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John Brady is an Irish author of mystery and thrillers novels popularly known for his acclaimed Inspector Matt Minogue mystery series. Having lived in Dublin all his life, he divides his time between Ireland and Canada where he and his wife raise their children. John moved to Canada in his twenties and has worked as an RCMP clerical officer, bank official, and a teacher. His seventh book in Inspector Matt Minogue series explores Dublin’s fast-growing economy and its aftermath at every level in the society. In 1988 his book A Stone of the Heart won Arthur Ellis Award for the best debut novel category.

The Heart of Stone

The first book in the Inspector Minogue series introduces us to Jarlath Walsh. He’s a shy and idealistic student of Trinity College Dublin. He dreams of a future where he’ll be a famous journalist, but his dreams are soon cut short when he is knocked off with a stone while walking across the college grounds. Inspector Kilmartin sees this as a case to bring back one of his mystery solvers Sergeant Matt Minogue into the murder squad. Matt has been recovering after surviving a bomb attack that ended the British Ambassador’s life a year ago.

Even before the bomb blast that almost ended his life, Inspector Minogue previously existed in somewhat a different world from his colleagues. He was perceptive, thoughtful, thorough, and unflappable, unlike his colleagues. As he begins his investigations, it’s pretty clear that something doesn’t sit right from the word go. The evidence available suggests that the student’s death might be drug-related, but the inspector’s instincts don’t allow him to believe that kind of narrative. As he starts his investigations afresh, the Trouble originating from the North visit the city and soon police officers start losing their lives. Then someone tries to assassinate Inspector Minogue.

A Stone of the Heart is the debut novel in Matt Minogue series. It’s a credit to the author that the novel feels like mid-series. Inspector Minogue is a well-woven character with depth and resonance. John Brady provides the reader with sufficient family context and back-story without dwelling on it and slowing the story. The social intersection between the characters in the novel is beautifully explored, and the character dialogue is spot on, capturing the banter and the colloquialism of an Irish brogue. The author does a fantastic job of vividly capturing the political atmosphere in the South and the political tensions that exists between active support for the IRA and beginning republicanism. The tale is well written with a fast, steady pace.

Unholy Ground

The second book in the series is set in the late 1980s. An Englishman named Arthur Combs is discovered dead at his home at the foot of Dublin Mountains. Sergeant Minogue is assigned to this case and immediately embarks on trying to figure out whether the Englishman died a natural death or someone murdered him.
But Sergeant Minogue is a thoughtful man and a family man who quickly establishes that the Englishman’s death was no natural death or robbery with violence.
On the other side of the Sea, two people, one of them an MI5 and the other a foreign officer are equally concerned by Comb’s death. The older man was a low-level agent working for the British government and had a troubled past. With the new Anglo-Irish talks about to start, for differing reasons, everyone wants to know what damage the low-level agent might have done before he was murdered. While one of them doesn’t have faith in Irish police, the other already knows that Minogue is a shrewd detective with a knack for revealing the truth. Before long, a second man is murdered.

First published in 1989, Unholy Ground is the novel book in Matt Minogue series. It’s a story more about its time, focusing on the death of a British detective near Dublin, Ireland during The Troubles, but focusing more about the cat and mouse game between British establishment and the Irish police and their connection to the violence in the North. John Brady’s story is divided into two threads. The first thread follows the investigation headed by Sergeant Matt Minogue. The second major thread follows the moves of an MI5 agent who precisely knows how the agent’s killing could stir up political crisis. The result of this blend is an engaging read that bears a close resemblance to John Le Carre’s Smiley Books. The story also focuses on the everyday routine nature of politics and policing. Kenyon and Minogue aren’t the action heroes but instead are pawns in a taut game of chess where a false move does have dire consequences. The sense of place, the dialogue, characterization, and the plot are all engaging and well executed.

Kaddish in Dublin

The body of a journalist is found washed up on the shoreline in Dublin. The young man is the son of a well known judge who is also a member of the Jewish society. A small Palestinian group claimed responsibility for the killing. The judge asks Minogue to investigate. Sergeant Minogue has to face the fact that he’ll navigate the tough religious landscape of the city, both Catholic and Jewish as well as the politics of the police department.
As soon as he starts his investigations, his instincts tell him that he could be dealing with a conspiracy theory, one that’s closer home and has possible far-reaching consequences.

Kaddish in Dublin is the third novel in Matt Minogue series. The series is one of the best Irish police procedural set in South. The novels are candid procedurals depicting the realism of everyday life and politics of the Irish society at the time its set. In other words, the novels are move Scandinavian than most UK or US contemporary series giving the readers a good dose of Irish humor. The story in the second book is set in the late 1980s, focusing on the death of the son of a prominent judge. Given the political conservatism, scandals, and the power of the church, the story doesn’t feel outlandish.

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5 Responses to “John Brady”

  1. Judy Barrette-Flint: 12 months ago

    “Haywire” became this and was self-published (I have ready it): Crash: A Sergeant Tommy Malone Crime Novel – January 9, 2018 – Ireland may be reeling from the shocks of the crash, but Dublin’s still a small place. Bernadette Cummins has her own worries, though – her only surviving son Gary is missing. She can’t trust the Guards to search properly for him. It’s not just because staffing is at crisis levels: her husband Tony is a criminal godfather, now serving a lengthy sentence. Frantic, she turns to her childhood friend for help – Sheila Malone, Sergeant Tommy Malone’s Ma. The women’s loyalties run deep and wide and long. With Bernie facing cancer, Sheila won’t let her down. Fiercely loyal to his Ma, Tommy Malone cannot help but become entangled. In a meet with Bernie’s infamous husband, he gets a coded signal that a deal can be done: information exchanged for finding the Cummins’ son alive. A huge coup for the Guards? Maybe. But as the saying goes, the past can be unpredictable. With all the old standbys crumbling around them, people are turning against one another. Neither Tommy nor those around him foresee what this collision of crime and loyalty will bring.

    “Nobody’s Fool” is not out yet I think–he is trying to find another publisher after his old publisher went bust. – this is summary of book he supplied some time ago “Being father to a teenage girl is no walk in the park – the more so if you’re separated from her mother, and your daughter lives with her. Malone’s mate Spots Feeney knows this, but he can work through it on his own – usually. This is different. Jessica, his wayward 15 year old is hanging around with dodgy people. But Jess is her father’s weak spot: Spots just cannot put the heavy word on her. So he asks Tommy Malone. ‘You’re the copper,’ he reasons. ‘She’ll listen to you.’ After an abrasive encounter in a café, Malone drives Jessica home. Through next morning’s hangover, he learns that twenty minutes after he left the restaurant, two men were brutally shot to death. Is this just a terrifying example of crime in the ‘new’ Ireland, a hired foreign killer who has already vanished? Only the persistent, obsessive hobby of an alcoholic copper will reveal a path forward. The insider culture that holds Ireland hostage has proved deadly.”

    Reply
    • Graeme: 12 months ago

      Thanks so much for taking the time to share all that Judy. Much appreciated!

      Reply
  2. DEBORAH MC HUGH: 3 years ago

    I can find them on Amazon US. They are good books and worth finding and reading.

    Reply
  3. Philip Large: 3 years ago

    I am looking for two books by John Brady in Tommy Malone series they are: Haywire and Nobody’s Fool. They are not on B&N or Amazon sites. Where are they available?

    Reply
    • Graeme: 3 years ago

      I can’t find any evidence of those books existing.

      Reply

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