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Dead I Well May Be: A Novel (Michael Forsythe Book 1) Kindle Edition

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Length: 384 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

McKinty's second novel is a brutal tale of revenge starring a young illegal immigrant from Ireland who chooses a criminal career in New York over unemployment in Belfast. Arriving in the city in the early 1990s, the antihero Michael Forsythe lands a spot as an enforcer for Irish mobster Darkey White. Though Forsythe at first keeps his hands relatively clean, he soon racks up a significant number of kills in skirmishes with rival crews as well as with Dominican gangs warring for control of the streets. An affair with his boss's girlfriend leads to a setup: he and his mates are trapped in a drug sting in Mexico and abandoned in a remote prison. "If someone grows up in the civil war of Belfast in the seventies and eighties, perhaps violence is his only form of meaningful expression," McKinty writes early in the novel, and the bulk of the story recounts Forsythe's grisly efforts to escape and avenge himself, including a stint with a Dominican group seeking to oust Darkey White. The pace is brisk and energetic, but Forsythe remains a cipher-a self-educated intellectual who listens to Tolstoy on tape during a stakeout but exhibits puzzlingly little interest in finding an alternative to the gun and the knife. The dark, brooding tone is reminiscent of Dennis Lehane, but McKinty has yet to achieve Lehane's depth and complexity.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Michael Forsythe, another mick who can't get no satisfaction, leaves depressed Northern Ireland for New York City at 19, set to work construction for an Irish mobster until he earns back plane fare. Instead, he's assigned to the shady side of the business as low-rent muscle. It's 1992, a dangerous time in Harlem, with Dominican gangs testing Irish turf. It's even dicier for Michael, a book-smart dreamer who's fallen for the boss' girl. Standard stuff, yes, but explosive in McKinty's expert hands. A literate, funny, wise old soul in the body of a dangerously naive teen, his Michael draws us close and relates a fantastic tale of murder and revenge in low, wry tones, as if from the next barstool. He's doing the voices as he goes--no quotation marks necessary, mate--and keeps dropping big, bloody hints about future twists. The dark revelations only get listeners leaning in closer, desperate to hear what happens next even while longing for the story to go on forever. As Michael and his crew muddle through horrifying mishaps--maiming the wrong guy here, getting lost in a Mexican prison there--he drops out of conversational mode to throw in a few breathtaking fever-dream sequences for flavor. And then he springs an ending so right and satisfying it leaves us numb with delight and ready to pop for another round. Start the cliche machine: This is a profoundly satisfying book from a major new talent--and one of the best crime fiction debuts of the year. Frank Sennett
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 1081 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0743246993
  • Publisher: Scribner; Reprint edition (October 14, 2003)
  • Publication Date: October 14, 2003
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #329,335 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

I was born and grew up in Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland. I studied law at Warwick University and politics and philosophy at Oxford University. In the early 90's I emigrated to New York City where I worked in bars, building sites and bookstores for seven years before moving to Denver, Colorado to become a high school English teacher. In 2008 I moved again, this time to Melbourne, Australia with my wife and kids.

My first Sean Duffy novel, The Cold Cold Ground, won the 2013 Spinetingler Award.

The second Sean Duffy novel, I Hear The Sirens In The Street, won the 2014 Barry Award and was shortlisted for the 2013 Ned Kelly Award.

In The Morning I'll Be Gone (Sean Duffy #3) won the 2014 Ned Kelly Award and was picked as one of the top 10 crime novels of 2014 by the American Library Association.

Gun Street Girl (Duffy #4) was shortlisted for the 2015 Ned Kelly Award. Sean Duffy #5, Rain Dogs, will be out in 2016.

newspaper reviews for some of the Duffy books:

If Raymond Chandler had grown up in Northern Ireland The Cold Cold Ground is the book he would have written.
The Times

A locked room mystery within a manhunt killer [is] a clever and gripping set-up that helps makes Duffy's third outing easily his best so far.
The Sunday Times

Not content with constructing a complex plot, McKinty further wraps his story around a deliciously old-fashioned locked room mystery, the solution to which holds the key to Duffy's entire investigation. Driven by McKinty's brand of lyrical, hard-boiled prose, leavened by a fatalistic strain of the blackest humour, In the Morning I'll Be Gone is a hugely satisfying historical thriller.
The Irish Times

[A] superb trilogy reaches its finality...The hunt for [Duffy's quarry] begins and ends spectacularly. McKinty is particularly convincing in painting the political and social backdrops to his plots. He deserves to be treated as one of Britain's top crime writers.
The Times

An action movie view of the Troubles...a fast and thrilling ride from the reliably excellent McKinty.
The Mail On Sunday

This is the third in the series and, for me, the best, for it contains a locked room mystery at the heart of a drama about a major terrorist escape from the Maze prison, Belfast in 1983. Written in spare, razor-sharp prose, and leading up to a denouement that creeps up on you and then explodes like a terrorist bomb, it places McKinty firmly in the front rank of modern crime writers.
The Daily Mail

An older, more sobered Duffy, still unconventional and willing to take chances, but more reflective, more Sherlock Holmes. His growing maturity results in fewer bedroom scenes but there is plenty of excitement and suspense elsewhere in this intelligent and gripping yarn.
The Irish Independent

Sardonic Belfast cop Sean Duffy [in] another terrific Troubles-set thriller 4.5/5
The Sun

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Untouchable on February 24, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Dead I Well May Be is Adrian McKinty's superb debut thriller that is sharply tough, wonderfully descriptive and filled with a story that takes one unexpected turn after the other. From the turmoil of Belfast to the chaos of Harlem and a living hell in Mexico, every location is brought to vivid life thanks to McKinty's prose. Here is a gritty hardboiled story complete with violent gangsters and a desperate struggle for survival. It's a story of vengeance that is tough, uncompromising and grabs you demanding that you pay close attention.

When Michael Forsythe leaves his home in Belfast, he is only 19 but is already a hard man, exposed to the gang violence that dominates his city. He arrives in New York where he is employed by crime boss Darkey White for whom he works as muscle to enforce his protection and loan shark rackets. While working for Darkey, Michael proves himself to be a dependable man to have around, earning the respect of all the other men in Darkey's crew. He's a violent man displaying an almost sociopathic lack of emotion after severely crippling another man in a cold-blooded revenge attack.

The story is narrated by Michael and even while everything appears to be going well for him, he warns us of the events that are soon to follow. He points out the men he will kill and the way they will die, men he will later work for and the fact that his life is about to be drastically altered. These snapshots give us a chance to look forward, whetting our appetite for the major events that are still to take place.

One of the things that is going well for him is a secret affair he is having with Bridget, Darkey's girlfriend. He is well aware that he would pay a high price should Darkey find out about it but he likes to flirt with danger and carries on regardless.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Gabriela Perez VINE VOICE on May 2, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book primarily because it was a recom either here on Amazon or from someone who had read Declan Hughes' novels. I can't remember any longer. But boy, I am ecstatic that I ordered this book.

McKinty has a gift for both dialogue and plot movement. In this, the first of the Michael Forsythe series (I believe there are two other books in the series, both of them even now waiting for me in an Amazon box at home, if package tracking is to be believed), the reader follows Forsythe on his journey from Ireland to New York to Mexico and then back to New York.

He leaves Ireland because he has no options available to him; he can not afford to stay there and has prospects in New York. Upon arriving in New York, he becomes a very low-level gangster whose life hardly sounds much of an improvement over what he had in Ireland. McKinty does a sterling job of showing us what Forsythe's circumstances are (think mega cockroach heaven and continued poverty) at the same time that he develops Forsythe's character through the descriptions the first-person narrator provides.

This novel is done in Forsythe's voice, and that's a plus. Not only do we get to "hear" him speak to others, thereby getting a sense of how he communicates; we also get all the action filtered through his humor, intelligence (in many things, but not all--the boy simply can not pick a good woman to save his life), and philosophical bent.

I found several parts of this book particularly fascinating. The one that sticks out most in my mind at the moment is the part of the book that takes place in Mexico, after Forsythe has been jailed in a truly horrific Mexican prison. (Don't hurt me! I'm not revealing anything that's not on the book jacket!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Stanley S. Lynch Jr. MD on October 14, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, found it ingrossing, clever, and spellbinding. The novel's anti-hero, Michael Forsythe is both street-smart and an intellectual. His keenly observant eye gives the reader insight into characters, places, and circumstances that escape the average writer or reader. He is both cocky and aware of his and others limitations. McGinty's placement of this Irish immigrant in Harlem circa 1990 creates a tightly wound, explosive plot that intrigues and does not fail to deliver. Michael Forsythe is a character cut from the same mold as Walter Mosley's "Easy Rawlins" and Chester Himes' "Bob Jones". I highly recommend this novel.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mickey Ryan on February 17, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Belfast, Northern Ireland circa 1992 was a fiery period. The Troubles were boiling over. The PIRA were very active and their was violence on both sides of the old conflict. It wasn't roses in Harlem, NYC either. This was before Guiliani "saved" the city. Crime rates were through the roof. The smell of cooking crack cocaine was evident on every block above 96th Street. For a young Belfast punk like Mike Forsythe, life looked better abroad. After all, he had been offered a to work with Darkey White, a small-time Harlem crime boss running a crew of Irish & Irish-American thugs being overwhelmed in this new world of the rising Dominican drug gangs growing like cancer. When he crosses the Atlantic he settles in a cockroach tenement in the heart of crime-ridden Harlem. If he's not drinking Polish vodka with his Serbian neighbor, he's committing crimes or spending some 'quality time' with Darkey's sultry young lolita, Bridget. It doesn't take Einstein to see where this one's going: treachery, sex, ultraviolence, betrayal, revenge. We even wind up at a Mexican prison at one point.

Looking for an enjoyable read then definitely check this out. County Antrim native and sharp novelist Adrian McKinty's noir-ish New York City crime thriller is quick-witted, fast-paced and darkly gritty. Told in first person narrative, McKinty takes us on one helluva ride from the beginning to the end. 'Dead I Well May Be' is a gangster story spiced with Irish wit and crackling New York authenticity. What the hell is there not to like?!

Keep writing Adrian.
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