Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Falling Glass: A review

Falling Glass, the new novel by Detectives Beyond Borders friend Adrian McKinty, is:

  • 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
  • Possibly — just possibly — a meditation on the art of telling stories
The hero this time is Killian (just one of his names), an enforcer with brains who has been forced back into the life by Belfast's real estate crash. His job is to find an Irish tycoon's wandering wife, only he winds up being pursued himself, and we find out why the millionaire really wants his wife back. Among the pursuers is a very scary Russian, and it's part of the book's story that, for all his cool savagery, he's not the scariest thing in the novel.
***
Killian is a hard man, violent, a killer when he has to be, yet redeemed for readers by his heart, his brains, and because he is pursued by people worse than he is. He's a bit like Alan Guthrie's Pearce or McKinty's own Michael Forsythe or maybe even Stuart Neville's Gerry Fegan that way.

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

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15 Comments:

Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

The others were more obvious but I'm impressed that you spotted the Warren Zevon and Ken Bruen "shout outs" (as the kids say).

March 15, 2011  
Blogger pattinase (abbott) said...

Sold me.

March 15, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Adrian: Aw, come on, the Zevon and the Bruen were the easy ones. I thought the Godfather one was tougher, at least until you gave it away with one word.

V-word: cries

March 15, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

It's an easy sale, Patti.

March 15, 2011  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...

Peter

Well I suppose we're the right demographic. I'll bet very few people under 20 have even heard of Warren Zevon or if they have its purely through An American Werewolf in London. Actually, check that, I bet very few people under 20 have even heard of American Werewolf in London.

March 15, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Under 20, maybe not. But Warren Zevon is a fixture on the jukebox at the Pen & Pencil Club, where a good bit of the clientele is under 30, if not under 20. I suspect more people than you think know "Lawyers, Guns and Money," at least in Philadelphia, where Zevon once lived and is still an occasional subject of conversation at the bar when conversation is possible. HUH!

March 15, 2011  
Blogger Loren Eaton said...

Yeah, I am so getting this.

March 16, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

It's totally worth reading. Have you read McKinty's other books or his short story in "Requiems for the Departed"?

March 16, 2011  
Anonymous Andrew said...

NEver heard of him but if he's half as good as Neville count me in too!

March 16, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks for weighing in. Andrew, if you like Neville, you ought to like McKinty, especially this book and the trilogy of Dead I Well May Be, The Dead Yard and The Bloomsday Dead. Search his name on this blog, and you'll see what I've had to say about him.

I read the first few chapters of Neville's third book today. It picks up nicely on one of the plot threads in Collusion, and it gets hearts pounding right away. I'll look forward to reading the rest.

March 16, 2011  
Blogger Glenna said...

Very nice review Peter. I picked up on the Chandler and Bruen "shout outs", but I'll have to look into the other authors. Thankfully I seem to always be able to make more room for books on the shelves.

I'm also happy to hear Stuart Neville has another one in the works.

March 16, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks, Glenna. You're lucky to have read Falling Glass. The Hammett nod is the three refereces to "It was a wandering daughter job," that great opening line to Hammett's story "Fly Paper." The others? You can have fun trying to figure them out. One good thing about the shout-outs is that you will not enjoy the book any less if you miss them. I have no idea if I missed any; please let me know if I did.

As for Neville's newest, check back here before midnight EDT.

March 16, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

OK, at midnight.

March 16, 2011  
Blogger Loren Eaton said...

Peter,

I've read Dead I Well May Be and Fifty Grand and richly enjoyed both. Haven't gotten around to Requiem yet, but I'd like to.

March 17, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Read the remaining two Dead books in order, if you can. And Requiems is well worth a look, and not just for our man McKinty's story, either.

March 17, 2011  

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