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Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite
In Sins of the Fathers by A.J. McCarthy, Charlene/Charlie Butler, on the outside, seems to have it all. She is a strong, single and independent woman who runs a bar in Montreal, inherited from a late family friend, Jim. Then strange, anonymous letters begin to land on her doorstep. The police dismiss the letters as they are not at all threatening. As the letters become more frequent and bizarre, her barman and friend, Frank, convinces her that her safety is at risk and she has to discover who the sender is. Private Investigator Simms walks into her life. His coldness and dry wit irritate her and their first meeting is not a success. Simms’ confident nature hides a dark history and secrets he is unwilling to share. Slowly the relationship with Charlie improves and they uncover a dark underworld which has connections to her bar and Jim. These connections take them from Montreal to Dublin and plunge them into the centre of the world of the Irish Mafia and a scandalous truth that makes her question her own values.
This is an epic story consisting of a rich and layered story line with characters that are well created and very likeable. I enjoyed how the author gave away a little of the characters' background gradually. I loved the strong, vibrant personality of Simms and the confidence of Charlie. The villain, Aiden Connolly, was cool and calculating and not at all a clichéd bad guy. The plot took many twists and turns and kept me guessing who the sender of the letter and vile deliveries could be. I thought the events in Dublin were full of tension and loved the conflict between Aidan and Charlie. The relationship between Charlie and Simms was also built gradually and this gave the plot realism and depth. I would never have guessed the identity of the suspect but it all tied in well with a very clever and well-written ending. Superb story and I loved the author's style of writing.