I am delighted to be sharing my review for Hudson’s Kill by paddy Hirsch. I recieved a hardback copy of this book via Readers First. This is a historical fiction set in New York in 1803, so let me show you what it is all about…
‘A wild horse-and-carriage ride through early 19th century New York… Meticulously researched, the novel brings the city to life in lurid sensory detail.’ Noel O’Reilly, author of Wrecker
New York, 1803. The expanding city is rife with tension, and violence simmers on every street as black and Irish gangs fight for control. When a young girl is found brutally murdered, Marshal Justy Flanagan must find the killer before a mob takes the law into their own hands.
Kerry O’Toole, Justy’s friend and ally, decides to pursue her own inquiries into the girl’s murder. When they each find their way into a shadowy community on the fringes of the city, Justy and Kerry encounter a treacherous web of political conspiracy and criminal enterprise. As events dangerously escalate, they must fight to save not only the city, but also themselves…
This is a murder mystery read that also has a lot of conspiracy and tension mixed in as well. It is New York in 1803 and Kerry O’Toole finds the body of a young girl a back alley. Justy Flanagan is called in to investigate the identity of the girl and also the killer. Together Justy and Kerry kind of work together, I say kind of because they both want to find the same answers!
This is a book that has a lot going on in it. What I thought was going to be a murder mystery read, which it was by the way, also had gangs, conspiracy, rivalry and, tension. All these components added to the mixing pot that made up New York at the time. People from different, countries with various backgrounds, religious beliefs and traditions all arrived in the area. They all bring their own language and ways of speaking, and this is where I began to notice the research aspect of the book. The speech was very evident from the off as I cam across words that I recognised as being Welsh, Scottish and Irish.
The speech adds to the diversity of the setting and the people who inhabit it. The descriptions of bars, brothels, alleyways and the like bring home the fact that this is not an affluent area. The author has used the tensions to their advantage and played on it, escalating feelings between rivals. In someways this overwhelmed the investigation, but it was also part of the investigation, if you know what I mean. I just felt that the murder had been sidelined a little bit, but, at the same time I know that
This is a good read and even though there were a couple of things I struggled with, I did enjoy it. I thought it was quite a complex story and maybe this is what caught me out as I wasn’t expecting that when I started.
Earlier I mentioned about speech and I was incredibly glad to see a glossary at the end of the book, while there are some terms that I could work out, there were some that had me scratching my head. I love the inclusion of the old languages and phrases.
This is the 2nd book in the series, and as is my usual form I have not read the first one yet! So, I can say that this owrks well as a stand alone but, I would suggest reading in order as there are things mentioned that I assume are from the first book. There is also a dynamic between Just and Kerry that I am curious to know more about. So I will be reading the first book at some point to squash my curiosity.
Hudson’s Kill is an addictive if complex read and I really enjoyed it and would recommend it.
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