This is the story of Brek O’Brien, he is born and raised in Kilkenny, Ireland, but decides to get on a boat to New York City to start a new life. This new life is a start from scratch, he has the clothes on his back, a little bit of money, but no plan or idea what he will do when he gets there apart from, find something to eat, find somewhere to lay his head on a night and then find work.
It is 1926 and this new life involves being on a boat for weeks, a trial in itself to survive, but a friendship is formed through this shared experience. As Brek and his friend arrive in New York City, their next trial is about to begin, they have to pass the entry tests and when this is finally over and done with, they have to face the next round of hardship and find somewhere to stay for the night and work out what the next few days will hold and how carefully they will have to spread their combined wealth.
The prospect of finding work seems to be out of their reach, until a man gives them an offer they can’t refuse in the city of Detroit. As the pair get sucked into a life of booze, pistols and women, they keep the booze and drug supplies flowing by going out on supply and delivery runs, while also keeping the competition in check with his persuaders. It is on one of these days where the competition needs to be reminded of their place when Brek catches sight of a beautiful woman in an outdoor market, his heart and breath are stolen away. This could be the beginning of something beautiful, if only life was as simple as Brek wishes it could be, be with his woman and keep doing his runs.
Soon Brek and his friend realise that the work they accepted is a different sort to what they initially expected it to be, but there seems to be nowhere to escape the bloody path which fate has in store for them. Will the only thing standing between Brek and Gabriella be the one thing which will break them apart? Or will life be as simple as they both would like it to be?
This is a tale of Irish cheek, friendship, love, life, death, disappointment, regret and discovery all set in a background of 1920’s Detroit. A snapshot of an exciting and dangerous life which draws you in until you’re as immersed in the characters’ fates as much as they are.
Reviewed by @roxsannel