Whenever I need a pick-me-up, I always turn to a good crime thriller. But it seems like it gets harder and harder to find clever ones that make an impression. I take notes when I see a particular review that looks promising. And I saw one in Marie's post about "The Rage".
Marie told us about a new series being released by Europa Editions called "World Noir", a collection of backlist and new titles of classy international crime thriller novels. The first in this series is this novel, which takes place in Ireland, written by Gene Kerrigan, a Dublin-based reporter. See, my heart starts racing when I see stuff like this.
Synopsis: Vince Naylor has just been released from prison after doing time for assault. Vince is an edgy young man, and from his inner dialogue, we sense this guy is a career criminal in the making. He has his sights set on his next score...the robbery of an armored car. He recruits a few friends and his brother to help with the job that has been carefully planned. But when things go very wrong, Vince's intensity turns deadly.
Bob Tidey is a world-weary police officer who has always tried to do right by his job, his informants, and the victims of the crimes he investigates. On the other hand, he is a little bit of a rebel and is disdainful of the blow-hards at the top of the food chain. He is working the murder of a crooked banker when he gets a call from a retired nun with a past who is an old friend. Suddenly these two separate plot threads veer towards each other in a crash course, and Tidey will have to make a choice of action, where neither decision is moral nor will end well.
My thoughts: I got exactly what I came for with this novel. It took the author a few chapters to set everything up...the hard-boiled characters and their states of mind. Then the action and suspense kicks in, lobbying back and forth between the plot threads all the way through to the charged ending. The prose and the energy is tight, and none of the characters are perfect (even the nun - ha!). These are qualities you want in your police procedurals.
I also loved how the story is relevant to today's headlines...a criminal element flourishing amidst the failing banks, the abandoned high rises and the scrabble for jobs and cash. Everybody is hustling to survive.
The novel definitely had the feel of a series, although it doesn't appear that it is (yet). Kerrigan does such a good job of making these characters familiar, it is a bit disappointing to think there won't be more on the way. Just a wee hint, Mr. Kerrigan...
4 out of 5 stars