From Saturday 17th of July. Taken from the Review Section.
“CRIME: Blood Money By Arlene Hunt Hachette Books Ireland, 352pp. £12.99
NOW THAT THE fizz has gone out of chick lit and paperbacks with pink covers no longer dominate the bestseller lists, popular fiction has tilted in the direction of crime, with Irish women writers taking on the murder and mayhem that’s the stock in trade of the genre.
Arlene Hunt is something of an old hand, as Blood Money is her sixth novel. It’s an assured crime read centred on an upmarket plastic-surgery clinic in Dublin run by the icy Frieda Mayweather.
Shambolic PI John Quigley has been commissioned by Rose Butler to investigate her daughter’s death. The police think it’s suicide, but Rose can’t believe that her caring mother-of-two doctor daughter could have died this way, and she wants answers. Not being exactly busy, Quigley, whose personal problems include the hole left in his heart by his partner who has fled – he’s an interesting, complex character – takes on the case and uncovers an illegal organ-transplant business being run out of the clinic.
The organs come from eastern Europe, and as the nip-and-tuck business in Dublin has collapsed because of the recession, the brutal and scheming Mayweather has hit on this new lucrative income stream, and she doesn’t care how the organs are harvested.
As Quigley gets close to the truth, super-violent Pavel Sunic is on the rampage from Minsk, looking for the person responsible for the death of his beloved sister, who died when she sold her kidney in exchange for his freedom from prison.
Hunt is a skilled crime writer, able to build and sustain suspense – but never at the expense of credibility – and her dialogue zings with authenticity. The clever plot is carried by a cast of deftly drawn characters, who are all as recognisable as the Dublin locations Hunt puts them in. And there’s humour here, too, mostly in Quigley’s realisation that he’s in danger of becoming a sad, lonely loser and, if he’s not careful, a cliche of a private investigator. He’s a character worth watching out for in future.”
Though I was not aware the ‘fizz’ had gone out of romantic fiction – I was almost crushed under a pile of Amanda Brunker novels at the airport – this review did fizz up my own morning in a rather pleasant manner. I am ridiculously fond of John Quigley as a character and care deeply how he goes about his shenanigans, so it brings a broad smile to my chops when another reader ‘gets him’, so to speak.