Dead I Well May Be: A Novel
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This Irish bad-boy thriller -- set in the hardest streets of New York City -- brims with violence, greed, and sexual betrayal.
"I didn't want to go to America, I didn't want to work for Darkey White. I had my reasons. But I went."
So admits Michael Forsythe, an illegal immigrant escaping the Troubles in Belfast. But young Michael is strong and fearless and clever -- just the fellow to be tapped by Darkey, a crime boss, to join a gang of Irish thugs struggling against the rising Dominican powers in Harlem and the Bronx. The time is pre-Giuliani New York, when crack rules the city, squatters live furtively in ruined buildings, and hundreds are murdered each month. Michael and his lads tumble through the streets, shaking down victims, drinking hard, and fighting for turf, block by bloody block.
Dodgy and observant, not to mention handy with a pistol, Michael is soon anointed by Darkey as his rising star. Meanwhile Michael has very inadvisably seduced Darkey's girl, Bridget -- saucy, fickle, and irresistible. Michael worries that he's being followed, that his affair with Bridget will be revealed. He's right to be anxious; when Darkey discovers the affair, he plans a very hard fall for young Michael, a gambit devilish in its guile, murderous in its intent.
But Darkey fails to account for Michael's toughness and ingenuity or the possibility that he might wreak terrible vengeance upon those who would betray him.
A natural storyteller with a gift for dialogue, McKinty introduces to readers a stunning new noir voice, dark and stylish, mythic and violent -- complete with an Irish lilt.
store. I stared at the window for a while, and the man gave me an are-you-coming-in-or-not look. I went in. I bought a pint bottle of brandy, and he gave it to me in a brown paper bag. I was thus constitutionally protected against unlawful search if I drank it in the street. It was only encouraging me. I decided to walk all the way home and drink the brandy as I walked. It was snowing now and I’d lost my hat somewhere. I shivered. I drank the bottle and went into another liquor store and got
want to talk to you, he said. Sure, go ahead, Sunshine. Over here, Sunshine said, and led me over to the bar. This is for you, he said and gave me an envelope. I wanted to be cool and not look, but I couldn’t help it. I opened it and there were ten fifty-dollar bills inside. More than twice (after Darkey’s taxes) what I got in a week. What’s this for? I asked. For this morning. If you hadn’t talked with him, we all would have been arrested. Or worse. You convinced his employees, not him. But
press it. I gave Scotchy a look that he didn’t see. Your man Jimmy Deacon had one of them dogs, used to carry it round in his sea jacket, Scotchy said, getting all ruminative with us. God, Jimmy Deacon, I haven’t heard of that name for a while, Fergal said. I hadn’t heard it at all, but I was saying nothing since we seemed to be well off the subject of attack dogs now. Aye, you remember him, Bruce, don’t ya? He was the boy with the one arm that saved yon boy from drowning. That was Scotchy
Surely it was foolishness not to accept a loan from a friend and wasn’t that what I was going to do in Brooklyn anyway? Since he put it that way, it was hard for me to refuse, so I took his name and address and I did pay the bugger back about a month or so later, when, incredibly, I was on Ramón’s payroll, wearing a thousand-dollar suit and carrying a bloody Uzi. He gave me two hundred-dollar bills and left me with handshakes at the bus station in Las Vegas. I bought a ticket to New York and
Bridget’s trip to me had been the final straw, or the missing piece of evidence. I wondered why Darkey hadn’t just had me shot and dumped me. It puzzled me and I thought for a moment. It was unnecessarily torturing Bob, but the big guy could handle it. The only thing I could come up with was that Darkey did it for the sake of Bridget’s feelings. I mean, she’s smart. She doesn’t look it, but she is. If I just disappeared she’d twig, she’d know he’d murdered me, and Darkey was probably right to