Tuesday 4 January 2022

Book Review ~ Under the Bridge by Jack Byrne


Northodox Press 

Liverpool Mysteries #1

My thanks to the author for my copy of this book

2004 - The discovery of a skeleton in the Liverpool docklands unearths long buried secrets. Reporter, Anne McCarthy, is keen to prove herself and dives into the case with abandon where she finds Michael, an old Irish caretaker who knows far more than he’s letting on and may have a connection to the body.

Meanwhile, Vinny Doyle, is starting a postgrad degree, researching Liverpool’s immigrant history and a burgeoning Scouse identity. But Vinny has been neglecting his own family history and stranger Michael might know about his father's disappearance in the 70s.

1955 - Escaping violence in Ireland and fresh off the boat, Michael falls in with Wicklow boys Jack Power and Paddy Doyle, who smuggle contraband through the docks putting them at odds with unions while they rally the dock workers against the rackets and the strikebreakers. A story of corruption, secret police, and sectarianism slowly unravels. But will the truth out?

As the conflict heightens, Michael questions the life sprawling out ahead of him. In the present, Anne races to solve the mystery, but is she prepared for what she’ll find?

My Review..

The discovery of human remains on a Liverpool building site offers local newspaper reporter, Anne McCarthy, the chance to do a bit of investigative work however, researching her article for the The Chronicle brings Anne into contact with those who wish the skeletal remains had never been unearthed. Together with her friend, Vinny Doyle, who is trying to find out more about his Irish/Scouse identity, they try to put together the pieces of a complicated puzzle, which dates back to 1955. 

The mystery at the heart of the novel is well thought out and I enjoyed learning more about Liverpool's rich heritage and the influx of Irish immigrants who have added their own unique history to this complex city. I found the story particularly relevant as my own family arrived via the port of Liverpool, from Co. Wicklow in Ireland, in order to make a new start in the North West of England.

This dual time story moves effortlessly between time frames and I felt equally at home in the complicated Liverpool of the nineteen fifties as I did in the more modern interpretation of the city. The author, himself a native of Liverpool, certainly knows his city well, and I felt like I had a knowledgeable guide as we went around the various locations all so realistically described it's as if you are walking the same streets as the characters who make this story all their own.

Under the Bridge is the first in a proposed series of four books and it certainly allows these Liverpool  mysteries to get off to a fine start. I look forward to seeing where this talented author will go next with this journey into a fascinating city and the people who call it home.

Best Read with... A bowl of lob scouse and a pint of half and half..

About the Author

Twitter: @jackbyrnewriter #UnderTheBridge

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