Detective Sergeant Armand Burke works for the Undercover and Surveillance Unit of the Irish Garda’s Serious Crimes Division. Relegated to staking out customs crimes because his superiors don’t trust his ability to control his temper, and distrusted by his colleagues, Burke only became a cop because his beloved wife Maeve felt he needed something more substantive than acting to be able to support a family.
Burke sees life as mediocre, and on his 36th birthday wishes for change. This is a mistake, because he gets what he wishes for – and regrets it. When Maeve goes out of town to visit relatives, and a hooker is found dead in Burke’s bedroom, in his bed, his life begins to spin out of control.
Double Ugly by Jim Murray is a free-wheeling mystery/thriller that explores people, places, and events in a way that only someone intimately familiar with the milieu could do. Follow Burke as he begins a downward spiral in his efforts to prove his innocence and redeem his life. Snappy dialogue and in-depth descriptions take you into the bowls of an environment that is so realistic you can smell the stale urine on the floors, and the dust in the air will make you sneeze. There are no likeable characters in Double Ugly; Burke is something of a psycho, and he’s set against a ruthless serial killer who is without human emotions. You nonetheless will find yourself rooting for Burke, who is bad, but makes an effort not to be completely evil.
Murray sets a gold standard for hard-boiled cozy mysteries that will be hard for others to live up to. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my review. I give this book five stars, and look forward to the next in the series.