Book Reviews

Never Like That In Traffic: #DeathBeforeCoffee by Desmond P. Ryan @RealDesmondRyan #MikeOShea #damppebblesblogtours

I’m on a roll! One day, two fab books! Tonight, I’m talking about a book that made me laugh, roll my eyes, and race through time!

My biggest thanks to the fantastic Emma @ damppebblesblogtour for giving me the opportunity to discover this author and book. I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review on the blog tour.

DeathBeforeCoffeeCover from Des.jpg
Title: Death Before Coffee
Author: Desmond P. Ryan
Date of publication: 8th February 2019
Format: e-copy
Source: blog tour organiser
Number of pages: 245

By 2:27 on a Thursday afternoon, the one-legged man from Room 8 at 147 Loxitor Avenue has been beaten to death with a lead pipe. Twenty-eight minutes later, Detective Mike O’Shea is testifying in a stuffy courtroom, unaware that, within an hour, he will be standing in an alleyway littered with beer cans and condoms while his new partner—the man who saved his life thirteen years ago—flicks bugs off of a battered corpse with a ballpoint pen. When a rogue undercover copper prematurely hauls in the prime suspect, Mike blows a fuse, resulting in an unlikely rapport developing between him and the lead homicide detective sergeant, a woman known for her stilettos and razor sharp investigative skills.

At the end of his seventy-two-hour shift, three men are dead and Mike O’Shea is floating in and out of consciousness in an emergency room hallway, two women by his side. Death Before Coffee, the second book in the Mike O’Shea Crime Fiction Series, weaves a homicide investigation through the life of an inner-city police detective intent on balancing his responsibilities as a son, brother, and newly single father with his sworn oath of duty. When faced with death, Mike is forced to make decisions that stir up old memories, compelling him to confront his demons while fighting the good fight.


Have you come across such a strong ending that you screamed ‘Nooooooo!’ when the word End appears? I did when I finished Death Before Coffee. Then I almost called Mr Desmond P. Ryan bird names but realized that without his sadistic ways, I would not have been high on adrenaline for the last hours. I don’t lose it often when I read, so mark the date! (ps: I really like you and your books, Mr Ryan!!!)

Let’s rewind so you can understand why I ended up in such a state…

Death Before Coffee. For all the crime fiction I read, no other sentence has ever rung so true to the police calling. Coffee is always involved. I remember watching hours of TV shows where I could see patrol officers, detectives, and even big bosses, abandon their hot cup of beverage with the rapidity requited by the code called at that moment. While reading this book, I was reminded of the show New York 911. Yes, I know, Mike O’Shea is in Toronto, but I’ve always been terrible with geography. And no matter where you are, coffee and cops go hand in hand like the wind and a kite! Anyway! More on why I MUST compare Death Before Coffee to a show I was addicted to. Remember the author I almost insulted? Well, he is seasoned and skilled enough to write it as it is. No super-fast results, no Superman. Only people putting their lives on the line to make the streets safer… Or to appear in court to make sure bad guys get behind bars before going back out to collect the latest dead body left in an alley. Police work is no walk on sunshine, we all know it, but the dose of authenticity (and the number of ‘fuck’s) in this novel gives every event twice as much impact. It felt real, it appeared in front of my eye. I could smell the coffee (it again. Seriously, it’s a character in this book!), I could see the blood, I could wrinkle my nose at the scent of sweat and testosterone in the precinct. Like a true crime fiction, Death Before Coffee doesn’t ban the punches, the awkward situations, the messing up. You’re in the street, you are not safe, and you don’t count your hours. I read a lot of crime fiction and I love it when I can jump in the pages and lose myself in an investigation. But this time, it was different.

It was made different by the weight of the past, by the routine of days of battle between bad and terrible, by the interactions between the characters. This latter point made everything better. Mike gets to partner up with a name from the past. I loved the hints of background between him and Ron. I loved the tension of their beginning, the development of their new relationship, and Ron’s famous words… You don’t get to choose who you work with, so you make do, and sometimes, just sometimes, it brings the best and the worst in you. Desmond Ryan has created truly relatable characters, men and women, to bring life to his book in the best way possible.

Death by lead pipe. Violent start of a long shift. Right from the start, the detectives get on board, and I couldn’t help but smile at the ranks, and obviously, at the rookies’ mistakes. I visualized young guys facing their first crime scene. Would you remember to secure the area, to take the witnesses to the side and never out of sight? Would you get it all perfectly? No. Neither would I. I loved the passing of knowledge, the lessons learned, and the idea that the big police family passes the torch from one hand to the other, leaving a trail of fire and death in the way. You can see that the author has brought his own personal experience for the ride, as this book is one of the best, and darkest! I have read!

Now the big deal: Mike O’Shea. Mystery man, crazy guy, damn good cop, unlucky dude. Oh, and I want his mother. There, I said it. You wanna know why? Grab the book!

Back to the man himself. I loved being his shadow for a few days. Actually, those crazy shifts and the events slapping both Mike and the reader in the face over and over made each hour feel like a week, or a second, depending on the page you’re on! No time to breathe as Mike struggles with Homicide’s razor Amanda (Loved her!), a marital situation I didn’t envy him, his duties as a father and as a son. Desmond Ryan muddles everything up, the personal, the professional, and the past, to show Mike as a multi-layered, brilliant protagonist in the middle of a storm.

I need more!

Should I say anything about the case, I’d take part of the fun away, so I’ll keep my mouth shut and tell you that if you want a compelling, more real than real street ride, you need to read Death Before Coffee In the meantime, I’m gonna get the first book in the series!!!

Let things get real, buy the book!

Amazon UK
Amazon US

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about the author


For almost thirty years, Desmond P. Ryan worked as a cop in the back alleys, poorly-lit laneways, and forgotten neighbourhoods in Toronto, the city where he grew up. Murder often most unkind, assaults on a level that defied humanity, and sexual violations intended to demean, shame, and haunt the victims were all in a day’s work. Days, evenings, midnights–all the same. Crime knows no
Whether as a beat cop or a plainclothes detective, Desmond dealt with good people who did bad
things and bad people who followed their instincts. And now, as a retired detective, he writes crime fiction.

Real Detective. Real Crime. Fiction.

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16 thoughts on “Never Like That In Traffic: #DeathBeforeCoffee by Desmond P. Ryan @RealDesmondRyan #MikeOShea #damppebblesblogtours”

  1. Apart from the fact that I don’t really like a lot of fucks in books, it sounds like an interesting if very mysterious case, and I like a novel where you can learn something from so his own experience will definitely bring something extra to the novel here! Great review Meggy ❤️


  2. Great review, Meggy. Yeah cops and detectives, at least from what I see on TV, are inseparable. I’m curious about the mom you want lol. This one sounds like a fab read.


  3. I love it when I hear that the author has had personal experience with crime and criminals. I often find my favourite books are written by ex police or lawyers. I love love love the cover of this book. I would buy it just based on that.
    Plus…. you ” want his mother “…..???? Hmmmm now I’m intrigued.
    Amanda xx


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