Chapter One is a fine atmospheric beginning that opens the way to questions about historical fiction. Chapter Three has the protagonist imagining a corpse talking to him. Chapter Five is narrated from a cat's point of view — and it also contains a regrettable editing lapse. Thirty short pages could keep me posting for a week.
First the opening. I've long wanted to ask authors of historical crime fiction about an inevitability of writing stories set during a real war: The reader knows how part of the story will end. Stansberry sets his book not during wartime, but during the dot-com bubble (Remember when the term dot-com made people giddy with excitement, the way social media or apps or 4G smartphone do now?) The reader knows how the boom will end, and Stansberry does not pretend otherwise. The result is one of the more evocative and ominous openings in all of crime fiction:
"It was the time of the big boom and everyone figured the prosperity would last forever."(Here's another favorite bit from the opening paragraph: "The old-timers found the new enthusiasm insufferable, but the old-timers found everything insufferable. The truth was, you could see a certain gleam in their eyes, too ... ")
Here's your question: Stansberry's opening will inevitably put crime readers, perhaps Irish ones especially, in mind of economic booms, economic busts, their consequences, and the people left behind. Who has written the great post-Celtic Tiger crime novel? The great American recession crime book?
"Eccentric the Cat lay in an unhappy somnolence on his mistress's rayon bathrobe, in the dark corner of the armoire. It was a place that was redolent of Angie's smell ... "Redolent means exuding fragrance; smells like, in other words. Redolent of Angie's smell is redundant. I also would have cut "a place that was." But I'm a copy editor; what do I know?