I read Declan Hughes' The Wrong Kind of Blood recently, on the recommendation of a review. I can see why the reviewer was so keen - it's complex, fast moving, and very direct, with plenty of personal stories as well as the detective thriller bit - but it wasn't really my scene. I thought there was unnecessary violence, a brutalistic streak to much of the writing and action, and a lot of cod psychology mixed up with an already complex plot.
It concerns Ed Loy, a Dubliner who has been working in California for twenty years as a private eye; he returns to bury his mother. After the funeral, he sleeps with an old flame from school - fast work by both of them, and she asks him to find her husband (who went missing a few days earlier - thus, presumably, her need for his company). He reluctantly agrees, and this leads on to a farrago of drug dealing, local authority corruption, murders thirty years old, gang violence, and occasional sex. It's very complex, and Im lurched from one crisis to another with lessening interest in the final outcome; indeed, two weeks after reading it, I can't remember the final denouement, which I think sums it up for me.
There's little doubt Hughes can write, and there is real pace and real observation in the novel; but for me, he just takes on too much in one book, and overdoes the rawness of the violence and the randomness of the social decay. There are a lot of fairly obvious images - the down at heel bar for the gang toughs, the exclusive yacht club - and your nose is fairly rubbed in the despair, the blood, and the hypocrisy. Personally, I prefer a more distant approach, and while I'm not averse to a bit of chaos, the characters in this didn't engage my sympathy and there was not enough genuine puzzle to engage my mind. But others, more modern readers, will undoubtedly like this a lot more than I did.