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The City of Shadows Paperback – 7 Nov 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Avon (7 Nov. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847563465
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847563460
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 3.1 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 19,627 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

'The City of Strangers' shortlisted for Crime Writers' Association Endeavour Historical Dagger Award for best historical crime fiction 2014. The CWA jury:

'Having already brought 1930s Dublin and Danzig vividly to life in his outstanding debut The City of Shadows, Russell does the same for New York in a sequel that's even better. The unique complexity of Ireland's divided loyalties and enmities on the eve of the Second World War is explored with unusual clarity and intelligence, and there are plenty of thrills and spills too.'

Meanwhile, the first part of Michael Russell's translation of Karl Kraus's epic satire about the First World War, 'The Last Days of Mankind', written in Vienna in 1914-18, has been published on Kindle by Forgotten Cities Press. 'The Last Night' is a self-contained play-within-a-play; a taut verse drama produced by, among others, Bertolt Brecht in Berlin in 1930. It has never been translated into English, despite the fact that it is one of the greatest works of art of the 20th (or any other) century. The rest of Michael Russell's complete translation of Kraus's epic drama will be published in 2015-16.

'The Last Night' is a compelling introduction to Kraus's writing and the masterpiece that is 'The Last days of Mankind'.

'The City of Strangers' has sold over 40,000 copies and was in the Sunday Times top twenty at the end of 2013. The second Stefan Gillespie novel is set in Dublin and New York on the eve of the Second World War in 1939.

'The City of Shadows' was longlisted for a Crime Writers' Association John Creasey Dagger, for best first-published crime novel of 2013.

For more information on the Stefan Gillespie novels see:

https://www.facebook.com/michaelrussellforgottencities

http://michaelrussellforgottencities.com/

'The City of Shadows' is the first of a series of atmospheric historical thrillers set in the 1930s and 1940s, featuring Irish detective Stefan Gillespie, whose bloody-minded investigations into murder, crime and corruption in his country's darkest corners will drag him (and an uncomfortably neutral Ireland) ever closer to the dangerous margins of Second World War intrigue... in an Ireland where German and British spies eye each other across Dublin bars, the police and military intelligence are at each other's throats, and the IRA wants nothing more than a German invasion to topple the Irish government.

None of that will do much for Stefan Gillespie's personal life either!

As well as Dublin and rural Ireland, the stories will take Detective Sergeant Gillespie to many of the cities caught up in a war no one can entirely escape : Danzig, New York, Lisbon, Berlin, Rome...

Michael Russell was born in England. He grew up in one of those English-Irish families where the first stories he heard at his grandmother's knee were about murder, mayhem, Thompson Machine Guns and civil war in Ireland in the 1920s.

Determined to make himself unemployable, so that he could at least attempt to earn a living as writer, he studied Old English, Old Irish and Middle Welsh at Oxford before working for three years as a farm labourer in North Devon. His knowledge of farming (rather than writing) eventually got him a job as script editor on the English soap opera 'Emmerdale', in the days when it was still called 'Emmerdale Farm'. He went on to become a television writer and producer, writing for such programmes as 'All Creatures Great and Small', 'Eastenders', 'Between the Lines', 'The Bill', 'Midsomer Murders', 'A Touch of Frost'.

By the time he decided to write his first novel he was living in Ireland and it seemed inevitable that he would combine a passion for crime fiction with the stories about Ireland between the First and Second World Wars that he had once heard from his grandmother. The result was 'The City of Shadows'.

Michael lives with his family in West Wicklow, Ireland.

Product Description

Review

‘Russell weaves a beautifully rich tapestry that shows through the taste and texture of his words the rich lusciousness of the Emerald Isle alongside the grimy streets of Dublin and the infected avenues of Danzig as Nazism rears its ugly head. This is a sterling debut not to be rushed, but to be savoured.’ www.crimesquad.com

‘This debut novel is a superb, atmospheric thriller. The author, a TV scriptwriter, has brought his skills to produce a page turner of high quality, populated by a marvellous set of fictional characters, interwoven cleverly with real characters of the era. Highly recommended.’ Irish Independent

‘This is a great insight into a turbulent time in Dublin and Ireland, in a challenging-to-your-heartbeat kind of way.’ Evening Herald

‘In action ranging from Dublin to Danzig Russell has drawn on real-life Irish characters whose decent behaviour in the face of the impending Holocaust has been sadly lost over the years. This book has triumphantly revived their reputation.’ Jewish Chronicle

About the Author

Michael Russell read English at Oxford before spending three years working in farming in North Devon, trying to get someone to pay him to write. He worked for Yorkshire Television as a script editor, on Emmerdale Farm, working his way up to Series Producer. He also spent several years in the Drama Department, first as Script Consultant then Producer, before leaving ITV to write full-time. He was a regular contributor to Midsommer Murders and scripted the last ever Touch of Frost which topped the ratings. He lives in Ireland with his family, where he is doing what he always wanted to do, writing novels.


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Rob Kitchin TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 24 Dec. 2012
Format: Paperback
The City of Shadows is quite simply a brilliant crime novel. Although his debut novel, Michael Russell has a wealth of experience as a television scriptwriter (Midsomer Murders, A Touch of Frost, Emmerdale) and it shows in the quality of the story, which works at every level - plotting, sense of place, historical contextualisation, characterization. Whilst the plot is expansive and complex, it is straightforward to follow and utterly compelling, grabbing the reader from the start and not letting up in intrigue or pace, and very well structured. There are plenty of twists, turns and feints, with the reader kept guessing until the very end as to the mystery of the disappearance of Hannah's friend. Russell drops the reader into the landscapes of Dublin, rural Wicklow and Danzig, and the heady mix of state and religious politics both at a senior actor level and how it played out in everyday life. There is real attention to historical detail and recreating the social and political atmosphere of the time. Stefan Gillespie and Hannah Rosen are both wonderful characters, each trying to fight a system that is seemingly too large and powerful. Russell brings both to life and their fragile relationship is well penned, as are the myriad of secondary characters. Overall, The City of Shadows is a entertaining and gripping story that I thoroughly recommend.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By gavin on 30 Oct. 2012
Format: Paperback
One of the best books I've read this year. Wonderfully atmospheric, beautifully written and a real pageturner. I'd thoroughly recommend this for anyone who loves a good thriller.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lady Fancifull TOP 500 REVIEWER on 7 Oct. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Whoever alerted me to this one - thank you. Michael Russell has written an intelligent thriller set in 1934 Ireland, and in the Free City of Danzig, which is both a page turning read, and a thoughtful, educative one. I'm also delighted, having finished it, to see there is a sequel, with his unusual detective going to New York, in City Of Silence (and I know a third is to be published, so I'm very very pleased to have come across Russell.

Okay, so what makes his Dublin based detective, Stefan Gillespie, so `unusual'?

Well, in the current climate of most police procedurals it seems almost unheard of to find someone who is not : an alcoholic, or recovering alcoholic; an `edgy maverick'; someone with few social skills; someone with a damaged and abused past; someone who has problems relating to women; someone mildly (or more so) with extreme mental, emotional or behavioural problems. Instead, and isn't THIS shocking! - we have a pretty decent individual, who is normally humanly complex, interested in justice, does his job as well as he can, gets along with his parents, is a tender father, has good relationships with his colleagues, a bit of a short fuse when riled by bullies, incompetents and ne-er do well thugs, and even, good heavens, can form adult relationships with feisty intelligent women!
Oh, and `women' rather than `woman' doesn't mean he is a philanderer. Though he does have a dead wife whom he loved dearly (natural accident)

Stefan Gillespie, a detective in the Garda, is trying to arrest a known abortionist.
Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 6 Dec. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I want to be nice about this book, I really do. It is a perfectly decent novel, elegantly written and a true eye opener on what went on in pre WW2 Ireland. I also desperately wanted to like it because I love Midsomer Murders and Russell happens to be one of the main writers. Fact is, this book left me cold. Ultimately, this is a crime novel but I never felt that there was any real suspense or enough twists to make you want to read more. The mystery element is dealt with early on in the book and from then on, what wanted to be an action packed roller coaster, becomes instead an hardly plausible series of near-misses and coincidences, not helped by characters that are mildly interesting to say the least. I am all for a good historical crime novel but, after reading masters of the genre such as Jed Rubenfeld, this did not quite hit the spot.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By ludo on 23 Nov. 2012
Format: Paperback
Just finished reading the City of Shadows, a wonderful read! The descriptions of 1930's Dublin, and the many interests of power often unwuttingly pulling against each other, set up a wonderful stage for what turns out to be a real adventure, pulling Irish connections together very intricately through pre WW2 Europe. Not only was it a great pageturner, it made me look at my country's history in a new light. I especially enjoyed the sections of the book in the setting of West Wicklow, which I love as my home.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Bronte on 29 Oct. 2012
Format: Paperback
An excellent book which I could not down. It is extremely well written and researched and gives a real flavour of Dublin in the 1930s. It is both intruiging and exciting and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
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By KP on 4 Nov. 2013
Format: Paperback
I have just discovered 'The City of Shadows' by Michael Russell...and what a discovery it was. The book starts slowly, building up a vivid picture of Dublin at the time of the Eucharistic Congress in 1932. However, it quickly turns into a real page turner with the mysterious disappearance of a pregnant girl and two bodies being found in the Wicklow Mountains. It is uncanny how this book came out in the year when the Magdalene laudries, abortion and the grip that the church held over Ireland came into the news again....all major influences in the story...although the author couldn't have known he is would have been the case when he handed he script to the publishers.

The book is full of wonderful characters. Most are fictional, but we are introduced to some interesting historical figures like Sean Lester- a forgotten Irish hero who was the League of Nations High Commissioner in Danzig, and the German Adolf Mahr who was leader of the Nazi party in Ireland...and a spy! Stefan Gillespie, our hero, is someone with may personal struggles which makes him a very likable character. A love story develops between him and the strong minded Hannah Rosen, a Jew who manages to get herself into many scrapes!

Can't wait to read the next one!
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