"A masterfully written, complex thriller about one man’s obsession with righting the wrongs of the past."
Booklife Prize Critic's Report, 9.5/10 - Starving Men (July 31, 2020)
Starving Men - 2020 Readers' Favorite Award Winner
An Irish psychiatrist, a professional killer, and a twisted revenge for history.
Dublin, 2019: Michael Gleeson is a well-respected psychiatrist – a quiet man, a good friend, and a useless cook. He also spends part of his professional life secretly counseling former members of the disbanded IRA. Michael always thought this would be enough to satisfy his Irish Republican heritage, but when the highly skilled yet deeply disturbed Turlough O’Sullivan enters his office, Michael sees an opportunity that he just can't overlook.
Haunted by childhood tales of the gruesome history of the Irish people under British rule, Michael persuades his new patient to help him track down and kill the living descendants of the worst men in Ireland’s history - Cromwell, Trevelyan, and other figures whose names still send a shiver down the spine.
But Michael's plan for a twisted and bloody revenge doesn't run smoothly: not only must he face the brutal truth about the role models who formed him as a child, but on his trail is a young Irish detective on temporary assignment to Scotland Yard, an officer who becomes obsessed with stopping the unknown serial killer who is out for an historical revenge that she can't understand.
"A murder mystery like no other...Psychology and history combine to create a riveting and engrossing read."
Readers' Favorite Review, 5 stars
"Unwavering momentum... An absorbing tale brimming with politics, historical details, and mystery. This whodunit has a discernible, enthralling narrative arc that reaches a gratifying resolution before the end."
"This is exactly what I expect to feel when I read a thriller. The narrative is smooth, the story flows seamlessly and the atmosphere of the setting gave me chills."
Readers' Favorite Review, 5 stars
"Fast paced and meticulously plotted...haunting prose and excellent use of tension set the novel apart."
Booklife Prize Critic's Report
"A complex, suspenseful plot with tension so thick it felt palpable."
I was born in the centre of Dublin, about a ten-minute walk from Stephen's Green but we thought we were in the suburbs. That was the seventies, and I'm sure everything was shit but it didn't feel too bad. In college, I studied science because if you got the points in your Leaving (exam), they had to let you in. As soon as I got my little diploma or whatever it was I landed a job in a technical-publishing company where I had to make other people's articles as concise as possible. It was going to be a temporary gig until I found a proper science-y job in a huge science-y company. Instead, I loved the job so much I stayed for 13 years. You learn a few things about words after that length of time, but there's still a world to learn.
I write literary thrillers because there's nothing as enjoyable as page-turners with a message, big or small. My debut novel, Starving Men, was inspired by my first-ever attempt at a thriller, a novel called The Copenhagen Break that I've sworn to myself I'll finish someday, is still an horrific disaster, and taught me everything I know about taking a scythe to sentences.
I'd love to be able to answer where the idea for Starving Men came from. What I know is that the main character of The Copenhagen Break was a young ex-IRA man who found himself on witness protection in the Danish capital city, and his father was a outcast member of the organization. This father character was a deeply troubled man who had seen decades of conflict both in Northern Ireland and overseas. At one stage, I wondered how he would ever be able to overcome, or at least live with, the things he had seen and done. It was only a short step to summoning up a psychiatrist who secretly counsels such men, one small step to giving life to Michael Gleeson.
And the rest, as they say, is literally history.