So Michael Forsythe is an Irish bad boy in the time of "The Troubles". He joined the British army essentially to get out of Northern Ireland but he couldn't stay within the lines prescribed by that estimable organization and kept getting into trouble until finally the army kicked him to the curb.
Back home in Belfast, he continues his bad boy ways and is constantly getting into more trouble until finally he's used up all his chances. With no further prospects in sight, he takes what's on offer - a ticket to America and work with the Irish mafia there. New York here he comes.
Michael assures us that he didn't want to go to America and he didn't want to work for Darkey White, the memorably named mafia chieftain, but he had not yet seen his twentieth birthday and what other choices did he have? He had entered the country illegally and so his job options were limited.
He settles into his routine with the Darkey White crew. He's a kind of enforcer and it is sometimes violent work. Unfortunately for Michael, even here he finds it difficult to toe the line, especially when it comes to women. He has a wandering eye for the female sex and when his eye settles onto Darkey White's mistress, the reader knows that this is not going to end well.
Michael Forsythe is the sole narrator of this very noir story, told with a strong Irish lilt in the voice. He gives us a strictly straightforward narration; first this happened, then this. But we are also privy to his dreams and his memories, all of which occasionally makes for some dark reading.
It seems that people tended to underestimate Michael's toughness and resilience. Certainly Darkey White did, much to his dismay. The retribution he planned for his employee as payback for his having seduced his mistress does not quite work out as intended. Michael is a survivor. After all, this is the first book in a trilogy, so how could it be otherwise?
I had never read any of Adrian McKinty's work, but he certainly has a flair for storytelling. The plot rolls along relentlessly, only stalling a bit during an interlude in Mexico. And his main character is an interesting chap of the "bad boy with a heart of gold" genre. Moreover, during his travels, Michael relies very heavily on the kindness of strangers. Fortuitously, there always seems to be another stranger willing to help him out.
What does the future hold for young Michael? Two more volumes hold the answers.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars