Under The Bridge

Fiction - Mystery - General
352 Pages
Reviewed on 01/24/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Under The Bridge is a work of fiction in the suspense, mystery and drama sub-genres, and was penned by author Jack Byrne. Written for adult audiences, this thrilling novel explores class distinctions, nationality, identity, and the dynamics of power by combining historical and contemporary content for its mystery plot. Reporter Anne and her struggling friend Vinny find themselves embroiled in an investigation when a body is found near the Liverpool docks. What results is a deep and spiraling conspiracy into the past of two Irish-born immigrants to the city, and a journey that leads to danger, romance, and yet more murder for our central protagonists.

Author Jack Byrne has crafted a truly British and Irish thriller that takes many of our cultural sensibilities and produces a rich tapestry of class, life, and conflict. One of the things that I especially loved about it was the attention to detail in character development, which delivers Anne and Vinny as flawed heroes whom we’re on the edge of our seat supporting. As they fall deeper into the well-penned mystery plot, we discover clues along with them, and nothing is ever spoon-fed or overplayed. The dialogue smacks of realistic Liverpudlian and Irish speech, which gives a realistic atmosphere to the whole cast. Byrne describes his settings with a great palette of descriptive techniques that add tension and suspense to every shadow of his world. Overall, I would highly recommend Under The Bridge to fans of suspenseful thriller novels, excellently plotted murder mysteries and strong, inventive characters.

Steven Robson

Under the Bridge by Jack Byrne is an exposé of the social mores that embrace the English city of Liverpool and its surroundings, explored through the eyes of young reporter Anne McCarthy. When human remains are discovered on a construction site, Anne is assigned the task of covering the story. The more she delves into the mystery, the more she learns not only about the victim, but also those surrounding this mystery, their relationships, and ties to the past. In this sweeping journey of discovery, we are shifted back through Liverpool’s history to a time when working conditions were dire, and life had to cope with the harsh realities of the time, framed within the shadow of a huge influx of Irish immigrants and the IRA conflict. Ultimately, Anne’s quest will lead her to revelations she least expected; truths that touch those closest to her and unexpected feelings that surface within her.

Jack Byrne’s Under The Bridge is a nicely constructed tale of Liverpudlian life, couched in a language that accurately portrays the mood and feel of the region. You can almost hear the moan of a ship’s horn and feel the fog on your skin as men scramble on crammed docks to be selected for a day’s work; a lifeline that will bring a pittance home to their family. This is an exploration of the very core of Liverpool, encompassing the politics, religion, geography, corruption, and most importantly, the people that make up this diverse region. For those who love to experience interesting places and reach into the formative past of societies, Under The Bridge is definitely for you.

Paula García Lasa

Jack Byrne 's novel Under The Bridge opens with the discovery of some human remains. Despite the tragedy of the situation, this was the opportunity Anne was waiting for. A chance to acquire a higher role in the world of journalism. Little did she know it would unleash a wave of buried secrets that would drag Vinny, a close friend, with her. Afraid of what she might uncover, someone threatens both Anne and Vinny, warning them to stop asking questions on the matter. To fully understand what is happening, they will have to look back to the 1960s-70s, when there was more going on than they tried to make everyone else believe. What happened back then is desperately trying to be kept a secret.

If I had to describe Jack Byrne's novel, Under The Bridge, with just one word, I would choose "complete". First, there is the plot. Thoroughly planned, unexpected yet plausible. Not only that but Byrne manages to develop the story coherently and in a way that made the reading extremely pleasing. As well as that, they were amazingly well-written characters that accompanied you through the novel. They had complex and realistic personalities, with a deep background. As the story moves along, you dig into each character's personality, discovering they were not as they might have seemed at first. They evolve with the story. They are dynamic, human. If that isn't enough, you live some crucial moments in the history of Liverpool and Ireland, learning as well as enjoying. If you enjoy thrillers, you shouldn't miss this outstanding page-turner.

Peggy Jo Wipf

Under the Bridge by Jack Byrne is a novel that will delight Irish descendants. It explores the political and religious boundaries that separate the Irish people and the corruption of men used against them through generations. Anne is just beginning her career as a journalist when a skeleton is unearthed and they send her to investigate. Naive to the Irish culture, Anne recruits her friend, Vinny, to help her navigate through their society. Caught up in the story, Anne cannot see the secrets and lies that are evading her. Vinny has his own issues as he researches the effects of the Irish people as they migrate to Liverpool. Vinny has buried events that could sabotage his project and put them both in danger.
Jack Byrne gives the reader a glimpse into the past as Michael and Paddy take distinct paths in an Irish community. Under the Bridge accurately depicts the fierce loyalty, beliefs, and conflict embedded in them. Though the plot centers on the mystery of a body found buried many years ago, the author beautifully weaves in Vinny’s need to understand who he really is. I love how he finds his own identity as a person. One of the last chapters explains the difference between the “I am” and the “we are” mentality that causes us to lose our individual personality. Overall, the story unfolded slowly as the characters, the Irish mindset, and locations were established, but after the first few chapters, I was hooked. I loved the conclusion and the answers Vinny and Anne discovered.