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Hosp, David - 'Among Thieves'
Hardback: 400 pages (Jan. 2010) Publisher: Macmillan ISBN: 0230707238

In Boston, Massachusetts on the night of St Patrick's Day 1990 there was a robbery at a prestigious art gallery and several important paintings worth a total of half a billion dollars were stolen. This was the largest art robbery ever, and did actually occur. This book suggests that the robbery was instigated by the IRA to fund the troubles in Northern Ireland.

Twenty years later, Boston attorney, Scott Finn is asked to represent a criminal named Devon Malley who has been arrested for an alleged minor robbery. Devon has a daughter aged 12, living with him for a year after custody was awarded to him as his ex-wife was deemed unfit to be a mother. Devon wants Finn to arrange his defence and get him out on bail, but in the meantime to look after his daughter until something more definite can be arranged.

Sally Malley, the daughter is a lovely child, but she has been spoiled very badly by the junkie mother and has some terrible habits, such as swearing and cursing every minute and smoking. This is a shock to Finn, but as he himself was brought up in the US foster care system he has every sympathy with the girl, hard-edged though she is.

Soon two former partners in crime of Devon are brutally murdered and it is quite clear from the poor condition the bodies are found in that the criminals were tortured before they died. When Finn explains this privately to Devon at the Bail Hearing he responds by punching Finn in the face and is of course dragged away by the guards. He explains later to Finn, that no way does he want to be released, if there is a possibility that he could be tortured and killed in the same way as his associates. He'd rather stay in the relative security of his prison cell than wander around outside.

The killer of Devon's associates is the IRA gunman who was responsible for the art thefts twenty years previously. Sally is kidnapped by this Irishman in order to ensure the co-operation of Devon and to get him to reveal the location of the missing art works which have been hidden in Boston because they are too "hot" to be moved abroad. The novel continues on to its exciting conclusion.

This is the fourth novel by this American author who is a Boston lawyer like his hero "Finn". I thought it was a tremendously good and exciting story and very novel in that it was based on an actual real life robbery. Presumably, the only reason it is featured on Euro Crime as an American book written by an American author is because it deals with the IRA. I'm pleased I was given this opportunity to read this story and will certainly look out for other novels by this author as I hope you will do also.

Terry Halligan, England
March 2010

More crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 19/03/2010 14:59