DARK TIMES IN THE CITY by Gene Kerrigan
“I got into trouble a long time ago. I was a kid. Then the other thing happened and I went to prison. I don’t steal, I don’t hurt people – that other stuff, it’s like someone else’s history.”
Review by Bonnie Brody В (JAN 4, 2014)
I’ve become an avid fan of Gene Kerrigan’s Irish mysteries. They are literate page-turners that are complex in plot with wonderful characterizations. This is the second one that I’ve read and I plan on reading each of them.
In this novel, Danny Callaghan has gotten out of jail seven months ago after serving an eight year term for manslaughter. He beat a man to death with a golf club when he was 24. He is now 32 and trying to live by the letter of the law, working for his bar-owning friend Novak, doing pick-ups and deliveries of people and materials. While he was in jail, his marriage to Hannah ended in divorce and he is alone with little support except for Novak, who is his confidante. While he was in jail, Novak was basically the only person who visited him there.
One evening, Danny is sitting in the Blue Parrot, Novak’s bar, when two gunmen come in. Danny isn’t sure if they are coming in to kill him or someone else. It happens that they are trying to kill a small-time punk named Walter Bennett. The gun doesn’t fire properly and Danny ends up saving Walter’s life. This puts Danny in a very precarious position because Walter is wanted by some big-time gang who feels like he’s been snitching on them to the police. Now Danny is in the middle of things. However, Danny is also worried that they were coming for him because when his trial was going on, the cousin of the man he killed told Danny that he would seek retribution: “Blood for blood.”
The two gunmen, Karl Browse and Robby Nugent are young and bad, looking for people to kill. They have been hired by a mob boss named Lar Mackendrich who controls a portion of Dublin’s territory. This is the first assignment he’s given to these two and he’s not happy with the outcome. He wants it rectified, and soon. He wants to see Walter dead and wants to know why Danny got himself in the middle of things.
Danny lives in a small apartment, so small that you can probably touch the walls on each side by standing in the middle and holding your arms out straight. He misses his ex-wife, Hannah, and many nights he drives by her house and parks nearby just staring at it. It’s not that he wants her back but he misses the warmth and love that he once had.
There is a lot of blood and gore in this book and it is not for the faint of heart. It is remediated a bit by some humor but it is hardcore through and through with a noir bent.
The environs of Dublin, where it takes place, is after the real estate bust, and people are clamoring for work. The economy is up the creek and there is no more easy money to be had. This is a sharp contrast to the way things were before Danny went to jail. Prior to being incarcerated, he had a kitchen cabinet business and was happy working with his hands. He no longer wants to be an entrepreneur. Passing the time picking up people and packages with a car is perfect for him at this time in his life.
Kerrigan can really write. He knows how to get deep into a character’s soul and put him out there with all the accoutrements for the reader. That’s what I like most about this author. I have a feel for each and every one of the characters in the book. There are no red herrings and everyone in the book is there for a meaning and the reader gains a depth of feeling for everyone.
|AMAZON READER RATING:||from 13 readers|
|PUBLISHER:||Europa Editions (October 1, 2013)|
|AVAILABLE AS A KINDLE BOOK?||YES! Start Reading Now!|
|AUTHOR WEBSITE:||Wikipedia page on Gene Kerrigan|
|EXTRAS:||Europa page on Dark Times in the City|
|MORE ON MOSTLYFICTION:||Read our review of:|
- Little Criminals (2005; 2008 in US)
- The Midnight Choir (2007)
- The Rage (February 2013)
- Dark Times in the City (2009; October 2013 in US)
- Hard Cases: True Stories of Irish Crime (1996)
- Another Country: Growing Up in the 50’s Ireland (1998)
- Never Make a Promise That You Can’t Break: How To Succeed in Irish Politics (2002)
- The Big Lie: Who Profits from Ireland’s Austerity? (2012)