There are only a few authors who can create readable, believable historical fiction, and there are even fewer who can create a page-turning thriller within that genre. The father and son writing team of Michael and Patrick McMenamin are definitely the exception. With The De Valera Deception, the first book in what looks to be an amazing series, the McMenamin’s have recreated the robust world of the late 1920’s just before the Depression. This is a world of gin, jazz, the Industrial Revolution, women’s suffrage and the beginning of some modern day world-wide conspiracies. Bourke Cockran is summoned by Winston Churchill to investigate how the Irish Republican Army is getting arms from the German government through channels in the United States. With the help of Mattie McGary, a photojournalist for Hearst and the god-daughter of Churchill, they embark on a non-stop thrill filled adventure from London to New York and places in between. A Germany left bitter after WWI seeks to rebuild its former glory by any means, including a clandestine partnership with the Soviet Union. The beginning of modern spy warfare, international terrorism, and the formation of new European alliances keep Cockran and Mattie barely ahead of the bullets and the law. Even though they are attracted to each other, Cockran is still grieving over the loss of his wife who was murdered in the Civil War that erupted in Ireland in 1922. The primary reason he took the job form Churchill is that he wants revenge for his wife at any cost. This thriller is peppered with Soviet assassins, IRA terrorists, government bureaucracy, legendary historical figures, and notorious gangsters that give the reader an intense and intriguing read.
The DeValera Deception is an excellent novel, woven with rich historical detail that breaths vitality and life into the people of an often overlooked era.