Mortal Coil

Mortal Coil

by Anthony McGowan
     
 

There is a London you might not know. A London of dingy pubs and brutal alleyway encounters; a seething metropolis populated by weasel-faced burglars, psychotic doormen, and professional killers with cold hearts and cruel intentions. It's a place Matthew Moriarty knows only too well. Jobless, hopeless, and half-crippled by a beating, Moriarty is at rock bottom,

Overview

There is a London you might not know. A London of dingy pubs and brutal alleyway encounters; a seething metropolis populated by weasel-faced burglars, psychotic doormen, and professional killers with cold hearts and cruel intentions. It's a place Matthew Moriarty knows only too well. Jobless, hopeless, and half-crippled by a beating, Moriarty is at rock bottom, left with only a dwindling supply of prescription painkillers for company. And when he accepts a lucrative offer to track down a missing friend, things get a whole lot worse. As the search leads Moriarty into mortal danger, one thing becomes clear: mess with this city and it messes with you.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
McGowan's second noir (after Stag Hunt, 2004), set largely in London's seedier precincts and featuring colorful hoods, record-industry sharks, Nietzsche-quoting enforcers and cross-dressing power bassists, is fast-paced, brutal and surprisingly meditative. To supplement his meager wages as a night-school academic, Matthew Moriarty takes a job vetting the would-be clientele at a high-end bar, deciding who will get past the velvet ropes-but trouble erupts when this philosopher-king of the bouncers rebuffs a local mobster named Bernie Mueller. Bad idea. Soon after, Mueller and two thugs drag Moriarty into an alleyway, where they beat him savagely, humiliate him, mutilate his ear. Months later, a chastened and raging Moriarty, now an unemployed semi-cripple just emerging from a painkiller addiction, takes on the well-paid task of finding his boyhood friend Ju, a well-regarded session musician who's been putting the final touches on the magnum opus that might at last boost him to stardom. Ju, who served as a silent benefactor to Moriarty during his convalescence, has disappeared, and his record company wants him found and returned to the fold. Though the novel's ending hits a false note, offering a string of convenient coincidences, McGowan constructs a suspenseful plot and writes barbed, forceful dialogue, and his account of mean-streets London and Leeds, especially of pubs and housing projects, is powerfully grim. Best of all is his portrayal of Moriarty, a man both thoughtful and vengeful, cunning and naive, cynical and guilt-ridden. McGowan especially excels in the scenes in which Moriarty, hobbling along with the help of a cane that doubles as a weapon, roams the streets and contemplatesthe sewage-choked rivulets of his boyhood hometown, Leeds, as he tries to unravel the mystery of Ju's vanishing and sorts through bittersweet memories of his own. A shady and literate thriller that oozes down-and-out ambience-and featuring, in the tradition of the best noir, a damaged and ambivalent knight errant.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780340830499
Publisher:
Hodder & Stoughton, Ltd.
Publication date:
04/01/2007
Edition description:
New
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
7.81(w) x 7.85(h) x 0.89(d)

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