Take a look at Declan Hughes' dark thriller, The Price of Blood. Ed Loy has been given one of the stranger assignments of his career: a missing persons case in which the only piece of information he has to work with is the name of the missing person; no dates, no workplace, no family, simply a name - Patrick Hutton. And finding one particular Patrick Hutton in Ireland is akin to finding, say, one particular Jim Anderson in the U.S. Still, the payday is welcome, and the client impeccable: a dying Catholic priest. Nonetheless, Loy begins to question his assignment (and perhaps his sanity with regard to staying on the job) as the bodies pile up in unlikely places. Loy is an exceptionally well-drawn character, strong but not unnecessarily violent, introspective without being angst-ridden. The dialogue is spare and edgy, the pacing crisp; Hughes' sense of local color, and particularly his ability to impart it to his readers, is absolutely spot on.

(This review originally appeared in our March 2008 issue.)

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