Irish crime fiction seems to be riding the crest of a wave at the moment, with a number of new writers arriving on the scene and attracting a wider readership. Even John Banville is getting in on the act with a couple of successful novels, writing under the pseudonym of Benjamin Black.
I read the first of Declan Hughes’s novels about his dysfunctional private detective Ed Loy (The Wrong Kind of Blood) last year and thought it a highly respectable debut. Well, I say debut, but Hughes is a seasoned writer and well-respected as a playwright and theatremaker on the Irish theatre scene for his work with Rough Magic, which is one reason why I wanted to read the novel in the first place. Although I enjoyed The Wrong Kind of Blood, The Colour of Blood is a much more confident piece of work. Hughes now seems to have a steady control of the genre and, although the bloodbath at the end of the novel, stretches credulity a little, this really kept me reading with its fast-paced narrative and gritty realism. The second novel has established Ed Loy as a character worthy of revisting. I look forward now to reading the third in the series which was published last month.