By 2:27 on a Thursday afternoon, the one-legged man from Room 8 at 147 Loxitor Avenue has been beaten to death with a lead pipe. Twenty-eight minutes later, Detective Mike O’Shea is testifying in a stuffy courtroom, unaware that, within an hour, he will be standing in an alleyway littered with beer cans and condoms while his new partner–the man who saved his life thirteen years ago–flicks bugs off of a battered corpse with a ballpoint pen. When a rogue undercover copper prematurely hauls in the prime suspect, Mike blows a fuse, resulting in an unlikely rapport developing between him and the lead homicide detective sergeant, a woman known for her stilettos and razor-sharp investigative skills. At the end of his seventy-two-hour shift, three men are dead and Mike O’Shea is floating in and out of consciousness in an emergency room hallway, two women by his side.
Death Before Coffee, the second book in the Mike O’Shea Crime Fiction Series, weaves a homicide investigation through the life of an inner-city police detective intent on balancing his responsibilities as a son, brother, and newly single father with his sworn oath of duty. When faced with death, Mike is forced to make decisions that stir up old memories, compelling him to confront his demons while fighting the good fight.
This is the second novel in the Mike O’Shea series set in Toronto and my first introduction to Detective O’Shea.
The work of a district D was never-ending, often thankless, with terrible hours. Most of the guy–and it was mostly guys in the districts–were either there for the money, afraid of the road, or occasionally the oddballs who actually believed they were making a difference, one case at a time. Mike O’Shea and Ron Roberts were the oddballs. They both thought, in their own little way, that they could make a difference.
Mike is plagued with nightmares of his former partner Sal’s murder, his wife is not coming home and his new, by-the-book partner, Ron, is “a pain in the ass”. Not to mention his pit bull boss, Detective Sergeant Amanda Black, who he doesn’t want to piss off.
The new case of the murdered one-legged man is turning into a mess, not to mention the unbelievable secrets his former mentor was keeping from him.
Mr. Ryan does an amazing job delving into Mike O’Shea’s psyche unveiling his coping mechanism of voicing his inner mantras to keep himself calm and unflappable. Mike’s struggle to pick up the pieces of his life and move on is realistic and believable.
Death Before Coffee kept me in engrossed with O’Shea’s struggles with life, the job, and his sarcastic and frequently funny quips said under his breath.
A great police procedural told with the experience of a seasoned detective who has seen it all. Highly recommend!
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For almost thirty years, Desmond P. Ryan worked as a cop in the back alleys, poorly-lit laneways, and forgotten neighbourhoods in Toronto, the city where he grew up. Murder often most unkind, assaults on a level that defied humanity, and sexual violations intended to demean, shame, and haunt the victims were all in a day’s work. Days, evenings, midnights–all the same. Crime knows no time.
Whether as a beat cop or a plainclothes detective, Desmond dealt with good people who did bad things and bad people who followed their instincts. And now, as a retired detective, he writes crime fiction.
Real Detective. Real Crime. Fiction.