“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Selfless Gene

I’m delighted to see Gene Kerrigan’s THE RAGE shortlisted for this year’s CWA Gold Dagger, not least because, in his day job as a journalist, Gene’s long been waging a kind of sniper’s war on behalf of working stiffs against the not-so-great and not-terribly-good from the back page of the Sunday Independent. He’s also a bloody good crime novelist.
  I reviewed THE RAGE in the Irish Times when it was published last year, with the gist running thusly:
THE RAGE (Harvill Secker, £11.99) is the fourth novel from journalist Gene Kerrigan, a serial chronicler of Dublin’s criminal underworld who was last year shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger, and was the winner of the Irish Book Awards’ crime fiction prize, for his previous offering, DARK TIMES IN THE CITY (2009). THE RAGE essentially blends two stories, that of Detective Sergeant Bob Tidey, who is investigating the apparent suicide of a banker of dubious morality, and that of Vincent Naylor, a low-level criminal recently released from prison with plans to move up in the world. That the men will eventually cross paths is inevitable, although it’s Kerrigan’s quality of gritty realism that renders THE RAGE an enjoyable page-turner as Tidey negotiates the blind alleys of a labyrinth constructed by officious judges, corrupt lawyers, and even his own superiors. Largely recession-proof (“Bob Tidey was in the law and order business, and whatever else went belly-up there’d always be hard men and chancers and a need for someone to manners on them.”), Tidey is an empathic character, pragmatic rather than idealistic, but what makes THE RAGE a compulsive document of post-Celtic Tiger Ireland is Tidey’s growing awareness that the moral anarchy that reigns at all levels of Irish society means that the old rules no longer apply, especially when it comes to enforcing a crude approximation of law and order, by any means necessary.
  A month or so previous to that review being published, I interviewed Stuart Neville, and asked him in passing if he’d read anything he’d like to recommend. Did the perspicacious Stuart go straight for THE RAGE? Yes he did
  For all the Dagger nominees, clickety-click here. And the best of luck to all involved …

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