Skip to main content


I'll admit that it was a difficult to say good-bye to Michael Forsythe. Over the course of three novels, DEAD I MAY WELL BE, THE DEAD YARD and THE BLOOMSDAY DEAD, Adrian McKinty crafted three fantastic stories and many wonderful characters. The books are bloody, gritty reads. They are the finest example of 21st Century Noir, and along with his first stand alone HIDDEN RIVER, without peer.

FIFTY GRAND is the latest and greatest from Mr. McKinty, and it does a lot to ease my anxiety over the loss Mr. Forsythe. 50K is a revenge story played out in the rich enclave of Fairview Colorado. A Cuban Police Officer masquerades as an illegal alien to discovery who killed her long absent father. As plot outlines go, this is pretty spare, but with some books it really is about the journey.

Strangely more fascinating than the revenge story is the Alexis de Tocquville-like examination of American society by the protagonist Officer Mercado. Through out the book Officer Mercado expresses complete ignorance and/or bafflement over American celebrity culture and all that follows it. From an American character and by extension an American author this kind of commentary usually comes off as a patronizing snobbery that only serves to undercut the message of how screwed our priorities really have become. Maybe with my lifetime subscription to the middle class I find these cultural explorations more an examination of class where no matter the 'good intentions' usually end up with the author looking down their long nose at lesser beings.

That is not to say that Mr. McKinty, as a non-American, should be given a pass. But certainly as a non-American the seeming naivete of Mr McKinty's study of U.S. culture can be accepted more on face value without the immediate expectation of a hidden agenda in posing questions like; 'Why do we care about so much about Tom Cruise and Scientology?'

Whatever may draw you to FIFTY GRAND it is a cracking good read. I'm guessing I'm not going to read anything better this year.


adrian mckinty said…

Thanks for the yup ya.

And BTW as of June 2008 I'm an American citizen so we can level that moralising shotgun at me too.

And hey I dont think I quite let Cuban society off the hook did I?

Anyway I didnt really want this to be an indictment of the US as such, more of a tweak of a particular place at a particular time namely Telluride, Colorado and the eccentric characters who lived there in 2007-2008.


Dan Wagner said…
Its a great book Adrian so I was happy to write about it. I don't think you let the Cuban's off the hook at all, but I was definitely at odds with the depiction of Cuba. Primarily because it is the 'forbidden.' The exotic usually trumps the indictment for me. I know it is very naive for me to say but because the US has so clearly 'won' the battle with Cuba I look at that place as strangely provincial.

Congrats on the US Citizenship, I can now wish you Happy 4th of July!

Popular posts from this blog

The Very Best of Mr. Dennis Lehane

I thought this post would appear in October. Ya, know when SHUTTER ISLAND: THE MOVIE was supposed to be released. And then it wasn't. Something about Leo not being able to do 'press' for the movie. Doesn't really matter the reason, a February release date has one of those fancy Hollywood meanings: Not Good.

Look I'll be honest, I didn't connect with SHUTTER ISLAND. I loved the fifties setting, the haunted house atmosphere, and impending doom of the Hurricane. Even the set-up of the story was intriguing but how it played out just didn't work for me. Some interesting characters, a bunch of great set pieces, but the ending announces itself with an expected, thud that went nowhere.

Am I still going to the movie? Its Lehane, Scorsese, Leo, and Ruffalo of course I am. Anyway the list.

8. Prayers for Rain - 1999
The last Kenzie-Gennaro book follows our heroes as they investigate a guy who is terrorizing women into committing suicide. The book played like an episode o…

The Very Best of Mr. Michael Connelly - Part I

I was about 50 pages into the latest Michael Connelly book, THE SCARECROW, when I flipped to the front. This is the 20th novel. I decided that rather than write a review of the novel, pretty good by the way, I would write a think piece about the relationship between a highly regarded crime novelist and how reader's take for granted the author if the high standard to which they have become accustomed to is not maintained over a lengthy run of books.

This idea was quickly abandoned out of laziness. Instead, I decided to take a cue from my friend, Peter, who recently ranked all of the James Bond films. I didn't feel I could tackle all 20 novels so the list below is just the non-Harry Bosch books. Mr. Connelly's next book 9 DRAGONS releases in October so don't be surprised to see a Bosch only list then.

I wrote this list up a couple weeks ago. I have given it some time to marinate. I did make any changes but I do want to say that there is a definite break between ranking 5…

Live By Night: First Image

First image from Live By Night the latest Dennis Lehane novel to be directed by Ben Affleck has appeared. Here is the accompanying article from Indiewire.
What can you say about one singular image from a film that will include a hundred thousand or so? It looks good. I'm a sucker for big fields of grass, what can I say? I have enjoyed all of Ben Affleck's directing efforts to date, even if I wasn't wowed by any of them. I don't mean to damn him with faint praise. He is a solid, unpretentious director of capital m 'Movies'. And even if he wasn't making the best thing Dennis Lehane has written in the last ten years I would still go see his next effort.
The movie is slated for a 2017 release which I'm not certain should be believed. In spite of the film already vacating a Fall 2016 date, if the movie is even kind of  good, dollars to donuts it sneaks into a late 2016 release for Award show consideration. A 2017 release date seems more accurate, if early t…