I got this book just from the reviews and because it was on sale. I was highly disappointed. The accents were very thick and the first half of the book was just so-so. I continued with it and halfway through it started to get interesting and the end was ok. Overall I wasn't impressed though and probably wouldn't recommend it at full price.
This was violent and sad enough that it was hard to read but I have ling been curious how the battle between Catholics and Proteatants could continue through the 20th century.
it started off really well. then it kind of lost momentum. still good enough to finish though. I liked it overall and would recommend it.
Any novel that Gerard Doyle choses to read is a gem and this is no exception. Listening to his wonderful irish accent is a delight as he brings all the characters to life, like an illustrator brings a book to life
I read the book and then listened to it on audible about a year later. I was swept away with both, but more so with the audible performance. I'm not sure if it's one reader or more, but it sounded like a voice for every character, which I loved. I almost gave the story a four star, because of the violence, but then realized that violence IS the reality of the plot, and one can't wish it away.
At one point, our sort-of heroine, Marie McKenna, asks our hero (as much a hero an emotionally ill serial killer can be), Gerry Fegan, “You can’t choose the places you don’t belong, but what if the places you don’t belong are only ones left to you?”
It’s a great question, put in memorable noir elegance, and much of this novel sets out to answer it. Gerry is haunted, literally, by the ghosts of the people he killed when he was one of the IRA’s top hard men, and he understands them as demanding that he put to death the men responsible.
Most of this is as fine an example of the genre as you’ll get. Neville writes with consistent skill, and he has a gift for alternating scenes of riveting violence with meditations on things as simple as the work of sanding down a piece of wood. I’m new to his work, but I’m ready to declare him the real thing – someone who can stand up to, say, Ken Bruen, with whom he is often compared.
There are some limits brought on by the genre, though. Above all, I’m never satisfied with Marie’s answer for staying in Belfast. A point is a point, but when they’re threatening your daughter and they’re willing to pay your way somewhere else, why stick around? She may not belong in Belfast, and that may be part of the legitimate local critique of the work. (That is, Belfast’s recent generations have driven away much of what might be “the good.”) But I can’t help feeling she stays more for the needs of the story than in keeping with the character Neville draws for her.
The end of this is a satisfying showdown, but the very end troubles me. I’d give a spoiler alert, but the fact that this is the first novel in a series does that for me: Fegan is a powerful character, and he bears the weight of his ghosts with a dignity (and palpable insanity) that makes him memorable. The trouble is, he’s also necessarily a doomed one. He should not survive this, yet he does, and apparently he goes on to multiple further adventures. That’s a shame. Neville has invented someone remarkable at the heart of this book. I wish he’d trusted himself to invent someone else for another one rather than violating the emotional premise of this one.