Sunday 3 November 2013

ARC - The City Of Strangers by Michael Russell

The City of StrangersThe City of Strangers by Michael Russell
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 8 days

Publisher - AVON

Pages - 484

Blurb from Goodreads

The second Detective Stefan Gillespie novel and sequel to The City of Shadows which was longlisted for the CWA John Creasy New Blood Dagger Award 2013.

New York, 1939: A city of hope. A city of opportunity. A city hiding dark secrets...

A woman is brutally murdered and the only suspect has fled the country. Garda Sergeant Stefan Gillespie is sent to New York to bring a killer home to face justice – but the man has already disappeared into Manhattan’s awesome vistas.

Stefan is beguiled, exhilarated and troubled by this city buzzing with confidence, pride and ruthless opportunism, from skyscraper penthouses, to grimy backstreets, to the pulse-thumping jazz clubs of Harlem.

The 1939 World Fair only heightens the noisy enthusiasm for a bright new future and the stark tensions of a city that seethes with anti-Semitism and segregation, a city whose links to the struggle for Irish independence are unbreakable, yet holds hidden danger for Ireland in a world on the edge of war.

Stefan’s mission in New York becomes part of an increasingly personal struggle when an encounter with an old friend catapults him into a complex world of murder, conspiracy and terror.
In a time when people must stand up for what they believe in, the stakes for Stefan Gillespie, and his country, couldn’t be higher.

A thrilling and richly evocative historical crime novel.

My Review

This is the second book in a series, however it is worth noting I hadn't read the first and don't feel I lost anything by not having done so. The tale is set in 1939 so Hitler is very much around and his "workings" are mentioned or referred to in parts of the story. The tale begins in 1922 with a brief setting of an event that scars a family and then jumps to the tales present day, the relevance to this intro will become apparent later in the story.

Set in Ireland, Stefan Gillespie, detective, is sent to New York to being home the only suspect in a murder of one of their locals. When he gets to New York he becomes entangled in politics, conspiracy, murder and self preservation. What follows is a dangerous journey for our detective who needs to do what he feels is right and that which is right for his country.

So it has a great storyline so why did I give it only two stars? Well firstly there is a lot of political stuff and history going on in the book. This will be a great selling point for so many readers but for someone like me who is seriously lacking in knowledge on history I had to go and look up a lot of things to get a feel for what was going on. Then there is references to IRA, a lot to be honest and again I don't know a whole lot about their history so I found myself having to google so much to keep on top. This is of course not the authors fault by any means but it did take a lot away from my reading enjoyment but will enhance that of readers who know their history.

Apart from that there was quite a lot going on in the story, the original murder, which to be honest, I felt fell away from the importance of the tale as more story lines came up. Two sisters looking for help and keeping safe from an influential tyrant, another murder, the IRA part of the story, my head was spinning trying to keep up.

I think this will make for a brilliant read for so many but for someone like me it was just far too busy with story lines and things from history that I just wasn't up to scratch on. If your interested in these topics plus a tale that has lots going on to keep your mind busy then give it a go. It is a well written book but just for someone like me it was a bit too much, I really do however need to learn my history. Thanks so much to AVON for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review but this time, sadly, it is a 2/5. This book is available from 7th November 2013 for any good retailer.

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  1. I'd be looking up the historical facts myself if they weren't explained in the story. That's too bad this was a miss for you. Thanks for the honest review!

  2. New York has always been an interesting place but it seemed particularly so in this period.

    I bet you know a lot more of the history of the period after reading the book and looking up so much!


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