The ghosts of Northern Ireland
The chapters make chilling and evocative use of both parts of the novel's title, which makes Neville the second Northern Ireland crime writer I've read recently to explore the dramatic possibilities of ghosts.
The first, oddly enough, is Garbhan Downey in a story from his Off Broadway collection – oddly, because it's hard to imagine two moods more different than Downey's and Neville's. (Don't be fooled by Neville's cheerful mien in the photo above. The man can write haunted, and the man can write driven, and he doesn't take many words to do it.)
What is a ghost but a troubling manifestation of the past? That two such different writers chose ghosts as a vehicle to explore Northern Ireland's recent past is a clue to the dramatic riches that past contains. I know that Northern Irish crime fiction has been gathering steam for twelve or fifteen years, but I get the feeling that the boom is starting now.
© Peter Rozovsky 2008