Review: A June of Ordinary Murders by Conor Brady

Description (from cover):

‘A thrilling, beautifully written mystery debut that brings Victorian Dublin vividly, passionately to life, drawing readers on a gripping journey of murder and intrigue.
In the 1880’s the Dublin Metropolitan Police classified crime in two distinct categories. Political crimes were classed as “special,” whereas theft, robbery, and even murder, no matter how terrible, were known as “ordinary.”
Dublin, June 1887: The city swelters in a long summer heat wave, the criminal underworld simmers, and with it, the threat of nationalist violence is growing. Meanwhile, the Dublin Castle administration hopes the celebration of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee will pass peacefully. Then, the mutilated bodies of a man and child are discovered in Phoenix Park and Detective Sergeant Joe Swallow steps up to investigate. Cynical and tired, Swallow is a man living on past successes and in need of a win. With the land war at its height, the priority is to contain special crime, and these murders appear to be ordinary–and thus of lesser priority. But when the evidence suggests high-level involvement, and the body count increases, Swallow must navigate the treacherous waters of foolish superiors, political directives, and frayed tempers to solve the case, find the true murderer, and deliver justice.
Written by the former editor of The Irish Times, A June of Ordinary Murders is an accomplished, atmospheric debut that captures the life and essence of Dublin in the 1880’s and introduces an unforgettable new sleuth.’

My thoughts:

It took me a little while to get into this book. The first half, I felt was a little more of a background and research for the reader and the second half is the actual thrill ride of a mystery. I did like this book, I just wish the beginning had a little more of the excitement that the second half had. It took me a while longer to get through the first half then it did the second and that bothered me a little. Overall, I thought that this was a well-researched and exciting read. I rarely read historical mysteries set in Ireland and it was a change of scenery for me. I like the political tension that wove through the time period and each page of the book and it really lent an excitable air to the book. The Dublin Metropolitan Police were on edge with nationalists and Fenians trying to make a political stand and it didn’t help that members of the royal family were making an appearance in Dublin.
This book starts off with Detective Sergeant Swallow arriving at the scene of a brutal murders of a man and a young boy. The bodies are heavily mutilated and in a disastrous state and it lands on Swallow to discover what exactly happened. Swallow sets out on his murder investigations and soon discovers that there is a whole lot more going on then what meets the eye. He has to deal with corrupt police officers and politicians as well as underworld crime gangs. It seems that no matter what avenue Swallow decides to act upon, he always hits a road block or snag along the way. When it seems that he is getting nowhere, a clue breaks the case wide open and the chase is on.
Overall, I thought that this book was a good debut. I am hoping that there will be more of Swallow in the future as I enjoyed his character and the setting. I think that the author did a fantastic job of creating a scene for the reader and it really drew me into this book. I am hoping that this is the beginning of a new historical mystery series, because it is definitely one that I would love to continue reading. I enjoyed that this was something a little different for me and I can only hope that more books are soon to follow. Update: This is the beginning of a new series. It seems book #2 in this series, The Eloquence of the Dead will be released in the Spring of 2016. Cannot wait to read it!

Overall Rating: 4

Title:  A June of Ordinary Murders
Author:  Conor Brady
Series:  Joe Swallow Mystery #1
Publisher:  Minotaur Books
Publication Date:  April 21, 2015
Pages:  400
Genre:  Historical Mystery
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: This book was selected from the library by myself and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

2 thoughts on “Review: A June of Ordinary Murders by Conor Brady

  1. I'd love to read a historical mystery set in Ireland, but the slow start might be difficult to overcome – right now I'm finding it hard to stay “in” a book that doesn't keep me riveted. Good review!


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