This is a fictional story based on the conviction of a man called John Delahunt in 1842 for the murder of the very young boy Thomas MacGuire.
It is good example of how sociopaths can walk among us unnoticed perhaps because they have yet to commit a crime or have never been caught. Delahunt lacks a conscience and a sense of moral responsibility, and yet he is a responsible member of society. He comes from a reputable family, he goes to college and he is a gentleman. John Delahunt is also capable of the most heinous of deeds without feeling any remorse whatsoever.
Or is he guided by desperation? He has no more options and has to do what he does? Sounds fair right? Or could it be that the situation allows him to do things he subconsciously wanted to do. There is a scene in the book describing John as a child and an incident with a small animal. That incident is indicative of his true nature.
The relationship between John and his wife Helen is quite intriguing. She is far from being the naive young woman from high society. Helen is a hard-nosed manipulator and liar. She has her own role to play when it comes to John making money. She does it willingly and with a lot of pleasure.
John fails to understand just how far Helen will go to get what she wants and until the end he holds on firmly to the belief that she will think of him and be sorry about his impending death.
The real story lies within the grimy filth ridden streets of Dublin of that era and the corruption within the very structure which is supposed to keep the population safe. Instead of doing that the Castle rules Dublin like a mafia like street gang.
After watching John act without any conscience over and over again the scene between himself and the child at the end was a contradiction to his prior behaviour. Once again the reader is lured in to believe John was just a victim of circumstance. Was he?
I received a copy of this book courtesy of the publisher via Netgalley.