Winterland

ALAN GLYNN’S new novel covers territory readers of Irish noir usually associate with Declan Hughes or Ken Bruen. And like Hughes, there are shady deals involving property, former IRA or INLA gunmen working as bouncers or fixers.

The action centres around the mistaken killing of a young thug called Noel Rafferty.

When uncle, Noel Rafferty, is soon dispatched to meet his maker our not very credible sleuth, Gina, cousin and niece of the dead man, starts to get very worried and is prepared to enter a dangerous world.

Notwithstanding this dubious character, the plot has an electrifying pace with the rest of the rogue’s gallery very well sketched. Central to the action are developer Paddy Norton and the politician who makes it all happen, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Larry Bolger. Glynn’s novel is very strong on plot.

The truth of what happened in a fatal car crash 20 years earlier is gradually teased out mainly through Bolger’s perspective. His growing doubts about the official version eventually leads to the downfall of Norton.

The dark underbelly of Dublin is realistically sketched through the vicious figure of the Electrician, erstwhile friend of the deceased thug and wannabe beau of Gina.

His own murder in a five-death shoot-out in a lock-up on an industrial estate leaves one man standing, Mark Griffin, the key to the whole mess. As a child he had survived a car crash which killed his parents and his sister.

His father took the rap but the guilty party was the driver of the other car, Larry Bolger’s older brother, Frank.

The naked pursuit of power by Bolger politically, and Norton financially, has led to the deaths of several people. A growing body of evidence sees things shift dramatically in Gina’s favour as her two bete noires are brought to heel. Though the politician emerges unscathed. Now, where have we heard that before?


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