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Peter Quinn Books In Order

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Publication Order of Fintan Dunne Books

The Hour of the Cat (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Man Who Never Returned (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dry Bones (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Banished Children of Eve (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Looking for Jimmy (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon

Peter Quinn is a historical fiction author best known for the critically acclaimed novel “Banished Children of Eve. Quinn started out as the speechwriter for Time Inc and by the time he retired from the company in 2007 he had risen to the position of corporate editorial director.

He attended Manhattan College for his bachelors in 1969 and got his masters in 1974 from Fordham University. In 2002 he went back to Manhattan College for his doctorate degree. Starting in 1979 until 1985 he was chief speechwriter for Governor Hugh Carey and then Mario Cuomo both of New York.

He was instrumental in the crafting of Cuomo’s address on politics and religion that he gave at Notre Dame University and the Democratic Convention Speech in 1984. Quinn published his debut novel “Banished Children of Eve” in 1994 and the novel went on to become an award-winning title winning the American Book Award in 1995. After a ten-year hiatus, he came back with “Hour of the Cat” in 2005.

The novel was the first of the “Fintan Dunne” series of novels that told the story of one of the lead characters that he introduced in his debut fiction novel. Given his interest in Irish American history, he has also published the 2007 non-fiction work “Looking for Jimmy” that takes a look at the Irish immigrant experience.

A man of many talents, Peter Quinn has also been an editor and scriptwriter for television. In 1987 he wrote the script for “McSorley’s New York,” a television documentary that won an Outstanding Historical Programming Emmy Award.

Given his work in Irish American history, he has been involved in several documentaries about Irish America. He advised on “Gangs of New York” the critically acclaimed and commercially successful Martin Scorsese film, “The Life and Times of Stephen Foster” and was a guest commentator on Academy Award-nominated “The Life and Times of Stephen Foster,” “New York A Documentary Film” and “The Irish America.”

Between 1986 and 1993, he was the editor of “The Recorder,” a journal published by the American Irish Historical Society. He has also written reviews and articles for the likes of Eire-Ireland, The LA Times, The New York Times, The Philadelphia Enquirer, Commonweal, The Historical Reviews Society, and American Heritage among others.

He currently serves on the advisory board of New York City Landmark Conservancy, the Tenement Museum, and the American Irish Historical Society. He is a co-founder and president of the Irish American Writers & Artists. He currently lives with his wife and children in Hastings-on-Hudson in New York.

It was while he was studying for his Irish History doctorate at Fordham that he got the idea to write a novel. He had long since left the world of academia to go into political speech writing. But he used to research a lot and spent a lot of time at state libraries. It was on these trips to the library that he stumbled upon the Dickensian-sounding 1855 New York housing report.

He recognized the life of his great grandparents in the report even though he had never read anything about it before. Digging deeper into the report he came to understand why nobody ever told him about it given that the conditions of his ancestors during the 1840s and 50s were horrible. As a former academic, he was still very much interested in history and thus began studying Irish History once again. The only books of note he found were on the Draft Riots and Adrian Cook’s The Armies of the Streets but no central history.

He decided to become the Irish American Historian though it proved an almost impossible task given that there were no records or diaries from his Irish forebears. But when he stumbled onto the writing of Stephen Foster, a songwriter that had committed suicide during the times of the Draft Riots, he knew that he had at last found what he wanted to write about. Since 2005 he has been publishing the Fintan Dunne Irish American detective series that are a continuum of the story he started in his first Irish American History novel “Banished Children of Eve.” The series tells the history of New York starting from World War I to the Cold War from the perspective of Fintan Dunne, a descendant of one of the leads of Banished Children of Eve.

“The Hour of the Cat” opens with the murder of a spinster nurse, which is not anything out of the ordinary in 1939 New York. A suspect is soon arrested tried and convicted of the crime, though private eye Fintan Dunne is not convinced of his guilt, even though he had been found with the murder weapon. Coerced by his conscience, he is determined to get to the bottom of the complex case he believes has put an innocent man on death row. But he soon unearths a bigger conspiracy whose tentacles stretch into Nazi Germany.

In Berlin, big things are happening as some senior officers in the Wehrmacht are planning a coup. Wilhelm Canaris the Admiral and head of Military Intelligence is in a conundrum as he does not know whether to join the plotters or go against them. Teaming up with the plotters would violate his deeply held values but he also believes that they may be the country’s last hope of saving Germany from centuries of shame and utter destruction. Heydrich the Chief of the Gestapo is suspicious but he has nothing to go on. Meanwhile, Hitler continues pursuing his maniacal quest for territory and racial purification. The hour of the cat is coming when Canaris just like every other German has to make choice that may go against their conscience.

Peter Quinn’s “The Man Who Never Returned” is a nourish, stylized detective narrative set in 1950s New York. It follows Fintan, a retired detective turned private investigator who has been given the job of finding Judge Crater that just went missing. Based on a real story, it is quite an intriguing story that was even more so for people living at the time. The famous missing person case is comparable to the Amelia Earhart missing person case though it could have been an even more interesting one. It was alleged that the missing judge may have had information about underhand dealings in the New York Judiciary. It was believed that if such information came to light, Franklin Roosevelt then Governor of New York would have had a hard time becoming the President of the US. But There were also rumors that the judge who was a known ladies man had either decided to disappear, or fell afoul of the mafia. Featuring hard boiled characters and a beautiful recreation of New York from the 50s, it is quite a compelling read.

“Dry Bones” the third novel of the Fintan Dunne series by Peter Quinn follows Fintan who works for the OSS, the forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The novel is set in World War II where Fintan teams up with several of his colleagues working to rescue several intelligence officers that had been fighting the Nazis inside Czechoslovakia. Things go awry and the team soon uncovers a huge conspiracy that may change the course of their careers and their lives. After the end of the war, many of his colleagues have bad things happen to them. The common thing about his friends who either go missing or end up dead is that they were trying to unearth the mystery of an infamous doctor that had gone missing. It seems the CIA is determined to ensure that what happened to the infamous doctor that had made his name experimenting on prisoners of war remained a secret.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Peter Quinn

One Response to “Peter Quinn”

  1. lary greiner: 3 years ago

    I just saw the blurb in the WSJ-it reminded me of how much I enjoyed all your works!


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