The Blood Miracles by Lisa McInerney

The Blurb On The Back:

Like all twenty-year-olds, Ryan Cusack is trying to get his head around who he is.  This is not a good time for his boss to exploit his dual heritage by opening a new black market route from Italy to Ireland, it is certainly not a good time for his adored girlfriend to decide he’s irreparably corrupted, and he really wishes he hadn’t accidentally caught the eye of an ornery grandmother who fancies herself his saviour.

There may be a way clear of the chaos in the business proposals of music promoter Colm and in the attention of the charming, impulsive Natalie.  But now that his boss’s ambitions have rattled the city, Ryan is about to find out what he’s made of, and it might be that chaos is in his blood.

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

It’s several months after THE GLORIOUS HERESIES and 20-year-old Ryan Cusack’s life is still a mess.  He’s helped Dan Kane put together a deal for ecstasy from the Napoli Mafia and they’re keeping their route into Cork a secret from J.P. who controls everything that happens in the city.  So when someone robs Dan of his first shipment he’s sure that either Ryan, Shakespeare or Pender (his right hand men) tipped off J.P. and is determined to kill whoever’s responsible.

Meanwhile Ryan’s relationship with Karine is a never-ending cycle of arguments and break-ups so when he meets Natalie, a sparky accountancy graduate, he’s drawn to her.  Then there’s Maureen, a crazy old lady who knows impossible things about his family and who saved him from jumping off a bridge and now thinks she’s responsible for his life.  But Ryan doesn’t know what his life’s worth or whether it’s even worth saving …

Lisa McInerney’s sequel to THE GLORIOUS HERESIES is a strangely flat affair that lacks the fizz and pace that made its predecessor so entertaining, partly because for someone involved in the gangster world, Ryan’s awfully surprised by all the crosses and double crosses while Natalie and Karine make for two tedious sides of a listless love triangle so that ultimately I didn’t care enough about him to feel invested in the ending.  Given the ending of THE GLORIOUS HERESIES, I had high hopes of Ryan’s relationship with Maureen but she doesn’t make an appearance until over 100 pages in and then only serves as a weirdly naive plot driver (specifically through her underestimation of her son’s response to certain revelations, which is at odds with her savviness in the first book). Similarly Ryan’s relationship with Tony isn’t explored, despite the events in the first book, which means that the driving forces for Ryan’s story are his ping-ponging between Karine (who’s little more than a hectoring shrew who complains that she can’t fix him) and Natalie (a manic pixie girl from a nice home who fancies a bit of rough).  Ryan himself veers between depression and apathy, which simply isn’t interesting to read, while the musical options supposedly open to him never get pursued because he’s not serious about them.  If this was a standalone book, it would be an okay, if uninspiring read, but it really suffers in comparison to THE GLORIOUS HERESIES, which is a real shame.

THE BLOOD MIRACLES was released in the United Kingdom on 20th April 2017.  Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the review copy of this book.

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