Moving swiftly onwards, I can think of no better way to kick off 2012 than with a big fat juicy plug for Gerard Brennan, who follows up last year’s novella offering THE POINT with WEE ROCKETS. Quoth the blurb elves:
WEE ROCKETS is a gritty, urban morality tale; a wake-up call for society. It follows a gang of fourteen-year-old hoods as they rampage through West Belfast, fearless and forever upping the ante in their anti-social crimes. They mug pensioners to pay for the cider, cigarettes and sweets they hope will ease them through so many long, aimless days of summer. Their actions send shockwaves through an already damaged post-Troubles society that has yet to build a relationship with a new ‘Catholic-friendly’ police force. Stephen McVeigh, a local Gaelic football ‘star’ and concerned resident has had enough. He wants the kind of justice the Provos dealt in their heyday and he believes he’s the man to fill that void. With rat-like instincts, Joe Phillips has realised that his luck can’t hold out much longer. He wants to relinquish his post as the leader of the Wee Rockets. But as Stephen McVeigh closes in with his ham-fisted investigation, has Joe left it too late to change his ways? Without his loyal gang to back him up, Joe’s just a vulnerable fourteen-year-old kid from a broken home with nobody to turn to.WEE ROCKETS is published by Blasted Heath, the e-only publishing company out of Scotland; interestingly, to me at least, the image of WEE ROCKETS presented on the Blasted Heath website is that of a book, rather than a e-book cover. Are the Blasted Heath boys trying on some Jedi mind-trick, designed to convince readers they’re purchasing a dead-tree book rather than a digital version? Only time, that notorious tittle-tattler, will tell …
WEE ROCKETS does for Belfast what Irvine Welsh did for Edinburgh. It’s a frank look at the drink- and drug-addled youth ejected onto the streets of a socially deprived community as they smirk in the face of authority and play Russian Roulette with their adolescent lives.
Praise for WEE ROCKETS:
“The Wire? This is Barbed Wire. A cheeky slice of urban noir, a drink-soaked, drug-addled journey into the violent underbelly of one of Europe’s most notorious ghettos, WEE ROCKETS make The Outsiders look like the Teletubbies.” – Colin Bateman
“Gerard Brennan stands apart from the Irish crime fiction crowd with a novel rooted in the reality of today’s Belfast. The author’s prose speaks with a rare authenticity about the pain of growing up in a fractured society, shot through with a black humour that can only come from the streets. WEE ROCKETS is urban crime fiction for the 21st century, and Brennan is a unique voice among contemporary Irish writers.” – Stuart Neville
“In WEE ROCKETS Gerard Brennan has written a fast paced, exciting story of West Belfast gang culture; brimming with violence, authentic street dialogue and surprising black humour. This is a great debut novel. Brennan takes us into the heart of Belfast’s chav underclass, in a story that lies somewhere in the intersection between The Warriors, Colin Bateman and Guy Ritchie. This is the first in what undoubtedly will be a stellar literary career.” – Adrian McKinty