Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Wrong Kind of Blood by Declan Hughes

I would like to start out saying that I enjoyed this novel, but somehow saying that, without qualifying it, doesn't seem quite right. The Wrong Kind of Blood is Irish Noir fiction in every way and it was quite different from the comparatively elemental mystery novels I've gotten used to, (not that I won't still enjoy the simplicity of them). The plot was layered and sometimes a bit bewildering, and the characters were dark and, at times, violent...everything I've come to expect from a good Irish crime novel. It was, all in all, heavy. All of that said though, I did enjoy the book for it's intricacy and will mostly likely continue in the series, (after mixing in some of the mentioned lighter books).

Edward Loy is a private detective that returns to Dublin for his mothers funeral, and afterward, Linda, an old friend, asks him to have a drink...then she asks him to find her husband. That seemingly simple task turns quickly disastrous, and soon takes Ed back to a time before he was born to figure out why people are being killed. No one is who they seem, betrayal and dissimulation are there at every turn, and through it all, Ed has wade through his own feelings and grief to confront the seemingly impossible.

Of course, the story is also not without the subtle Irish humor...
Then he looked up at me, his face a mixture of anger and embarrassment.
"We've decided I'm an alcoholic," he said. "Apparently that's easier than deciding we just don't like each other anymore."
"Would you like a drink then?" I said.
"Fucking sure I would," he said.

Overall, it is a rough story, but for those that like the dark side of Irish crime fiction, Declan Hughes pretty much nails it.

The Wrong Kind of Blood


seana said...

I have to say that I read the first one and though I liked it very much, I didn't actually get around to the second for quite awhile. But when I did, I immediately wanted the third, and the only reason I haven't gone on to 4 and 5 (which are reputed to take the series to a whole new level) in a jiff is that I have other reading assignments ahead of them.

In the second one, I was really struck how much he reminded me of Ross MacDonald, who was the heir apparent to Raymond Chandler. Hughes acknowledges the debt by selecting quotations from him. You could read a couple of MacDonald's and see if you agree.

I must say that I think you have the reviewing thing down. You get across the important points without spoiling the story for anyone. Hope you'll at some point go on to the others, as they're strong. I particularly like Loy's relationship with Tommy, sidekick from hell...

Glenna said...


One of the things I was hoping to see explored was the relationship between Ed and Tommy. I'm curious to see how that works out. And how life in general works out for Ed. It might be awhile before I get to the next one, but I do plan to get to it. I'm in a "mixing it up" kick lately and I'm having fun going through different authors, (and as a result, the books already on my shelf are getting neglected). I'll add Ross MacDonald to my list.

seana said...

As far as the neglect goes, welcome to my world, Glenna.

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

Nice review. Declan Hughes is an author I am interested in reading and I'm thinking of moving him up the TBR queue. Ken Bruen and John Connolly are up next.

Glenna said...


I enjoyed him. I ordered Requiems For the Departed and am looking forward to checking out some of the other Irish authors that way, (I think Ken Bruen is in that one).