Michael I. Leahey, on the strength of only two novels --- 2001's
BROKEN MACHINES and his latest offering, THE PALE GREEN HORSE ---
is rapidly establishing himself as the major new kid on the mystery
block. Whatever promise BROKEN MACHINES made, A PALE GREEN HORSE
fulfills. And raises.
A PALE GREEN HORSE returns to the apartment offices of J. J.
Donovan and Dr. Boris Koulomzin, partners in a private consultant
firm that takes the cases, and problems, which no one else wishes
to bother with. Donovan and Koulomzin complement each other nicely,
with Donovan being more of the hard-boiled sort, and Koulomzin and
his eccentricity in marked contrast. Clients usually come to them.
In this instance, however, the team is roughly interjected into the
case when an envelope of photographs is mistakenly delivered to Dr.
Koulomzin and an attempt is made on his life shortly thereafter.
Donovan and Koulomzin soon find that this attack is linked to a
series of mysterious deaths involving individuals who are already
terminally ill. The instrumentality behind these deaths is a
dangerous individual who calls himself Johnny St. John, as chilling
and apparently unstoppable a perpetrator as has been seen in recent
His motivation is twofold; I won't give it away here, other than to
say that it's source springs from both a warped spirituality and a
baser motive. Suffice to say that Leahey, as he demonstrated so
well in BROKEN MACHINES, has the ability to take unfamiliar
concepts, which in lesser hands would be quite boring, and make
them interesting and understandable. Leahey also nicely balances
the mystery and subsequent investigation with developments in
Donovan's personal life. It will be fascinating to see how the
potential complications introduced for Donovan in A PALE GREEN
HORSE interject and resolve themselves in future novels involving
Leahey, with THE PALE GREEN HORSE, has established that he is
certainly capable of carving a second career for himself in the
field of mystery writing. I, for one, am hoping for more of Donovan
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 22, 2011