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Bloodland by Alan Glynn
Review by Mel Jacob
Picador Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780312621285
Date: 31 January 2012 List Price $16.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Alan Glynn writes noir conspiracy thrillers and Bloodland offers his latest. Jimmy Gilroy, an out-of- work reporter, has a contract to produce a book about the death of an Irish celebrity, Susie Monaghan, killed in a helicopter crash on the rugged Irish coast with five businessmen. As Jimmy digs into Susie's past and the crash, he discovers hints of a possible assassination, but of whom?

The business men and the U.N. official on board were attending a conference on business ethics. Susie was there because she hoped for a reconciliation with her former fiancÚ. She also was a heavy drug user and free with sexual favors. Jimmy begins by contacting Susie's sister, but an old friend soon warns him to stop. Eventually, he is offered the opportunity to ghost write the memoirs of the former prime minister, but only if he gives up the Monaghan project.

The novel also follows the careers of several others: the ex-prime minister, several high-powered businessmen, and a U.S. presidential hopeful. Jimmy's investigations reveal political corruption and manipulation in efforts to control a major source of a rare element. An African strongman controls the mines where the element is found.

When a private security guard goes berserk on a trip to an airstrip, he sets in motion events with far-reaching consequences. The presidential hopeful is injured in a place he wasn't supposed to be. Attempts to cover up his presence create more problems. Powerful men used to solving their problems with money or force find themselves victims.

Events take place against the disintegration of the Irish economy. Other suspicious deaths occur, but whether accidents or murder is unclear. The deeper Jimmy digs the more those in power try to stop him. He finds allies in unexpected places.

The major problem with this type of contemporary history is the rapid changes the world is undergoing. To maintain believability is key. Sometimes the use of real names and events undermines belief in the story. In many ways, Glynn holds up a mirror of unpleasantness that seems almost too familiar.

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