Book Critique - Night of the Blackbird

Stars: 3 / 5

Recommendation: A good book to pick on those sunny days when your mind wants some interesting mystery to solve and at the same have the feeling of romance whirling through it.

Night of the Blackbird is a stand-alone novel by Heather Graham published in October of 2001. The central plot revolves around Moira Kelly who has come home to Boston to be with her family for St. Patrick's Day and her tug of war with her heart between her old flame - Daniel "Dan" O'Hara - and current love - Michael McLean.

I have read several books by Heather Graham that were part of a series. So when I found this stand-alone book at a book sale, I couldn’t resist to pick it up. I wanted to see how her stand-alone books would fare against her series. I was not disappointed at all.

Moira Kelly comes home to Boston to her family and to their family pub - Kelly's Pub. She brings her current love Michael McLean and her work to Boston as well. And then she is faced with her past in her home, her once love interest and childhood / family friend Dan O'Hara. Now while her heart is pulled in both ways - her old flame and current love - she finds hidden undercurrents of sinister moves in the pub.

And nothing seems to be the same for her including her family. In all this tryst will she succumb to Dan's charms and trust him all the way, or keep stead with Michael's love? What are those sinister waves that she feels moving across the pub and her family? 

Heather Graham bases her plot filled with political conspiracy, murder and mayhem alongside romance - all centering around Moira Kelly and Dan O'Hara. There is a lot of historical reference to Irish Republican Army (IRA) and the struggles in Ireland as whole from the 70s and the political reference to what was happening in Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland in 2001. 

Having read Nora Roberts books that are filled with Irish lore and Scotland stories and myths from both the countries, the Irish theme was not new for me in Heather Graham's book. However, what was new was the political unrest and historical wars in Ireland, their impacts to Irish people all over the world. Along with the Irish history, Heather Graham also adds a bit of American history, role of US in the war that Ireland was facing to unify it and the impacts. 

Heather Graham also weaves in stories from Irish folk lore along the way - story about Saint Patrick, tales of Banshee, Lir aka Ler - Irish sea god.

Although the plot is strong with excellent placement of characters, there is a lot of repeating para phrasing; more of repeat conversations to keep explaining the same again and again as a new character enters the scene. Perhaps that is what happens when there are many people involved. It was getting tiring to read that repeat stuff but all in all the plot is strong and keeps the reader interested.

A good book to pick on those sunny days when your mind wants some interesting mystery to solve and at the same have the feeling of romance whirling through it. Definitely I will be picking up a few more stand-alone books for Heather Graham after this. 

Spoiler Alerts:

1) Plot Reveals:

a. Moira Kelly's family consists of her father - Eamon Kelly, mother - Katy Kelly, siblings - Colleen and Patrick, Patrick's wife Siobhan and their three kids - Brian, Molly and Shannon - and her grandmother Granny Jo.

b. Moira's production company - Whalen and Kelly - includes Josh Walen - her partner in the company - and Michael McLean - their location assistant and her current love interest.

c. The band that plays at Kelly's Pub is called as Blackbird.

d. The house specialty drink of Kelly's Pub is Blackbird in the book. However the recipe I found online is quite different to what Heather Graham mentioned here. In the book it is made of Coffee, two parts Irish Cream, one part Irish Whiskey and a dollop of Whipped Cream. Wonder where Heather got this recipe though.

2) As opposed to hard inserts that used to come with books until recently where you could write and get two books for one book price, etc, this book has one of the page at the end of the book that allows readers to fill a form and mail it to get two books and a surprising gift. I really miss these kind of inserts although its easier to buy books online now.

3) Heather Graham mentions that the band Blackbird that plays at Kelly's Pub playing different numbers.

a. A song from the 1958 play The Hostage, adapted from one act Irish play An Giall. Adapted by Brendan Behan. More about the play here.

4) Grammatical / Historical / Geographical / Character / Mythological / Plot Errors:

a. On Pg. 19, line 7, the whole line seems grammatically incorrect.


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