cover image The Year of the Gun

The Year of the Gun

H.B. Lyle. Mobius, $26.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-47365-553-9

Set in 1912, Lyle’s ebullient but unfocused third Irregular thriller (after 2018’s The Red Ribbon) finds Wiggins at loose ends in London after the completion of his work for Vernon Kell, head of the British Secret Service. Wiggins boards the Titanic hoping to reunite with his former lover, Bela Grybus, in America, but is ushered off the ship in Ireland following a brawl. After Wiggins steps in to protect Dublin gangster Patrick O’Connell from assailants on the street, O’Connell hires him for his muscle and brains. Wiggins is attracted to O’Connell’s mistress, Molly Lansdown-Smith, an Englishwoman fighting for Irish independence, and grows close to an O’Connell henchman named Fitz. Shortly after Fitz is murdered, O’Connell and Molly sail to New York, Wiggins in tow, to buy guns for the Irish nationalist cause. In Manhattan, Wiggins searches for news of Bela and re-encounters his mentors, Kell and Sherlock Holmes. The myriad historical incidents and figures that stud the story add color, yet also make an already unwieldy plot at times hard to follow. The swashbuckling Wiggins would benefit from a less busy adventure next time. Agent: Jemima Hunt, Writers’ Practice (U.K.). (Nov.)