Paul Soye’s debut novel, THE BOY IN THE GAP, is an atmospheric coming-of-age novel. It is full of mysterious local and familial secrets, capturing the claustrophobia of small town life and its petty judgements. An angry mob assembles outside a town courthouse; something terrible has happened. Jack Sammon is the local man accused of the crime in his village, and has become a figure of universal hate in the community. THE BOY IN THE GAP charts Jack’s childhood and family experiences, and it is through these episodes poignant, funny and heart-wrenching that the novel attempts to explain, or at least suggest, why Jack may have committed the crime. He befriends a local eccentric, Irene, who reveals to him secrets about his family. These revelations that act as the catalyst for Jack’s violent actions, for which he now stands trial. Reminiscent of Pat McCabe in its dark humour and McGahern in its detailed evocation of small town dynamics, THE BOY IN THE GAP is a striking debut.I’ve read the first few pages, by the way, and already it’s shaping up to be a cracker.
Meanwhile, if anyone wants to share their personal favourites vis-à-vis novels that weren’t written as crime novels, but could well be if you squinted at them, the comment box is open. My starter for ten is THE BUTCHER BOY by Pat McCabe.