In this breathtaking sequel to Dead I Well May Be, which The Philadelphia Inquirer called "the most captivating crime novel" of the year, mercenary bad boy Michael Forsythe is forced to infiltrate an Irish terrorist cell on behalf of the FBI, and thus confront murder, mayhem, and the prospect of his own execution.
With the same poetic lilt and heart-stopping suspense that made Dead I Well May Be a critical favorite, the saga continues with The Dead Yard -- a thriller in which Michael Forsythe must insinuate himself into the good graces of a band of calculating political terrorists.
As the novel opens, he's on vacation in Spain, but when a soccer riot between Irish and English fans escalates out of control, Michael is suddenly arrested and thrown into a Spanish prison. Enter Samantha, a British intelligence agent as cunning as she is voluptuous. She makes Michael an offer he cannot refuse: instead of being extradited to Mexico to serve time for a prison break, he can help her by infiltrating an IRA sleeper cell in the United States, and she'll see to it that the Spaniards and Mexicans forget all about him. Filled with apprehension about the dangers of the assignment, Michael reluctantly agrees. Within hours he is flown to New York City and thrust into the nightmare world of men known for their distinctive brands of torture and revenge. Michael crosses and double-crosses key players, escapes his own lies by a hairsbreadth, loses his only ally, and falls for the daughter of his enemy -- a most inadvisable development.
Boasting spot-on dialogue, crackling wit, and one of the most memorable heroes in all of crime fiction, Adrian McKinty's dazzling new novel confirms his reputation as a brilliant storyteller and writer on the rise.
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Adrian McKinty was born and grew up in Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland, when terrorism in Ulster was at its height. Educated at Oxford University, he then immigrated to New York City, where he lived in Harlem for five years, working in bars and on construction crews, as well as a stint as a bookseller. He is the author of Hidden River and Dead I Well May Be, which was short-listed for the Crime Writers' Association Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award. He lives in Denver, Colorado.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Chapter 1: A Riot on Tenerife
Dawn over the turquoise shore of Africa and here, under the fractured light of a streetlamp, brought to earth like some hurricaned palm, I woke before the supine ocean amidst a sea of glass and upturned bus stands and the wreck of cars and looted stores.
The streets of Playa de las Americas were flowing with beer and black sewage and blood. Smoke hung above the seashore and the smell was of desolation, decay, the burning of tires and fuel oil. The noise of birds, diesel engines, a dirgelike siren, a helicopter, voices in Spanish over a loudspeaker -- all of it more than enough hint of the breakdown in the fragile rules of the social contract.
I was sitting up and adjusting to the light and the growing heat when a kid hustled me under cover and the riot began again.
Five hundred British football hooligans, three hundred and fifty Irish fans, all of them on this island at the same time for a "friendly" match between Dublin's Shamrock Rovers and London's Millwall.
I wouldn't say I'd been expecting that but I wouldn't say I was that goddamn surprised either.
Some people go through their lives like a mouse moving through a wheat field. They're good citizens, they pay their taxes, they contribute to society, they have kids and the kids turn them into responsible adults. They create no stir, cause no fuss, leave no trace. When they're gone people speak well of them, sigh, shrug their shoulders, and shed a tear. They avoid chaos and it avoids them.
Perhaps most people are like this.
But not me.
You'd notice me in the wheat field. You'd notice me because the field would be on fire or the farmer would be running after me with a gun.
The Bible says that man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward. Well, trouble followed me like sharks trailing a slave ship. Even when I tried to get away it was there swirling in a vortex around me.
Even when I tried to get away. Spain. Tenerife, to be exact, the largest of the Canary Islands off the coast of Morocco. It's a hell of a long flight from Chicago but the FBI won't let me go near Florida or the Caribbean. Seamus Duffy, the head of the Irish mob in New York City, has had a contract out on me for five years for killing his underboss Darkey White and testifying against Darkey's crew.
With that in mind you can't be too careful about where you take your vacation. So O'Hare, JFK, and seven hours to Tenerife for a wee bit of R & R and of course this is what bloody happens.
"Brian, are you all right?" the English kid asked. Pale skin, sunburned, wearing a Millwall shirt and white jeans.
I stared at him. My name had been Brian O'Nolan since I'd moved to Chicago in January. It still didn't seem right.
"I'm ok," I said. "I must have fallen asleep. What the hell is happening?"
"The riot's starting up again. Those Irish bastards have all gotten ball bearings from somewhere."
I gave him a look.
One of those looks.
"Oh, by Irish bastards, I meant, uh, I meant no offense by the way," he stammered.
I didn't say anything. I almost felt more American now than Irish. I ducked as stones and ball bearings landed in the shop fronts. Pieces of dark lava and Molotov cocktails flew back from the English side.
The London lads were drunk and the Dublin boys had taken off their shirts, looking like ghosts flitting nervously behind the barricades.
The riot progressed. A shop window caved in under a big rock, a roof collapsed, a car went up in flames. A big English bruiser trundled along a wheely-bin filled with gasoline and halfway down the hill, he burned some scrunched-up newspaper and tossed it after. The bin exploded and he caught fire. He rolled on the ground and the cops grabbed him and dragged him off to a police car.
The colors fused: green banana skins, inky smoke, crimson blood, the blue Atlantic and iodine sky merging in the west. Over by the dunes amazed surfers were wondering if the town was on fire, and later it was, as the hotel burned and the surfers and the other noncombatants decided to be long gone.
At dusk the Spanish police finally got their act together and turned fire hoses on the two sides. The Micks started an out-of-date football chant: "Francisco Franco is a wanker," and the English side trumped that with "What Happened to the Armada?" Singing was general over the lines now and each song was echoed back and as full night fell, everyone got teary-eyed and guilt-ridden and we had a truce, the impromptu leaders meeting up in one of the main squares under a flag of armistice.
The shadows lengthened and there was a toast. A drink. A parley. And it was agreed then that whatever differences existed between the Irish and the English soccer fans, here, fifteen hundred miles from the British Isles, the story wasn't terrorism or the Famine or Enniskillen or Bloody Sunday. It was August 1997 now, there was a new British prime minister, and a new IRA cease-fire brewing that extended even unto football hooligans. Aye, we could see that out here with our fresh perspective. Here in Tenerife under the black sky of Creation, where Columbus set out to enslave half the world, where Darwin came on the Beagle, where Nelson lost his arm, and where they still made the same dark Canary drunk by Falstaff and Sir Toby Belch. Where we were all away from gloomy Albion and we could accept a new vision of a new Earth with sunshine and cheap food and Swedish girls and where we could see the folly of doing evil unto one's brother. The drunken leaders deciding that harmony would reign forever between kinfolk and that the riot between the Brits and Paddies was over; and from now on we would concentrate on the real enemies: German tourists and the Spanish police.
So began the second phase.
This time, though, I wanted no part of it, especially when I saw the big NATO war helicopters landing beyond the cliffs and out of them pouring scores of paramilitary cops from Madrid -- tough bastards who came with machine pistols and gas and billy clubs that they used up in the Basque country against the ETA guerrillas. Me and the kid, an eejit called Goosey, slipped away from the drunken insurgents under the cover of darkness. We negotiated our way through the abandoned holiday villas and the half-built outlying hotels and the pink-shaded small pensions where a few British expats hid in the dark, having retired to Tenerife to escape the bad weather and (ironically) the growing yob culture of England.
Goosey, it turned out, was a bit of a mental case from some East London shitehole who wanted us to do a Clockwork Orange-style burglary on some of the pensions, nicking things and hurting people and generally raising a bit of hell, but I would have none of it. They might have shooters, I told Goosey, and Goosey thought this was entirely plausible and got discouraged from the idea.
Instead up we went into the lava fields and through the mangrove and the palm trees until we'd climbed a thousand feet above the town. We slept in a barn among guano and baked hay and the sleep was the best since the riots had begun two days ago when three Millwall supporters had attacked some guy from Dublin and the peelers had allegedly beaten the near life out of them down at the cop shop. It had grown like a tropical storm, stores being looted and cars set ablaze and the climax came when the local jail had been stormed and the Millwall boys and a team of time-share crooks were let out and one person got himself shot in the shoulder by a peeler.
The town beneath us five thousand feet and four miles to the west and the paramilitary police taking no prisoners, using dogs, whips, CS gas, and water cannon and this time the rioters were being rounded up like sheep. Fires burned and the helicopters came and went and it was ending now, we could tell.
"Agua," we asked a herder and he showed us a stream and we followed it another thousand feet up into the hills where, at a stone wall, it formed part of the boundary of a hacienda. We vaulted the wall, got about a quarter of a mile before a man in a suit appeared on a three-wheeled motorbike and asked us what the hell we thought we were doing. And not about to let Goosey do the talking I explained that we were innocent kids fleeing a riot down in Playa de las Americas. The man adjusted his sunglasses and said something into a walkie-talkie. He escorted us up to the hacienda, where a beautiful woman in her forties sat us down at an oak table under pine beams and gave us water and brandy.
"Muchas gracias, bella señorita," I said and the woman laughed and muttered something to the man in sunglasses and he went back outside and then she said to me in English that she was married and was no señorita anymore and not even beautiful either. To which I sincerely disagreed and she laughed again and asked me what exactly had been going on at the beach and I told her, leaving out our part in the proceedings.
She fed us and gave us directions to the town of Guia de Isora.
By the afternoon our supplies were gone and we were lost in a region that had an uncanny similarity to the place the NASA robots keep landing on the planet Mars. Rocks, stones, thin red soil. It grew unbearably hot. Goosey started swaying a bit, and all around us desert, black lava, and the baking sun. We sat under a rock and decided to move again at night. The sun set, it grew cold, above us we saw what God had made when he was getting things ready for the Earth. A million stars. A billion. Blue and red and Doppler-shifted ultraviolet.
I thought for a minute that we were toast, but we fell in the backbone of the night and its spell guided us safely through the wilderness. The sun rose over the sand hills and in the morning we were at a wire fence surrounding a banana plantation. We broke in and with comedy climbed a tree and gorged ourselves on green fruit. Nature was a civilizing influence and Goosey had given up plans for Clockwork Orange rampages and was no...
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