The Devil’s Half Mile

Written by Paddy Hirsch
Review by Thomas j. Howley

In 1799, infant America’s largest city, New York, already has the beginnings of a rip-roaring financial district, which will later become the trading capital of the planet. Brand new lawyer, Justice “Justy” Flanagan, returns home from Ireland determined to vindicate his father, who was believed by all to be a suicide. Justy is armed not only with his new law degree but also with forensic detective knowledge picked up in Paris and, most interestingly, covert combat skills gained in savage battles against the English oppressors during the failed Irish rebellion of 1798.

Financial shenanigans almost destroyed the new country in 1792, and Justy suspects it may be happening again. And he knows for sure his father was no suicide. With formidable friends and family and ruthless and bloodthirsty enemies, the new lawyer must navigate a hostile and incredibly lethal underworld where no one is to be trusted. Young women are being savagely slashed to death, men are being targeted by assassins, and Justy feels it all has to do with him and his quest. He perseveres through it all to find the hideous truth.

Paddy Hirsch has produced a superbly researched, action-packed and highly informative debut novel. Anecdotes from the diverse characters about financial transactions, the American revolution, and the 1798 Irish rebellion provide color, humor and historical accuracy. The author combines a riveting story which includes genuine historical facts and characters and a surprisingly interesting economic primer in one fast-paced page turner. The glossary of colloquialisms at the end is entertaining, illuminating and necessary. The Devil’s Half Mile is what so many historical crime novels strive for but fail. Hopefully there’ll be a prequel featuring Justy’s and his friend Lars’s alluded-to experiences in the earlier Irish rebellion. An absolute must read!