Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I am in Blood by Joe Murphy


I am in Blood is the third novel from Wexford born author Joe Murphy. This outing sees the author combine the psychological suspense of Dead Dogs and the historical fiction of 1798 Tomorrow the Barrow We'll Cross. I am in Blood proposes the fictional possibility that after his Whitechapel murders Jack the Ripper came to Dublin. The story is told through three narrative voices; Nathan Jacob a present day teenager coming to terms with his father's death, Sgt George Frohmell a member of the 1890s Dublin Metropolitan Police force and the killer himself.
The book opens with the brutal killing of Mary Shortt in Victorian Dublin's notorious red light district The Monto and as Frohmell investigates he starts to see similarities to the Whitechapel slayings. The narrative device is incredibly clever as we see Nathan map out and follow in the footsteps of George who is also attempting to map out and track the killer.
The book is an utterly compelling read and I simply couldn't put it down. Murphy's setting and his characters are wonderful depictions and his portrayal of Victorian Dublin's poverty, crime and politics are top notch. I particularly enjoyed the portrait of George the DMP Sergeant. Frohmell is sandwiched uncomfortably between the powers that be at Dublin Castle who consider him beneath their notice and are only interested in stamping out Fenian unrest and the ordinary masses of Dublin's teeming poor who spit at him and consider him a filthy peeler and an even filthier prod. Nonetheless George's dedication to his city and his people is absolute, topped only by his dedication to the woman he loves. I felt wrenched out of 1890s Dublin when the book ended and could happily have read another hundred pages about these characters. I think this is Joe Murphy's best work yet. If you are a fan of Kevin McCarthy's Peeler and Irregulars you will love this book and I am sure this book will see Joe Murphy gain many new fans.



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