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Dead Irish (Dismas Hardy, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – February 1, 1996

3.8 out of 5 stars 144 customer reviews
Book 1 of 16 in the Dismas Hardy Series

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Mass Market Paperback, February 1, 1996
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Dismas Hardy, an ex-policeman and lawyer who has withdrawn from his former life as a result of a personal tragedy, tends an Irish bar in San Francisco. When his boss asks him to investigate the apparent suicide of Eddie Cochran, Hardy agrees. Cochran was a friend and proving his death was not suicide will free the insurance money to his pregnant widow. As he becomes close to Eddie's parents, his emotionally distraught younger brother and family friend, Father Jim Cavanaugh, Hardy finds his life complicated by an encounter and renewed relationship with his ex-wife. Uncovering a botched drug deal arranged by Cochran's employer, Hardy believes he can show that Eddie was indeed murdered. But from that point his investigations come to a dead end. The killer, identified about two-thirds of the way through the story, proves to be as fascinating a personality as Hardy himself. Lescroart ( Rasputin's Revenge ) provides a surprise twist at the end.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Possessed of a singular writer's instinct, Lescroart drapes a bare-bones plot in psychological window dressing and produces a full-bodied, substantive, and stylistic effort of the first order. San Francisco ex-cop and current bartender Dismas "Diz" Hardy cannot believe his friend Eddie would commit suicide, so he decides to investigate. The progress of his search into Eddie's last days coincides with changes in his own emotional make-up, as he faces the reasons for his divorce and his feelings of guilt over the death of his infant son. Full attention to character, then, a sympathetic protagonist, and a satisfying conclusion.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Island Books; 1st edition (January 3, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440207835
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440207832
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (144 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,738,095 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By clifford on June 13, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Over that last few years I have read several of the Dismas Hardy books. What really stuck out for me as one of my biggest gripes was that the characters really felt set in stone. I never felt like they were growing from one book to the next. I also felt alot like Lescroart was writing the same story over and over again with slight variations. So in my mind I was viewing Lescroart as a talanted mystery/thriller writer who was trying too hard to write for an imaginary audience whom he felt wanted an exact sort of book from him and that he had become too attached to his characters to alow for them to undergo changes.

Thats why I think I felt that Dead Irish was such a refreshing Lescroart book for one who has basically worked backwards along the series arc. In Dead Irish the characters are just being formed, given substance. Its interesting to see the long standing friendships that would later come to be take shape.

The story itself is also pretty interesting, though nothing earth shattering. What I like about it is that all in all it is a fairly simple plot, no mass killings or huge rampages. Instead this book is about the small things. Dismas' friend is killed or has commited suicide and he takes it upon himself to uncover exactly what occured.

This is one of the best Lescroart books. I would say you should read this if you have not yet done so and have previously read others in the series. However, if you are looking for something earth shattering in this genre I would suggest that you turn instead to Cormac McCarthy's 'No Country for Old Men'.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Dismas Hardy is an ex-Marine, ex-cop, ex-attorney, ex-Catholic, ex-sharkwalker, ex-husband... Since the death of his 7 month old son, for which he blames himself, he has abandoned his marriage, his career & nearly abandoned all hope--"You could put your hope in anything you wanted, he figured, but to put it in hope itself was just pure foolishness." Now he bartends days at his friend Moses McGuire's bar, plays darts almost obsessively & drinks a few too many Black and Tans and Irish Whiskey's. He's just "skimming over the surface" of life, afraid to test the depths.
But when Moses' brother-in-law is found dead--a young man who Moses' little sister says was a younger version of Hardy before life chewed him up--Hardy ends up investigating whether it was murder or suicide. Gradually, & perhaps inevitably, he begins to care again.
I started one of these books a couple years ago & it didn't grab me, probably because it is a third person private eye novel--a major departure from the rules of the genre. But I found this one for fifty cents & figured I'd give it a shot.
I'm extremely glad that I did.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Dead Irish is the introduction, published in 1989, to the now popular Dismas Hardy/Abe Glitsky series. Diz is down and out, holding things together by tending bar, drinking, and perfecting his darts game. Ex-cop, ex-lawyer, ex-husband, he was thrown for a loop by the accidental death of his infant son, and decided life wasn't worth playing anymore. The bar owner, Mose, brings a request to Diz to look into the case of his brother-in-law Eddie. His death appears to be suicide, but the family simply cannot accept that. In a "why not" sort of mood, Diz agrees, but without current creds, is forced to work on the periphery, pestering former partner Sgt. Abe Glitsky to keep him apprised of what the cops are thinking. The waters are soon very murky, muddied by a major drug deal, two additional suspicious deaths, and a brutal attack on Eddie's younger brother. It it only due to Dis's dogged persistence that the truth is eventually uncovered.

An obvious freshman effort, Dead Irish lacks the tension necessary for successful mysteries, and is fairly easy to figure out. But it's interesting to learn the back story, a couple of elements fall into place in Diz's life, and the psychological interplay among the various characters is well done.
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"Dead Irish" is the 1st in a crime fiction series of about 16 books set in San Francisco. Based on reviews and commentaries, the series has apparently gotten better over time, and only because of its reputation I may read additional books. The case is about local guy Eddie's death, a young man who had a very bright future in front of him. Murder or suicide? Family and friends can't believe suicide is possible, and so Eddie's brother-in-law asks his bartender, Hardy, to look into it. Hardy is ex-everything: policeman, lawyer, husband, father. Interwoven with developments in the case, we learn of Hardy's personal history including a few tragedies, and we learn of some friends and family who obviously will play supporting roles in subsequent episodes. Suspects are identified, but a clear motive is never established (in my opinion it's never well established even by the last page). Anyway, there are a few of the mandatory twists and turns and finally justice is served.

I like San Francisco as a setting for a series, but there didn't seem to be much that grabbed me in this introductory book, certainly not the way Nesbo's Hari, nor Bingham's Fiona, nor Billingham's Thorne did. The writing was adequate and the characters were done fairly well. But there were some minor irritants. It was a tad too long so the tension waned a bit, it did not give me the feel of an author steeped in police procedure, e.g., our hero Hardy gets all kind of access to police info and crime scene presence that just struck me as very unrealistic and there was little forensic detail. and it took a cheap shot at a missionary priest that was demeaning, completely unnecessary and irrelevant. From the little I know of this series, it seems best to read the books in order. So, if I do get around to reading #2 it better be a helluva lot better than #1.
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