In S.E Finkielman’s Starving Men, Dr Michael Gleeson had lived through difficult and hard times and had the dark memories to prove it. He recalled many of the hardships, and the names of those who forced difficult times on Ireland. When his new patient, Turlough O’Sullivan, an employee of a decommissioned IRA associate, creates an undeniable bond between them, Michael decides to ask for this murder’s aid in bringing justice to people he never knew but whose names had been remembered by history, carved in blood and suffering. However, one cannot take such actions and expect to remain unnoticed. Detective Margaret ‘Maggie’ O’Malley becomes as obsessed with this case as he is with obtaining historical justice. Will she close in on the killer, or will he remain hidden in the shadows, executing justice in the name of his homeland?
S.E Finkielman’s Staving Men is a gripping crime thriller set mainly between London and Dublin. The writing style gives a great atmosphere of both places. I especially enjoyed how we delved into the main character’s memories and knowledge to uncover the consequences of past historical horrors, and how we even relived some of the horrors experienced during and after the time of The Great Hunger through snippets of other people and saw how their repercussions continued for countless years to come. The smooth first-person narrative from Micheal’s perspective gives readers an instant connection to him, he is well respected in his field, but harbours a grudge he cannot release. For me this was as educational as it was entertaining, bringing to light atrocities and a history I was never taught in school. The characters are well-defined and realistic added a believable spin to the unfolding plot. A murder mystery like no other, with not only historical motives but an engaging plot that in places put me in mind of Red Dragon. Psychology and history combine to create a riveting and engrossing read.