We Were Kings by Thomas O’Malley and Douglas Graham Purdy

The body had been tarred and feathered, but it wasn’t like anything Owen had ever read about in history books.

Photo of book titled we were kings

The premise of this book is quite clear from the beginning, things are not as they seem. The story focuses on the shadowy underbelly of 1950’s Boston and it starts with the discovery of a body found in Boston Harbour. But this isn’t just a body, the victim has been tarred, feathered and shot, typical of the type of punishment know to be dished out to IRA informers.

This isn’t the usual genre that I choose to read but I gave this a go to broaden my perspective a little and take a break from my typical horror read. The first thing I instantly liked about the book was the depth of character development. While this may feel like a slow burn I certainly felt like it gave me a chance to connect with the characters which are what I need to keep me interested in a book all the way to the end.

While the book was well written in an easy to read, easy to follow way, the one distraction I found was where there were phrases in Irish. In some cases, the meaning wasn’t especially evident and I found myself wandering off to google to find out the translation. I have some limited Irish language in my head from school but not enough to help me out here. That said, it’s a small negative.

The story itself is thrilling and engaging in parts and while it isn’t the best book I’ve ever read on the shadowy underground of 1950’s Irish-American IRA enclaves it had enough tension to keep me wanting to read on. It’s a good read if you want to try something new.

Released on 1st June by MulHolland Books, We Were Kings by Thomas O’Malley & Douglas Graham Purdy is available now to buy.

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