I do love a book that grips you from the start and having just finished The Devil’s Half Mile by Paddy Hirsch, I can confirm that this book does just that. Published through Corvus Books in July this year, it’s a book I can thoroughly recommend, especially if you like a bit of history thrown in with a good thriller.
The Devil’s Half Mile is set in New York in 1799 at a time where the city is growing quickly and is recovering well following the financial crisis on Wall Street in 1792. Justice (Justy) Flanagan has returned home from fighting in the Irish Rebellion to try to uncover who murdered his father. Not only was he a fighter but he’d also earned his law degree in Dublin as well as learning new detective skills in both London and Paris. He returns to use these new skills to track down the truth, and ultimately, his father’s killer.
As he arrives back in the city, which is still fairly lawless and run by racketeers, he is made aware of a number of young black slave girls that have been murdered. Could there be a link to his father?
The story gives an insight to life in the poorest area of New York in the late 1700’s and to how the financial district was built and run at that point in time. The police force that we know today hadn’t yet been introduced and gangs really were in charge. There were figures on Wall Street who were talking about the future and the creation of the New York Stock Exchange with trading rules, all of which was to come, but not until 1817.
As Justy searches for the truth he uncovers a story of lies and corruption and discovers that perhaps his father wasn’t quite the man he thought he was. He’s never believed the official line that his father committed suicide and will face fraudsters and racketeers as he tries to learn the real story behind he’s father’s death.
I found The Devil’s Half Mile a really interesting read, set in a period in New York that I knew nothing about, with realistic characters and an underlying story of friendship and love. It certainly kept me turning the pages and I’ve included my Amazon Affiliate link below for your reference. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
disclosure: we were sent the item mentioned in exchange for an honest review