I did not expect The Midnight Choir to end up being my new favorite book. It’s a very well written crime novel. Entertaining. Strong characters. Interesting plot. Borderline pager turner.
But it wasn’t until towards the end when everything came together in a single shocking revelation that both linked and undermined all of the books multiple plot lines that The Midnight Choir became my new favorite book.
Set in modern Dublin, Ireland, the novel has a wide-spread ensemble cast of characters who circle around Detective Inspector Harry Synott. It’s late in Synott’s career. He has floated from station to station, staying just long enough for the local officers to realize he is the Harry Synott who reported his colleagues illegal activities costing them their careers and their pensions. His superiors have noted his excellent police work, his unyielding integrity. They are considering him for a new position representing the Irish police force with the EU.
First, he must solve the murder of a young jewelry store security guard and put a rapist behind bars.
Dixie Peyton, Synott’s sometime informer, is trying to get her son back from child services who, rightly, refuse to give her the toddler until she can prove she has stopped using. Her boyfriend Brendan is tied to the local underworld who suspect he is the one informing on him. The way Synott uses her to get information undermines readers who would like him to be a pure hero.
Synott’s new partner, a woman, wants to put the suspected rapist behind bars and may be going outside of what the rulebook allows to do it. Lars MacKendrick, gangland leader, is still recovering from his brother’s vicious murder while he looks to discover who is responsible for it. And the jewelry store owner is trying to find a way to deal with the not quite legal contents of his floor safe, lost in the robbery.
Meanwhile, Detective Joe Mills talks a jumper down from a roof only to find the man has dried blood on his shoes. Blood that turns out not to be his. Blood that will link him to a 15-year-old murder case closed when the prime suspect killed himself.
This is all fairly standard fare for modern police procedurals. I doubt many readers of the stuff will find anything truly new in The Midnight Choir. The novels focus on the morality of the police is also nothing new. Harry Synott is sure that the suspected rapist is guilty, the narration leads the reader to agree with Harry from the start. How problematic is it if the police operate outside of regulations to get the conviction they are sure is right?
Harry Synott has spent his career operating within the rules, serving justice and the law. But has he always put the right man behind bars? How would he react if he were faced with a career ending mistake?
When the moment came, when all the various plot were linked together, my jaw hit the floor.
When you can make my jaw hit the floor after a lifetime of reading crime novels, you are my new favorite book.