Emily MeltonWhat distinguishes this book from the average well-written police procedural is not the riveting suspense, imaginative plot, or meticulous descriptions of police work; rather, it's the book's compelling combination of what may seem (at least to American readers) exotically foreign dialogue, landscapes, and lifestyles. It's the deeply affecting portrait of bleak hopelessness in present-day rural Ireland and the melancholy despair in the faces, voices, and lives of the characters, who only ever find warmth, it seems, in the local pub. Matt Minogue, a member of the Dublin-based Guarda, returns to his hometown in County Clare and finds himself caught up in a puzzling case involving one Jamesy Bourke, a convicted arsonist-murderer. IRA lawyer Alo Crossan believes Bourke was wrongly convicted and asks Minogue to reopen the 12-year-old case. What Minogue doesn't suspect is that the investigation will threaten his own life as he resurrects tangled motives, bitter emotions, and dark, long-kept secrets. Brady's writing is masterly and moving, and his commentary on Ireland's current political and social problems is affecting without detracting from the fine pacing of the story. Highly recommended.
Kirkus ReviewsPainful glimpses of past tragedies emerge when Dublin's Inspector Minogue (Kaddish in Dublin, etc.) returns to County Clare on holiday and is sandbagged into investigating the murder of Jane Clark, a crime from a dozen years back that led to the incarceration of Jamesy Burke. Recently freed, the now demented Jamesy is himself soon killed, and Minogue and his suicidally inclined aide, the despondent Hoey, are soon awash in tales and subterfuges plotted by a lawyer who specializes in IRA defenses; a weak politician ruled by testosterone and his vengeful wife; and localsincluding members of the Guardadeeply suspicious of men from Dublin. While Minogue keeps a watchful eye on the near-to- shattering Hoey and nicks away at past alibis and relationships, his own equilibrium badly falters in a violent bloodletting that not only unravels Jane Clark's last momentsand some current gun- running schemesbut unleashes Minogue's long-suppressed memories of the death of his infant son Eamonn. Excruciatingly intense study of men at the breaking point. If you can bear the emotional upheaval of the dark Irish soul put under this strong a microscope: a knockout.
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