behind every great fortune lies a great crime
Amid the walls of an opulent mansion the adult children of the fractious and dysfunctional Darmoody family gather to the bedside of their frail and sickly father for what may be his final months.
Jessie Darmoody, the youngest and most morally conscious and emotionally clean, of the family is bordering on the bliss of life’s new journey as he escapes his family home and heads to university. The forlorn state that seeps into him upon hearing the news of his father’s latest heart attack seems as much about the thought of returning to the home and family he has just escaped as it is about his father’s failing health.
Jessie’s older siblings, their dim but decorative partners, trophy wives and the rest of the extended family are an ungodly bunch of apples, all in one way or another rotten at their core; A select group of deeply charmless individuals and slippery bastards either permanently unemployed and in desperate need of cash, beset by drinking problems and drug addictions, as well as a severe array of ubiquitous ‘daddy’ issues. They sit morosely scowling round the sick bed like a bunch of vultures seemingly waiting for the old man to die.
Only Jessie’s return brings light and a breath of life back to his father. It being no real secret that he’s his father’s favourite child, as well as the fact that Tobias Darmoody, is a staunch believer that his snivelling morally defunct set of offspring should make their own way in the world without use of any of his riches, Jessie is only mildly surprised when his older brother Freddie breaks the news that the family inheritance leaves him enough to afford a college education and the remainder of his relatives nothing but scratchings from the family pot.
Clearly accustomed to having been kicked around by his elder relatives all his life, Jessie is less than shocked when they break to him the news of a plot they’ve hatched in a last ditch attempt to get their hands on their father’s millions before he croaks.
However even Jessie couldn’t have imagined that his siblings would have dreamed up a con involving them staging his faked kidnapping and extorting a six figured ransom for his safe return. A ransom to then be shared among them equally and fund their high spending slacker life-styles.
Initially outraged by what he is being coerced into Jessie rejects the idea. However the one chink in his armour, Ruri Lim, the alluring, bewitching, half-hellion daughter of the Darmoody’s long term hired help applies some fairly relentless arm twisting and sultry manipulation and soon Jessie finds himself succumbing to their scheme and his own personal collision course with fate.
Without any relevant criminal experience Jessie questions how his scheming siblings would carry out their grotty little plot, his questions answered with the sickening realisation that Ruri’s fiancé, Cody Bunting, will be the man orchestrating the nefarious proceedings. With this news Jessie’s part in his family’s conspiracy begins an immediate descent on a downward spiral into an abyss of unshakable dread for he knows only too well that Ruri’s mountainous, coldly smiling boyfriend is nothing short of a cold blooded sociopath; bleak, cruel, brutal and monstrous, and his agreement to his own abduction feels more like his consent to his own murder.
The all-pervading sense of doom hangs heavy in the air for Jessie within the dark rooms and quiet corners of the Darmoody mansion as he awaits his fate.
And when Jessie’s appointment with fate does arrive, things soon go horribly, homicidally wrong, for the frail and sickly paterfamilias, awakened by the three masked intruders in his home, gathers his strength and makes one tragic attempt to protect his youngest child.
With Tobias’s weak effort to rescue his son resulting in his own ‘slightly sooner than expected’ death, and Jessie holed away in a dreadful lonely place without food or water and a ransom that can now never be paid, the Darmoody children are left to realise that their failings, greed and flawed twisted plan have betrayed their brother, potentially sealed his fate and come back to haunt them in the worst possible way.
As Jessie hangs between life and death, each colossally bad decision by the Darmoody family lead to another, already weak relationships are tested and loyalties start to drastically shift.
Caught in the pitiless trap, Jessie has no option but to go to inhuman lengths to come to his own salvation. However his attempts are shrouded by a miasma of evil in the form of Cody Bunting who, with masterly cunning, endeavours to ensure that the ‘perfect plan’ still goes his way.
But just as fate can turn one way, it can also turn another, and the final twist pits the mercilessly brutal against the gently intelligent and fate proves to be more than ironic, one last time.