Book review: Langer Homicide

ANY book that manages to introduce a classic hard-boiled LA-based private investigator; a plea for help; as well as the expression “it’s fiercebad” in the first dozen pages is surely a good thing, like.

Rory Brosnan


JJ is a self-aware, wise-cracking PI who heads to Cork as much to escape his disastrous private and professional life as to investigate an alleged murder. He merges cynicism and coolness and it’s with delight and some bafflement that he recounts a selection of Irish quirks and traits.

He also gives a ‘shout out’ to plenty Cork venues and institutions along the way. Now, maybe it’s a kind of immaturity or just an eagerness to have others recognise how great the Rebel City really is, but it’s definitely kind of cool to track this detective around familiar streets and pubs — readers get to watch him read the Irish Examiner, eat a sausage roll and listen to PJ Coogan wrap up his morning radio show.

While this is his first novel, Rory Brosnan didn’t just ‘come from nowhere’: his father, Pat Brosnan won journalism awards when he worked with this newspaper; and his mum, Betty, worked as a popular English teacher at a city secondary school — which itself gets a witty mention in this book.

Brosnan has spent a number of years living outside Ireland, which seems to have lent him a nifty ability to write about various quirks of Irish life and politics — he describes curiosity and bafflement with an outsider’s eye and gives answers, such as they are, with an insider’s knowledge.

“As they drove out of the [Cork] airport, JJ noticed another airport terminal. It was fenced off and disused. Older than the one he flew into. It was clearly the original terminal, but why had it not been knocked down or put to a different use? What kind of a city keeps a back-up airport terminal? A far-sighted one? A pessimistic one? A cautious one? A lazy one?”

Anyway, interspersed with getting hauled before senior gardaí at Anglesea Street, having coffee in The Sextant and suffering a fair few hangovers, JJ investigates the death of a purveyor of posh sausages — a ‘sausatier’ as the late businessman styled himself.

Brosnan has a good eye for the little details that stop his yarn veering too far into classic, forgettable territory. Where other detectives might subsist on a diet of cigarettes and bourbon and fall for slinky femmes fatale, Brosnan’s JJ has a weakness for a good fry and a rather more realistic gal.

“Rashers, sausages and black pudding. Tea and toast. That was for the men. Karen had porridge with blueberries, a cup of tea and one sneaky sausage grabbed from her father’s plate”.

Langer Homicide has been stocked at Liam Ruiseal, Vibes N Scribes and the Carrigaline Book Store. “They might be sold out, but we’ll be figuring out another print run soon enough. In the meantime, you can always buy it as an ebook on Amazon,” promises Brosnan.

Langer Homicide is a fast-paced, witty, debut novel which takes a classic genre and gives it a fresh spin. It’s a great read for fans of detective fiction and conspiracy theorists or anyone who ever felt that Cork offered more than its fair share of tics and quirky characters.


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