Reviewed by Sheri Bebee for Reader Views (8/14)
Article first published as Book Review: ‘Double Ugly’ by Jim Murray on Blogcritics.
“Double Ugly” by Jim Murray is a mystery/thriller full of suspense, drama and horror. Detective Sergeant Armand Burke, a fifteen year veteran with the Irish police force encounters a tragedy that will change his life forever. Circumstances surrounding this tragedy cause Burke to have a heart attack, followed by a heart transplant. Burke resigns from the force and follows the callings of his transplanted heart – he invests in a restaurant and brings it from the depths of neglect to one of the finest establishments in Dublin. Burke’s new heart seems to be speaking to him as he wrestles with unfamiliar feelings and stirrings, and finds himself connected to the donor of his new heart in more ways than one. Burke is called upon by his heart to avenge his donor’s death and is on the trail of a psychopath. He knows that this is his one chance in life to do something great. He must stop this killer to settle the stirrings of his heart and wrest himself from his life of mediocrity.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story and found it to be a quick read. I found the author’s writing style unique, even hard to describe, a bit quirky, and dark. In fact the whole undertone of the book was a bit morose in that the protagonist had a very mundane outlook on life, full of regrets, missed opportunities, and if-only moments, causing the reader to ponder these things long after turning the last page.
As for character development, I thought Burke was well constructed, but I would have liked to seen a more defined connection between Burke and his wife, Maeve. Though I have to say I can easily see that this may have been intended by the author to emphasize how seemingly non-existent intimacy and communication can damage a relationship. Flynn, Burke’s old boss on the force takes a surprising leading role for a bit and this helped to establish the urgency between the two gents to “do the right thing.” There are only a few other characters in the book, a couple of supporting figures on the force, a couple of minor hoodlums, and Burke’s daughter and son-in-law.
Overall I highly recommend “Double Ugly” by Jim Murray to anyone with a taste for a suspenseful mystery/thriller lined with a unique twist.