Booklist (starred review): "Kerrigan manages to inject new vigor in the formula, not with any surprise plotting (there are no surprises in noir) but with the crispness and submerged power of his understated prose."
Date: Nov 13 2013
Following The Rage (one of Booklist’s top 10 crime novels of 2013), Kerrigan delivers another spare, cut-to-the-bone noir in which a well-meaning ex-con finds himself trapped in the vice of circumstance. Danny Callaghan is having a beer in a Dublin pub when two armed men barge in, seemingly intent on killing another of the pub’s patrons. Danny instinctively intervenes, saving the intended victim’s life but winding up in the middle of a gang war between two of the city’s drug lords, one of whom has unfinished business with Danny. In the aftermath of the incident, Danny realizes that no one—neither the drug lords nor the cop investigating the case—believes that his involvement was purely coincidental. So begins the doomed attempt of a good man to get out of harm’s way. Danny, unfortunately, has an Achilles’ heel: he can’t just walk away; he’s compelled to set things right, to even the scales. But the scales in recession-ravaged Dublin are set permanently askew. It’s a classic noir setup—complete with the disaffected wife and child with whom Danny longs to reconnect, though his every move makes reconciliation even more impossible—but Kerrigan manages to inject new vigor in the formula, not with any surprise plotting (there are no surprises in noir) but with the crispness and submerged power of his understated prose. Kerrigan’s grasp of contemporary Dublin and its underworld denizens puts him to shoulder to shoulder with the best Irish crime writers (Ken Bruen, Benjamin Black, Declan Hughes), but his mix of noir and poetry also suggests another emerging superstar from a different continent, Urban Waite (The Carrion Birds, 2013).