Monday, September 13, 2021

Rat Island by John Steele - Book Tour

Rat Island



New York, 1995Cop Callum Burke arrives in New York from Hong Kong, drafted in as part of an international investigation into organised crime.

With the handover of Hong Kong to China only a couple of years away, gangsters are moving their operations out of the territory and into New York ahead of the looming deadline.

Burke’s experiences with East Asian crime and the Triads’ links to the Irish Mob make him the perfect man to send in undercover.

But as he infiltrates these vast and lethal criminal networks, bodies start to pile up in his wake and his conscience threatens to send him over the edge.

And when Burke’s NYPD handlers push him to continue the investigation at all costs, he may have to cross the line from cop to criminal just to stay alive…

Readers of Don Winslow, Michael Connelly, Steve Cavanagh, Richard Price and John Sandford will love this dark and morally complex novel which presents a searing portrait of mid-1990s New York as you’ve never seen it before.


'A nonstop thrill ride... a lyrical, super read filled with plenty of intrigue, action and suspense and sent against an exotic and seldom explored corner of crime fiction' Gerald Posner

'RAT ISLAND speeds and thrashes with the dangerous energy of the Manhattan streets which are so vividly recalled' Gary Donnelly

'John Steele writes with grit, pace and authenticity' Claire McGowan

Purchase Links

In this extract from Rat Island, set in New York in 1995, Irish-born undercover cop Callum Burke goes to a meet with his superior. However, instead of his boss, belligerent NYPD detective Mike O’Connell turns up. Callum and O’Connell exchange barbs and discuss the Irish gang which Callum has managed to infiltrate. The gang are in the heroin business with Triad gangsters and Callum is one cog in a law enforcement machine trying to bring a RICO case against organised crime in the city.

 By the time Callum walked into the Turkish coffee shop in Hoboken, wet from the spring rain, he felt like he had his own personal thundercloud over his head. The place had six Formica tables and a counter at the back of the room. Big ceiling-to-knee-high windows on the front. Too big for Callum’s liking but at least the lighting was dim as the darkening sky outside. An old guy sat in the corner by the window with his hand down his pants.

‘Here’s our boy,’ said O’Connell. ‘How’s life in the moving business?’

The New York cop had selected a table by the bathroom at the back of the shop. Callum sat down like he’d walked all the way from Brooklyn Heights.

‘Where’s Milburn?’

‘With Ho. Your Chinese colleague was late calling in so your boss was concerned and wanted to meet him. And he gotta report back to his bosses in Hong Kong. He thought I could run solo tonight, us being Celtic brothers and all.’

‘Whereabouts were you born again?’

‘Jersey City to an immigrant Irish father and third generation mom. You want a coffee?’

Callum went for a piss. He didn’t like that O’Connell was running him like a confidential informant. It made him feel less like a cop. When he returned to the table he found a small cup of Turkish rocket fuel waiting. He sat with his back to the window then lit a cigarette and watched O’Connell purse his lips at the first flurry of smoke. Callum made sure to exhale in the cop’s direction.

O’Connell said, ‘You haven’t called in a couple days.’

‘I haven’t had much to report.’

‘So remind me where we are.’

‘Previously on “Inside the Irish Mob”. Paddy Doolan took me under his wing. I’ve been working on New World jobs. Doolan moved out of the Belleclaire Hotel and got himself an apartment on Bleecker Street. He’s talked about sharing but nothing concrete so I’m going to his place after this to talk it over.’

O’Connell scratched his nose and squinted like a kid. He said, ‘Love at first sight. What do you think of Doolan?’

Callum took a sip of the strong coffee. He stared at the inky liquid in the cup, rich in caffeine, and looked forward to getting some sleep sometime next week.

‘He’s where you thought he would be on the ladder in Walsh’s Mob. Definitely low-level but connected. Seems a pretty garrulous guy.’

‘In English.’

‘Talkative. He’s popular with the crews at New World, likes a drink, has a temper. You know he went off at that client last week. I can see why he’s got a record for violence but I can also see why he hasn’t done serious time. He’s just a brawler.’

Author Bio –

John Steele was born and raised in Belfast, Northern Ireland. In 1995, at the age of twenty-two he travelled to the United States and has since lived and worked on three continents, including a thirteen-year spell in Japan. Among past jobs he has been a drummer in a rock band, an illustrator, a truck driver and a teacher of English. He now lives in England with his wife and daughter. He began writing short stories, selling them to North American magazines and fiction digests. He has published three previous novels: RAVENHILL, SEVEN SKINS and DRY RIVER, the first of which was longlisted for a CWA Debut Dagger award. John’s books have been described as ‘Remarkable’ by the Sunday Times, ‘Dark and thrilling’ by Claire McGowan, and ‘Spectacular’ by Tony Parsons. The Irish Independent called John ‘a writer of huge promise’ and Gary Donnelly appointed him ‘the undisputed champion of the modern metropolitan thriller’.

Social Media Links –

Twitter: @JohnSte_author

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