In the style of Benjamin Black, an evocative, literary crime thriller
An IRA attack leaves two guards dead on the streets of Dublin. Two days later, a battle between warring gangs erupts at a race meeting, and on Ireland's east coast the cremated bodies of a wealthy family of five are found in their shuttered, burned-out villa.
Dispatched from Special Branch to investigate, Detective Inspector Stefan Gillespie soon finds himself caught in a web of Irish, British and German Intelligence - all playing against each other, all watching each other, and all plagued by rogue operators they can't quite control, as the certainty grows that Hitler is about to invade England.
And then, Stephen is sent to Berlin on a sensitive mission. His journey home becomes a dangerous pursuit in which no one can be trusted and the information he carries puts his life on the line.
Having already brought 1930s Dublin and Danzig vividly to life in his outstanding debut The City of Shadows, Russell does the same for New York in a sequel that's even better. The unique complexity of Ireland's divided loyalties and enmities on the eve of the Second World War is explored with unusual clarity and intelligence, and there are plenty of thrills and spills too
Complex but compelling ... utterly vivid and convincing ... Michael Russell's style is a pleasure: easy, fluent, clear, always calm and never over-heated. The result is an exciting comfort read, which sounds like a paradox but isn't - Independent on Sunday
Part thriller and part historical novel, this is a blinder of a read! - The Sun
A great insight into a turbulent time in Dublin and Ireland, in a challenging-to-your-heartbeat kind of way - Evening Herald
A superb, atmospheric thriller...A page turner of high quality, populated by a marvellous set of fictional characters, interwoven cleverly with real characters of the era. Highly recommended - Irish Independent
In action ranging from Dublin to Danzig Russell has drawn on real-life Irish characters whose decent behaviour in the face of the impending Holocaust has been sadly lost over the years. This book has triumphantly revived their reputation - Jewish Chronicle
After a successful career as a television writer and producer, working on such series as A Touch of Frost, Midsomer Murders and Between the Lines, Michael Russell decided to write what he had always wanted to: books.
The City in Darkness is the third of his Stefan Gillespie stories of historical crime fiction, taking a sideways look at the Second World War through Irish eyes, and exploring some unexpected corners of the conflict, such as Danzig, New York and, in The City in Darkness, the cities of Franco's Spain. The first two Stefan Gillespie novels, The City of Shadows and The City of Strangers were both shortlisted for Crime Writers' Association awards.
Michael lives with his family in West Wicklow, in Ireland, not a million miles from Stefan Gillespie's home.