- A meditation on aging
- A dream of escape from urban life
- A mini-course on Ireland's Pavees, or travelers, or tinkers
- An expression of love for Ulster
- An expression of disdain for professional `Oirishness'
- A hard look at what economic disaster means to those not at the top of the heap
- A scathing attack on the cynical oligarchy of money, power and protection that crosses Northern Ireland's sectarian lines
- A similarly scathing attack on the cult of the self-made millionaire
- A reminder that politics is personal
- A series of homages to, among others, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, the Coen brothers (don't blame me; it's McKinty's book), Ken Bruen, Ernest Hemingway, The Godfather, Sergio Leone, and Warren Zevon
- A globe-hopping tale of quest that manages the difficult feat of seeming alternately leisurely and fast-paced, as necessary
- The return of Michael Forsythe, though in a supporting role
- Possibly — just possibly — a meditation on the art of telling stories
McKinty and Neville are from Northern Ireland; Guthrie is Scottish. Is that coincidence, or is there a reason crime writers from that part of the world specialize in hard men with a heart? And who's your favorite protagonist of that type?
© Peter Rozovsky 2011