We Were Kings
By Thomas O'Malley and Douglas Graham Purdy
Tension is rising in 1950s Boston... gangs and terrorists compete for the city in this compelling historical noir.
Two years after Cal and Dante destroyed the heart of the Boston Irish mob and splintered the Boston political landscape, everyone is out for themselves and trying to claim a piece of the city.
It's early summer but already the city is in the grips of a heat wave, which doesn't help tensions any as the fractures within Boston's underworld are finding their way to the streets in payback shoot-outs between mobsters and the police. When a body is discovered at the Charlestown locks, tarred and feathered and shot, it appears to be a gangland killing, and almost immediately dismissed.
But Cal's cousin, detective Owen Lackey, who intended to intercept a boat coming into Boston weighed down with stolen guns and ammunition, recognises the murder as typical retribution for IRA informers and knows that with this murder there may be much more at stake than his superiors realise. Keen to uncover those responsible, he asks Cal and Dante to help search the Irish-American enclaves of Dudley Square, Dorchester and South Boston for some sign of the killers.
It is a journey that will take them into the shadowy parts of Boston, a world of packed dance halls, Irish wakes and funeral parlors, of down-and-out immigrant rooming houses, bars, and secret meeting halls, and, ultimately, to the discovery of a terrorist plot that will shake the city to its core and bring them head-to-head not only with Cal's past but with the IRA Army Council itself.
Thomas O'Malley was raised in Ireland and England. He is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and currently teaches on the faculty of creative writing at Dartmouth College. He is the author of the novels In the Province of Saints and This Magnificent Desolation. He lives in the Boston area.
Douglas Graham Purdy grew up in the Boston area. He is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Boston and worked in Film & Media Studies at MIT. This is his first novel.
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- Publication date:
30 Jun 2016
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Brutally realistic...The authors give us one last, lingering look at the good-bad old days — New York Times Book Review
This is a bone-crunching, gut-wrenching novel that captures the atmosphere of a city in decay and its inhabitants. It delivers noir fiction like we always want it to be — Kirkus Reviews
O'Malley and Purdy don't take any prisoners in their portrayal of a city living on the edge of destruction — Northern Echo
O'Malley and Purdy bring postwar Boston to life, making neighbourhoods feel as distinct as separate countries...They have delivered a love-letter to a Boston that's long gone. — Publishers Weekly
Gorgeous...A noir novel can be the high, slippery tightrope of mysteries. It's difficult to sustain a dark, moody balance; many writers slide right off into caricature. But O'Malley and Purdy let in just enough daylight - even if it's harsh winter light - to hold out hope of redemption. — WBUR