Like San Francisco when Hammett wrote, or LA in Chandler’s time, Dublin has become a gold rush town: an economic boom dubbed the “Celtic Tiger” had brought unprecedented prosperity, virtually full employment and house prices that doubled and quadrupled. It also brought what all boomtowns attract: ruthless property developers, a new breed of organized criminals and a thriving drug trade for people with too much money celebrated with cocaine and people with too little sought solace in heroin. The gangland murders in Dublin don’t make the front page any longer.

These conditions were ripe for a new crop of crime writers who write Irish Noir. Last year talented playwright Declan Hughes burst onto the crime writing scene with his debut The Wrong Kind of Blood featuring private detective Ed Loy. He returned last month with The Color of Blood (William Morrow, ISBN: 0060825499, $24.95), which was praised by The New York Times: “overheated theatrics are a proper fit for his tough-guy hero, whose stern moral code and haunted personal history lend credibility to Hughes’s recurring theme of ‘the sins of the fathers’ and the ‘legacy of tainted blood’ they pass on to their children.”

Description: 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.

Irish Noir is a genre all to itself, with a dark, horrific side that keeps readers coming back for more. If you’d like a taste, Declan Hughes is the place to start. Check it out: The Color of Blood

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