routine drug deal to be followed by some well-earned downtime, they're told. But it's a betrayal. Instead, they're peached on to the Mexican police and, as a result, imprisoned-in a very bad prison, chillingly evoked, bad enough so that only Michael survives. Eventually, he escapes, taking with him the heaviness of a promise made to a friend: an eye for an eye, invoked on a dying breath. How Michael goes about the business of revenge, and how it reshapes him, is the burden of the rest of the tale.McKinty, born in Northern Ireland and now Colorado-based, is a storyteller with the kind of style and panache that blur the line between genre and mainstream. Top-drawer. Film rights optioned to Anonymous Content. Agent: Bob Mecoy
Peter Blauner Author of The Last Good Day and The Intruder If Frank McCourt had gone into the leg-breaking business instead of school teaching, he might've written a book like Dead I Well May Be. Adrian McKinty's novel is a rollicking, raw, and unsavory delight down and dirty but full of love for words. This is hard-boiled crime fiction with a poet's touch.
Thomas Kelly Author of The Rackets and Payback Dead I Well May Be is a startling, dark poem of a thriller that takes you to the heart of New York City's most bloody era. McKinty writes with élan, and his dialogue is as hard and true as the streets. His hero's quest for vengeance and redemption kept me reading into the loneliest hours of the night. McKinty is the real deal.
Barbara Seranella Author of Unpaid Dues Adrian McKinty has written a literary thriller full of surprising humor of the best kind dark and intelligent.
Anthony Swofford Author of Jarhead McKinty's Michael Forsythe is a crook, a deviant, a lover, a fighter, and a thinker. His Irish-tough language of isolation and longing makes us love and trust him despite his oh-so-great and violent flaws. When you finish this book you just might wish you'd lived the life in its pages, and thought its thoughts, both horrible and sublime.