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August 9, 2010 | by  | in Books | [ssba]

City of Lost Girls

City of Lost Girls
Author: Declan Hughes

Prepare to have your preconceived, Southpark-based notions about Irish detectives demolished. Running with a crime-fiction genre this week, City of Lost Girls is the fifth instalment of Declan Hughes’ Ed Loy series, about the aforementioned private eye kicking ass and taking names in his native Dublin. The story reintroduces us to Loy as he enjoys a rare lull between tempestuous storylines and a promising relationship (for once) with All the Dead Voices character Anne Fogarty. As fate would have it, renowned director Jack Donovan, Ireland’s favourite son and Loy’s estranged friend, is shooting his latest epic in Dublin, and has called on his old amigo to find out if the hate mail he’s been receiving has anything to do with the disappearance of two ‘extra-special’ extras.

Inevitably, Loy’s detective intuition slithers to life and he unearths a connection between present-day events and the similar disappearances of three female extras on a Jack Donovan film ten years prior. Light bulb moment: a killer is on the loose! After wading through allegations of incest, psychotic breaks, and of course, gold-digging ex-wives, Loy narrows the suspect pool down to Donovan and his three-man inner circle. What’s refreshing about Lost Girls is that it manages to adhere to the basest of crime fiction conventions without needing stake-out overkill or smoke-encircled vixens to remind us of what we’re reading. Although slow-moving in parts, where the plot drags, the Irish quips come a’rolling, and as long as you skim through the italicised chapters of the killer’s internal monologue, you should have a pleasantly engaging read on your hands. Oh, in case you’re wondering, Bono is referenced as the most annoying Irishman to have ever lived, and no, strangely enough his mention doesn’t cheapen reader enjoyment, and for that, I can almost hear Raymond Chandler applauding from his grave.


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