Tough Dublin cop Frank Mackey finds himself reluctantly back in the bosom of the family he escaped twenty years ago. As he investigates the murder of a long-dead girl, other skeletons emerge from his own cupboard .... Domestic violence, sibling rivalry, great craic surrounding a pretty good murder mystery - a rich brew, black and bitter as a pint of Guinness.
'I don't know what you're laughing about,' Shay told me. 'This Christmas, you'll be right there suffering with the rest of us.'
'My bollix. I'll be safe at home, drinking single malt and laughing every time I think about yous poor suckers.'
'Just you wait, pal. Now that Ma's got her claws back into you, you think she'll let go with Christmas just around the corner? Miss her chance to make all of us miserable at once? Just you wait.'
'Want to bet?'
Shay held out a hand. 'Fifty quid. You'll be sat across the table from me for Christmas dinner.'
'You're on, I said. We shook on it. His hand was dry and strong and callused, and the grip flicked a spark of static between us. Neither of us flinched.