“Dead I Well May Be” is the story of Irish National Michael Forsythe who illegally moves to The United States to escape “The Troubles “in Belfast. McKinty gives readers a dark and violent look at life in New York City as would-be gangster Michael struggles to make it. I listened to “Dead I May Well Be” an audio book narrated by Gerald Doyle specifically to hear the dialogue with an Irish lilt
In a first person narrative, Michael describes life in Harlem. He speaks directly to readers as if talking to old friends; pulls them into the story. Michael dislikes living in Harlem. He hates driving, and the car’s windshield wipers come on when he uses the left turn signal, so he never uses it. The beer is the worst he has ever had, and there are cockroaches everywhere.
Michael recounts what he says and what is said to him. He analyses events and his behavior after the fact; “if only things had been different, there would be a different narrative, not this one.” He comments on the world, his situation, and his views of society in general. He describes a life filled with violence, greed, and betrayal. His is a wild ride.
McKinty’s characters are complex and diverse with strange but appropriate nicknames. Michael has fascinating relationships with the other characters, and he faces abundant moral challenges as well as physical threats. Lighter casual moments break up the trauma, and give readers time to breath.
McKinty tells a compelling story and creates a different Harlem for readers. The tale is well written, sometimes brutal, often violent, but always entertaining. I recommend the audio book; Doyle’s lilting narrative makes the story come alive.