Black Irish - Stephan Talty
A gruesome serial killer has arisen in South Buffalo, a working-class Irish-American neighborhood known as “The County” (the unofficial 27th part of Ireland.) Detective Absalom Kearney, recently returned to Buffalo to care for her father and make a fresh start, is assigned the case. Abbie must deal not only with the killer, but also with a community hostile to outsiders and harboring secrets that may in fact be personal.

This was a generally solid crime novel with a unique setting. Talty does a good job depicting the dreary, decaying city of Buffalo as well as the insular community of South Buffalo. The case is fairly intriguing as well, with the killer attacking a secret group involved with the IRA.

The story is a bit unbalanced, however, with a ton of twists and turns that occur near the very end of the novel. It probably would have been better if the author revealed some more details and clues along the way; as it is, the killer’s reveal is rushed and comes a bit out of nowhere. There are also a few bizarre scenes, including one where Abbie flips out with no prior indication; she threatens a former boyfriend at gunpoint and then immediately proceeds to have ridiculous sex with him. It’s also a bit strange that a cop would drive his or her own car everywhere, especially without any sort of siren.

Despite a few bizarre and implausible twists, Black Irish still has an interesting setting and story.

A review copy was provided through the Librarything Early Reviewers program.