In the style of Benjamin Black, an evocative, literary crime thriller set in Ireland and London during the outbreak of WWII.
1941, and Detective Inspector Stefan Gillespie is ferrying documents between Dublin and war-torn London. When Ireland's greatest actor is arrested in Soho, after the brutal murder of a gay man, Stefan extricates him from an embarrassing situation. But suddenly he is looking at a series of murders, stretching across Britain and Ireland. The deaths were never investigated deeply as dead queers are nobody's priority. And there are reasons to look away now. It's not only that the killer may be a British soldier, Scotland Yard is also hiding the truth about the victim. But an identical murder in Malta makes investigation essential.
Malta, at the heart of the Mediterranean war, is under siege by German and Italian bombers. Rumours that a British soldier murdered a Maltese teenager can't go unchallenged without damaging loyalty to Britain. Now Britain will cooperate with Ireland to find the killer and Stefan is sent to Malta. The British believe the killer is an Irishman; that's the result they want. And they'd like Stefan to give it to them. But in the dark streets of Valletta there are threats deadlier than German bombs...
Praise for Michael Russell
'Complex but compelling . . . utterly vivid and convincing' Independent on Sunday
'A superb, atmospheric thriller' Irish Independent
'A thriller to keep you guessing and gasping' Daily Mail
'Atmospheric' Sunday Times
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' - Crime Writers' Association Jury on 'The City in Darkness'
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 on The City in Darkness
Part thriller and part historical novel, this is a blinder of a read! - The Sun on The City in Darkness
A great insight into a turbulent time in Dublin and Ireland, in a challenging-to-your-heartbeat kind of way - Evening Herald on The City in Darkness
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.