Review: A Vocation of Violence by Kerrigan Byrne

Posted April 29, 2024 by Lucy D in Book Reviews, Crime Drama / 0 Comments

Review:  A Vocation of Violence by Kerrigan ByrneA Vocation of Violence (A Fiona Mahoney Mystery) by Kerrigan Byrne
Published by Self Published on April 23, 2024
Genres: Crime Drama, Historical
Format: eBook
Source: Amazon
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Fiona Mahoney’s past returns to haunt her present as a prizefighter from her hometown becomes the only suspect in a gruesome, high-society murder.
No one in London knows what befell Fiona’s family back in Ireland.
At least, no one left alive.
That is until her brother’s best mate arrives in the city for the bareknuckle bout of the century. Blood is spilled in the ring before the fight, and when Fiona is hired to clean it up, she finds that the boy from her past is now a dangerous man who may have answers she’d lost all hope of finding.
But while she frantically tries to keep his neck from a noose, it becomes apparent that her own is at risk.
Follow Fiona into her most chilling case yet, one that threatens to burn the precarious tightrope upon which she balances, and force her to decide, once and for all, on which side of the law she will choose to land.


I am a little on the fence with this series. It has some good moments but why is the crime scene cleaner rarely cleaning up crime scenes?

Fiona Mahoney has decided that it is time to take a lover and possibly provoke the wrath of Jack the Ripper, who has taken an unhealthy interest in Fiona and in his last letter to her demanded she remain pure. Fiona has decided to take Jorah Roth up on his promise to be an outstanding lover and make it a night to remember. Except when she gets to the Velvet Glove, they are interrupted before anything truly happens by an old friend…or more correctly, her dead brother’s best friend, Darcy O’Dowd. Darcy is now a boxer and he will be competing that night at the Velvet Glove. Even more disturbing than the bout is the murder of Darcy’s lady friend. Inspector Grayson Croft shows up and immediately arrests Darcy for the murder of his girlfriend.

Jorah asks Fiona to stay and clean up. While cleaning up the crime scene, Fiona finds a clue and tries to take it to Grayson who wants Fiona to once again keep out of the investigation and questions her about her relationship with Darcy. Croft drops a hint that his sister would like to see Fiona since she seemed to be avoiding them both but before Fiona can face them again as friends, she has to confess what she knows about Croft’s missing nephew. Croft doesn’t take the news well, especially since Fiona has known the secret for some time now. As he storms off, Fiona knows that she has lost all the good will that she established with Grayson in their last investigation and she mourns the loss of what could have been.

Whether or not Croft will listen to her, Fiona knows where the evidence is pointing and she continues to investigate on her own and she once again stumbles into Aramis Night Horse, a/k/a The Blade, Jorah’s assassin. Together they have their own stake out which Fiona would say was going quite well until they are confronted by the killer–apparently they weren’t as stealthy as they thought.  That might not have gone well for Fiona except Night Horse is pretty scary.

When there is  yet another body and another bit of evidence left at the scene, Fiona tries to take it to Inspector Croft who refuses to see her. With no one to give her evidence to, and no backup coming from Croft, Fiona finds herself at the mercy of a killer who wants to make sure Fiona can’t share what she knows.

I first need to state that I started this book and I was a little angry. We ended Book 2, A Treacherous Trade, with Fiona checking into a hotel room and sending off a missive to someone to come join her. She was tired of being a virgin and maybe hoping to piss off Jack the Ripper who told her she needed to stay pure. The last line was “And, I was hoping as my chosen lover knocked on the door to the bower…more than enough pleasure.” I was dying to know who she would choose since each choice would bring a different problem for future Fiona to deal with. Fiona had received offers (blatant and subtle) from Inspector Grayson Roth, from the crime lord, Jorah Roth and from the assassin, Aramis Night Horse. Personally I was hoping for Inspector Croft, they got very personal in Book 2. When we started A Vocation of Violence, Fiona is walking into the Velvet Glove, the den of iniquity owned by Jorah Roth. (Ewww. Last choice!) So she was waiting at a hotel, sent a note inviting Jorah to come take her V-card and he sends a note back “Let’s do it at my place” and she runs over? Obviously the author decided this story needed to start at the Velvet Glove but we don’t even address the fact that we left off with Fiona waiting at the hotel and getting a knock at her door. I thought when this started Fiona wouldn’t get her night of pleasure because she was called to clean up a crime scene or some other emergency but no, she shows up to Jorah’s office and he doesn’t even take her to his room, he’s gonna “show her great pleasure” and take her virginity on his desk? Even Fiona is happy they were interrupted and that she hadn’t fallen into “bed” with someone who talked a good game but would fail to take the time for a real seduction.

Fiona stands out in this series, especially to the males characters, because she is unique. She started her own business in something quite unladylike–crime scene clean up. This is important because really, CSI these guys aren’t because Fiona keeps finding all the important clues at the scene. The problem is that Fiona keeps putting herself in the investigation and into her own undercover work, as in Book 2. Grayson simply keeps telling her to stay out of it, ignoring the evidence Fiona keeps bringing to him. Fiona also doesn’t spend much time doing clean ups so I can’t imagine how she is making enough money to take care of her house, her aunt and her employees. Maybe she is doing lots and lots of boring clean ups off page but she spends a lot of time on page investigating crimes without authorization or back up which leads to Fiona being attacked quite often.

I would like to see more of Fiona, the independent business woman, and instead of her chasing Croft around waving evidence at him, I would like to see Croft go to Fiona to see what she learned in her clean up. Although I like the idea of Fiona and Croft, I don’t see this ever happening. First of all, if they became a couple, he would want the typical wife who keeps house and makes babies, not one who has her own business and cleans up crime scenes. Also, Fiona has that little side business where she takes the corpses that the Syndicates leaves behind at those crime scenes and sells them to the medical examiner for the medical schools to dissect. A backdoor win-win, except it is highly illegal and Fiona would swing for it. Croft is a little too above-board to let that activity slip by.

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