Eight years ago, Danny McGuire's brother, Sean was killed in an explosion when a bomb he intended to plant for the IRA went off prematurely. Sean was probably betrayed by an informer known as the Thevshi (the Ghost) and since then, Danny has dedicated himself to the task of avenging Sean's death. Though not formally a member of the IRA himself, Danny has become an executioner for the organization, assassinating informants.
Danny is now assigned the task of going to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to kill a man named Finn O'Hanlon who's been identified as the Thevshi and who has escaped to America. Danny is also supposed to deliver some cash to an arms dealer who is going to provide weapons to the IRA. One inept team of assassins has already tried and failed to kill O'Hanlon, so now the IRA is sending in a pro to do the job.
But then, just before he leaves Ireland, Danny gets a message from O'Hanlon through an intermediary. O'Hanlon claims to know who killed Danny's brother, Sean. This means that Danny will have to find O'Hanlon and have a conversation before dispatching him, something that's not in the manual.
The story that unfolds involves any number of interesting characters, most notably Danny and O'Hanlon. It's a fun ride, but for my money it requires a suspension of disbelief at several points that was a bit too much of a stretch for me. My principal concern about the book, though, is that as Danny embarks on his assignment and as O'Hanlon escapes the first attempt to kill him, each of them falls hard for a woman. That in itself is not a problem. The problem is that, as a practical matter, they are virtually the same woman. Each is incredibly beautiful; each is whip-smart, and each is a wicked wise-ass. It's virtually impossible to tell the two women apart, save for their names.
Still, this is a good debut novel. The characters are appealing; there's a lot of action, and it also provides an interesting commentary on the nature of the conflict between Britain and the IRA and the tremendous toll that the struggle has taken.