McEvoy, Dermot. Terrible Angel. A Novel of Michael Collins in New York. The Lyons Press: Globe Pequot. October, 2002. c304p. ISBN 1-58574-742-4. $22.95. Fiction.

In August 1922, Michael Collins, chairman of the Provisional Government and commander-in-chief of the Irish Free State Army, was assassinated. Seventy years later, newly liberated from Purgatory and at the door of heaven, he’s told that he has to atone for his violent acts by freeing an innocent Irishman from a lockup by the Immigration and Naturalization Service in New York. Provided that the reader accepts this premise, is willing to maintain a continuous suspension of disbelief (accepting angels and miraculous events in sometimes awkward juxtaposition with many realistic details), and doesn’t mind the meshing of past and present (usually deftly handled), McEvoy’s debut is an intriguing tapestry—part recollection of New York in 1914 (during an imagined visit of Collins to the city), part 20th-century Irish history, and part suspense novel. It’s the latter that provides the scaffolding for a group of stereotypical NY characters out to help or hinder the protagonist: bartenders (male and female), detectives (good and bad), a homeless woman, and the gay chief of MI-5's Belfast Division. A novel of some potential; order where subject matter is of interest to patrons.

LJ, 127, no. 15 (September 15, 2002), 92.


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