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Hughes, Declan - 'The Dying Breed'
Paperback: 416 pages (Apr. 2009) Publisher: John Murray ISBN: 0719567505

Third in the series about the Dublin Private Investigator, Ed Loy, THE DYING BREED revolves around the Tyrell family, and in particular, FX Tyrell, a well known racehorse trainer. Father Tyrell, brother of FX and dying of cancer, asks Ed to look into the disappearance of a jockey, Patrick Hutton, who used to race for Tyrell, and pays him a large sum on money to do so, upfront. Patrick has been missing for over 10 years, and no one seems to know what happened to him. He's been declared officially dead after an investigation by a detective hired by an insurance company, but is he? While sorting out his only other small job, someone who is illegally dumping rubbish, Ed happens to find a body on an illegal dump with an odd tattoo and something even more surprising in his pocket. That body seems to be linked to his investigation into Patrick Hutton, and a picture of Patrick provided by his wife Miranda, seems to suggest that the body might be Patrick, but why has he been killed now? Then Jackie Tyrell, ex-wife of FX is murdered in her own house while Ed is there, trying to find answers to questions about the Tyrells, and Ed himself is attacked as he discovers her body. Somehow, looking into Patrick's disappearance has stirred up a lot of trouble.

Gradually Ed starts to uncover the long buried secrets of the Tyrell family, with the help of the familiar crew: Dave Donnelly, his old friend, and detective in the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Tommy Owens, reformed small time drug dealer, and now unofficial part time minder of Ed Loy, as well as the Halligans, the criminal fraternity who seem to be involved in almost everything bad going on in Dublin. While it quickly becomes clear that the mystery of Patrick's disappearance is wrapped up in a story about inbreeding that is not just restricted to horses, the complexities of the story are skilfully and only gradually revealed until we reach the inevitable tense climax, when the truth is laid out, with tragic consequences.

THE DYING BREED doesn't quite have the intensity or menace of his latest book ALL THE DEAD VOICES, but it works well nonetheless. In fact, it's a bit of a relief that Ed Loy doesn't take as many beatings as usual as he pursues this story, although the threat of violence never seems far away. There's a lot in here to keep you hooked on reading till the end. Seems like Declan Hughes has scored another winner.

Read another review of THE DYING BREED.

Michelle Peckham, England
June 2009

Details of the author's other books with links to reviews can be found on the Books page.
More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 21/06/2009 20:05