ALL THE DEAD VOICES
Private investigator Ed Loy is approached by Anne Fogarty, whose father was killed 15 years ago. She is convinced the police jailed the wrong man for the crime, and she wants Loy to find the truth. At the top of the list of suspects are three men that her father, a revenue inspector, was preparing claims against for maintaining criminal assets: Bobby Doyle, a major property developer with links to Sinn Fein; Jack Cullen, now the head of a gang of disgruntled ex-IRA men; and George Halligan, Loy's underworld nemesis.
At the same time, Loy is asked to look into the death of Paul Delaney, a rising soccer star whose penchant for trouble has resulted in his murder, and who may have been connected to Cullen.
Dessie Delaney, Paul's brother, and an erstwhile foe of Loy's, returns to avenge his brother's death. But by this time, the city has exploded in a full scale turf war between Jack Cullen's men, formerly paramilitaries but now out and out drug dealers, and the Dublin wing of the INLA, a murderous Republican sect intent on taking advantage of the enforced clampdown on all IRA violence to claim Cullen's territory for themselves.
Loy is kidnapped, tortured, finds himself a witness to murder and an unwilling accomplice in burying bodies, IRA-style, in deserted farmland, and then framed for the murder of a Garda detective. But when he confronts the authorities with knowledge of their own complicity in the murky world where paramilitaries blur into gangsters, on the one hand, and, in the case of Bobby Doyle, into businessmen with friends in the highest of political places, on the other, he finds himself free to go, free to pursue the Fogarty case to its shocking, unexpected conclusion, which lies far closer to home than Loy suspected.
As Official Ireland joins with the likes of Bobby Doyle, whose victims go unavenged, to celebrate the opening of Independence Bridge, commemorating the glorious patriot dead now that peace has broken out, Loy is left to tidy up the unofficial business no one wants to know about, left to pay heed to all the dead voices, and to honour their memory.
William Morrow hardcover, June 2009, ISBN-13: 978-0061689888
"THE LOY is back. As are some other problems we had hoped we'd seen the back of in this country. A predominant strength of crime fiction is its ability to reflect the times we live in, to hold a mirror up to the high street, as Stendhal wrote. Novelist and playwright Declan Hughes, through his literary creation, Loy, is rolling with the punches our island nation has recently endured. In All The Dead Voices , the property bubble has burst, inner city heroin abuse is on the rise and, perhaps most ominously:and most prophetically on Hughes's part:violent activity amongst dissident republicans has kicked off...
Loy is a winning combination of caustic cynicism and romantic idealism, an adept at Beckettian failing better. The ladies fall for him, the criminals respect him. They even, in All The Dead Voices, try to hire him, but Loy has principles. His principles may not tally with accepted notions of right and wrong, but principles they are, nonetheless.
Hughes is a perennially interesting crime writer who has proved himself in All The Dead Voices yet again as a soothsayer for the times we live in. He works with heavily resonant imagery, such as the Tolka Park shooting, which recalls that of Bloody Sunday in Croke Park, to explore the mixture of idealism and thuggery fuelling the violence of the republican movement, to sketch links between dissident republicans and drug dealing criminals, or drug dealing republicans and dissident criminals, as it happens.
Hughes's four previous Loy novels were characterised by a strain of high Gothic which centred around the Big House, the notion of fate, and of corrupted bloodlines. They featured a preoccupation with inbred aristocratic types in particular, and unnatural couplings. His signature idea of bad blood seems at first absent in All The Dead Voices , but it rises to the fore in a less operatic but ultimately more substantial climax than earlier novels. The controlling idea of fatedness is thwarted through the innocence of a child. Hughes gives the reader an ending which confounds the expectations of the genre, and which is all the more satisfying for it."
"... in Declan Hughes's All The Dead Voices, the dashing, troubled private eye Ed Loy is hired by the daughter of the victim of an unsolved murder to work out which of three suspects committed the crime. Against him are villains, cops with something to hide and remnants of the IRA... muscular writing, a smart line in self-deprecating humour, terrific dialogue and an engrossing portrayal of the sights and sounds of Dublin Noir."
Margaret Cannon, Toronto Globe and Mail
"There's a wonderful immediacy to Hughes's depiction of recession-hit Ireland...where Hughes excels... is in his ability to position the reader at the nexus where crime meets civilised society.
Hughes's novel subtly explores the extent to which, in Ireland, the supposedly exclusive worlds of crime, business and politics can very often be fluid concepts, capable of overlap and lucrative cross-pollination, a place portrayed as one where the fingers that once fumbled in greasy tills are now twitching on triggers.
Written in the laconic and staccato rhythms of the classic hard-boiled private eye novel, and featuring a cast of vividly drawn ne'er-do-wells and no little amount of pitch-black humour, All The Dead Voices is crucial reading for anyone who wishes to understand how modern Ireland works."
"... a new generation of writers has grabbed the idea of using the genre to write about the new Ireland. One of the best is the playwright Declan Hughes, whose private eye Ed Loy brings a Chandlerian world-weariness to contemporary Dublin. All The Dead Voices has the authority of a writer who has found his stride: it's energetic, pacy and vivid."
"With his terrific sense of place:it's a great, gritty vision of Dublin:and convincing characterisation, Hughes goes from strength to strength as a writer. As the tension and suspense build, this tightly crafted novel does not disappoint."
"The fourth installment in the brilliant Ed Loy series, All The Dead Voices, is out now and provides a perfect excuse to catch up on all of Declan Hughes' work. A Dublin playwright, Hughes is an eloquent writer who pens tough issues :and even tougher characters :and paints them against beautiful, almost mystical backdrops...'Somewhere across the bay, fireworks crackled and shot their plumes of light through the murk; like a relief diagram of nerves and synapses in the body, they seemed to give the falling night scale and dimension.'"