Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “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.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Suffer, Little Children

Taoiseach Enda Kenny crossed the Rubicon last Wednesday, when he made a powerful speech in the Dail about the Cloyne Report and the Vatican’s attempt to frustrate the latest inquiry into child sex abuse by members of the Catholic Church. He did not mince his words. To wit:
“The rape and torture of children were downplayed or ‘managed’ to uphold instead, the primacy of the institution, its power, standing and ‘reputation’ … Far from listening to evidence of humiliation and betrayal with St Benedict’s “ear of the heart” . . . the Vatican’s reaction was to parse and analyse it with the gimlet eye of a canon lawyer … This calculated, withering position being the polar opposite of the radicalism, humility and compassion upon which the Roman Church was founded.”
  For the rest, clickety-click here
  As it happened, Tom Phelan’s NAILER arrived in the post on Wednesday, and on the face of it, the novel couldn’t be more timely. Quoth the blurb elves:
Ireland, 2007. In the midland counties of Laois and Offaly, two former members of the religious Order of Saint Kieran, which once ran Dachadoo Industrial School for boys, are murdered within weeks of each other, their bodies found nailed to the floor. Detectives Tom Breen and Jimmy Gorman are assigned to track down “Nailer,” as the killer is nicknamed. They warn local clerical outcasts that Nailer may be working off a list. The editor of the national newspaper The Telegraph, delighted Ireland seems to have its own serial killer, dreams of a huge spike in revenues. Meanwhile, investigative reporters Pauline Byron and Mick McGovern are put on the story. As Nailer continues to kill, Pauline surmises that he may be getting revenge—or justice—for something that happened in Dachadoo decades earlier. As the past is uncovered and the pursuit for Nailer heats up, the shocking truth about the Church-run industrial schools is revealed.
  Tom Phelan, incidentally, is a former priest, which may well give NAILER a potent authenticity. More to follow …


Glenna said...

Sounds like an interesting one.

Peter Rozovsky said...

… The Telegraph, delighted Ireland seems to have its own serial killer, dreams of a huge spike in revenues. …

A huge spike, eh? Appropriate in a book about someone who murders by nails.

And yep, I'd say the author's previous job ought to give this one some oomph. We have a new archbishop on the way here in Philadelphia. Perhaps someone could give him the novel as a welcoming gift.
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