Burnt-out lawyer Ed Burke flees New York, a failed marriage, and a high pressure career as a criminal attorney and returns home to Dublin, Europe's most happening city. Hand-in-hand with the new prosperity, a culture of ruthless corruption has taken root and threatens to pervade the highest levels of government in Celtic Tiger Ireland and the EU. Ed's new job, defending a prominent developer in a tribunal investigating the rezoning of prime residential property, draws him into the world of Ireland's elite movers and shakers who will stop at nothing to achieve their aims. He is also drawn into a passionate affair with an old flame, Pia, now the glamorous wife of a corrupt and powerful political leader. As his infatuation turns into love, Pia is murdered in his own bed, and Ed has no doubt that her heartless, power-hungry husband is behind this murder. Edmund Burke's quest to avenge Pia and free himself from a troubled past becomes an adrenaline-pumping race to save Ireland from the grip of a cabal of corrupt power brokers. He must find his way through a tangled web of lies, deceit and murder as he matches his wits against the Machiavellian schemes of the rich, the famous and the powerful who seek to mould the future of Europe and the West.
Pat gives an overview of the book:
Dublin, 8:00 am
There's a buzz about the place. Sure as hell wasn't here when I left twenty years ago. He remembered Dublin as the pits then. Dark, priest-ridden, can't do culture, living on government handouts and money from the emigrants. A god-forsaken hole of a place. For himself anyway. Edmund Burke. Yeah, that's me. My old man had delusions. Thought if he named me after the great Irish statesman that the name would overcome the bad genes and the lousy upbringing. Willie Burke had been a failure, failed at every no-risk job he ever attempted, and the old man had ended his days earning a mere pittance as a salesman in a tailoring shop that had seen its best days in the last century. Mass on Sunday was the highlight of his mother's week, a timid woman from the west of Ireland who'd never felt at home in the big city. An only child, Edmund had been conceived as his mother's biological clock was about to stop ticking. She'd been forty-two when she had him.
All these things flooded his mind as he jumped into the taxi at Dublin airport and told the driver to take him to Ballsbridge. He'd survived. Succeeded because his father's failure terrified him. Got into Trinity, earned a law degree, headed for England, stayed a year in a boring clerk job in a London legal firm as resident Paddy. Luck intervened. His mother's uncle in Boston sponsored him to the States. Decided that he'd go by sea instead of air. Took a 28,000 ton liner out of Liverpool. Gave him a sense of being a pilgrim setting out for the New World.
Now he was back. Why? Money, that's why. Well, one of the reasons. He was running away again. But that's another story. Taking a year off from his New York law firm. Had about enough of his mob clients. As well as his ex who wanted to rob him blind. Oh yeah, he'd stashed away a few dollars but still hadn't made that million. Maybe Dublin's the place to be these days. Everybody's here. All these faces in Dublin on a Tuesday and you see them again in New York or L.A. at the weekend. Aidan Quinn. Gabriel Byrne. Liam Neeson. Colin Farrell. Michael Flatley now a household name with Riverdance conquering the world. And Michael O'Leary and Ryanair conquering the skies. The priests are scarce on the ground these days. Divorce is legal. The Bishop of Galway has a love child with an American lover and the President of Ireland has crossed the religious divide to take communion in a Protestant cathedral. The IRA is about to call it quits and the border separating the Republic from Northern Ireland is gradually becoming an imaginary line. Money talks. And money goes where it's well treated.
Money! That's really why I'm here, he reminded himself. Not here to feel sentimental. Still, the old city looks good, he thought. New roads, new houses, construction cranes everywhere. Plenty of Mercs and BMWs. They're not taking the Liverpool boat anymore. No! They're in investment banking, working for McKinsey and Microsoft. Turning Ireland into the largest exporter of computer software outside of the United States.
At Ballsbridge Burke paid the taxi fare and walked up the Shelbourne Road. Dublin 4. The most sought after neighbourhood in Dublin. Bright skies and the early morning briskness countered his lack of sleep. Old stately homes lined the streets. Surrounded by sturdy stone walls, they exuded wealth and power. As a kid this would have been an alien place to him. Still is, he thought, as he reached a modern four-storey apartment block in Ballsbridge Gardens. He already had a key, mailed to him in New York before he'd left. Once inside, he realized that he could be anywhere. Luxury that would be right at home on Fifth Avenue. He dropped his bags, started the coffee machine, and minutes later sat in the large Jacuzzi bathtub watching the bubbles welcome him to Dublin.
Pat Mullan was born in Ireland and has lived in England, Canada and the USA. He is a graduate of St. Columb’s College, Northwestern University and the State University of New York. Formerly a banker, he now lives in Connemara, in the...