The author is Kevin McCarthy, his first novel was Peeler, (which no U.S. publisher has seen fit to pick up in a print edition; it is available as an e-book), and the blog is A Criminal History? Here's a bit of what I wrote about Peeler in 2010:
“When Clive James turned into Francis Fukuyama three years ago and as much as declared the end of crime fiction (`In most of the crime novels coming out now, it’s a matter not of what happens but of where. Essentially, they are guidebooks.'), I dissented.The book fulfilled its promise, and it performed one of those acts of alchemy that always leave me in awe: It conveyed not just the facts of the novel's historical setting (the founding years of the Free State of Ireland), but also the feeling: the rural and urban poverty in West Cork, the moral uncertainty, and aching nostalgia for a time very recently passed, before the shooting started, when life seemed much simpler. (McCarthy talks about the history behind the novel and the Royal Irish Constabulary at Crime Always Pays.)
“For one thing, the where can constitute its own what, a setting so different from the reader's own that it offers fictional possibilities even Clive James never dreamed of.
“I've just now opened Kevin McCarthy's novel Peeler, and its plot, its dueling epigraphs, and the note of uncertainty in its second sentence offer the promise of an exciting and maybe even morally serious work. And it's all because of where the story takes place: in Ireland, during the country's war of independence, the Royal Irish Constabulary and the IRA each investigating, unknown to the other, a young woman's killing.”
It's up there with Carlo Lucarelli's De Luca novels and Ronan Bennett's Havoc, in Its Third Year as the best historical (crime) I've read since this blog first saw the light of day.
Take it away, Kevin.
© Peter Rozovsky 2012